Life is one vast ocean where the possibilities are endless. On it – is your ship, rocking in the waves, waiting for direction.
The possibilities are not always clear to us and they may involve sailing through some stormy seas to reach them, but they are out there. Some quick decisions will have to be made in stormy seas to guide your ship to safety and make sure it isn’t sunk in the waters.
Who makes those decisions?
Your parents? They were there for you when you were a child, but they aren’t holding your hand anymore.
A teacher? Maybe as a young adult going through University when you couldn’t even manage to make KD, but they’re busy helping the next generation of helpless adults.
Your friends? They’ve got their own problems to sort out…
No, the only one who can make the decision on which direction your ship sails is you. Let’s emphasize that: YOU!
You know yourself better than anyone else.
You are in control. You’re the only one who can trust and act on your intuition and feel when your gut instinct is kicking in. When you’re heart starts feeling things, it’s speaking directly to you – and you alone.
You’re the captain! You alone get to decide the best sea’s to set sail on, in pursuit of your passions and goals.
And just like any adventure we’ve read before, there are moments of exploration and discovery to stumbleupon. Storms to be weathered, unchartered territory to embark on, new scenery to explore and treasures to be discovered
Finding your vessel
A friend and fellow entrepreneur, “Amy”, has been working hard and building her business the past few years. Today, she’s financially sound and has built a great reputation for herself; she’s well respected in the business community and really enjoys what she does.
But over the last year, there has been a shift in her enthusiasm. The excitement of her entrepreneurial adventure has fallen flat. She’s bored, stuck in the routines that led to her initial success.
In true Amy form (I’ve known her for awhile, she’s quite predictable!), she challenged herself to break free from where she’s at, and set new goals to grow her company.
She’s ready to take her baby to a whole new level!
Bursting with enthusiasm and excitement, Amy was on a roll and our conversation exploded with possibilities — another independent location, possibly franchising it.
… She also decided to work with a coach. Obviously, I couldn’t agree more (yes I’m biased), and told her it was a great idea.
There’s a problem though: Amy’s still deciding on where she wants her adventure to take her.
Business owner Amy knows that in order for her business to flourish, she needs to aim high and make big changes. On the more personal side of things, Amy isn’t sure what she really wants for the business, and how it will affect her, her family and her role as an entrepreneur.
Hashtag real talk: you can’t make a decision on how to get somewhere, when you aren’t sure where you even want to go.
Choosing your adventure
Being the captain comes with a lot of responsibility.
As an entrepreneur, I can personally vouch for this statement. There are days, when I wish I worked for someone else. I get tired of being the responsible person making big decisions or worrying about every little thing that needs to be done in order to meet quotas, goals, and milestones. Anyone else but me.
Captains are different. They’re in charge! They use their intuition, their gut feelings and due diligence to make smart, savvy, decisions to accomplish the task at hand. In the business world, these decisions always involve time, energy, money and other valuable resources.
In Amy’s case, this meant finding a coach who could offer her insight and expertise and guidance — helping her to gain the clarity she needs to steer her business in the right direction. She wasn’t going to waste time, money, or energy on someone who would get her lost in the Bermuda Triangle!
Making crucial decisions and choosing which way to go can be intimidating and frustrating. In the midst of it all, it’s easy to get lost and confused. We’ve got numerous voices in our head, and the devil’s advocate on our shoulder – ‘everyone’ sharing an opinion and creating confusion, doubt and finding evidence of past failures. Meanwhile, our heart is screaming one thing and our head is fighting to be heard with other opinions. In the pit of our stomach, our gut instinct is kicking uncontrollably. ALL OF IT AT THE SAME TIME!
And when I start to think this the best way to make a decision…
That’s when we need to take a deep breath.
For Amy, I told her she needed to stop, refocus and gain some clarity before making any changes.
It’s human nature to have emotional responses and send yourself into a panic of stress when you’re faced with a big decision. Although, I’ve done it too… jumping into the deep end without water wings, when you don’t know how to swim IS stressful. And while you may still succeed, are you going to enjoy the process, the adventure of getting there?
We need to give ourselves permission — space — time to gain clarity — ask for input, help, bounce the ideas around with others a little before we jump in. As mentioned in this article from the editors of Time magazine, making time for self-care is truly important in our own progress. It could be a simple as stepping back and, taking a breath, and find a moment to process the entire situation. Let yourself rise up to the 60,000 foot view and simply observe the whole process, unattached to the outcome.
How you become unattached will be unique to you. For some it’s brain dumping, mindmapping, talking it out with your coach, your mastermind group. Or perhaps you’re the type that needs to meditate, go for walk, do a little yoga or just take a mini cat nap to refresh yourself. Whatever your method, when you feel at peace, find yourself breathing deeply with a sense of space in your thoughts it’s time to ask yourself some questions:.
- Why am I making this change?
- What do I expect to gain from this?
- Who am I doing this for? Myself, someone else, my staff, a lot of other people, everyone?
- How will I contribute to this process?
- What can I contribute to this process?
- What support will I need to succeed?
- How will this improve my life?
- Am I ready for this…now?
- Where will this take me in terms of reaching my goals?
- What will validate this as a success?
By digging deeper into your soul, you’ll reconnect with your initial inspiration that had you to embark on this new adventure in the first place. When you know more about why you’re wanting to create change, you’ll have a better understanding of what truly is best for you.
It’s why Amy and I have decided to brain dump as we walk in one of our favourite parks. It’ll offer her the opportunity to be honest with me about her goals and what she wants to achieve in the next year. I’m hoping that by the time our walk is over, she’ll have mentally mapped out her plan of action, with an exact destination for where she wants to take her business. With that map (clarity of direction), she can finally select the perfect person to hire as her coach.
And together, they’ll take her ship on a smooth journey and hopefully avoid all the really big storms.
If someone could have predicted that the Mary Celeste was bound to get lost at sea, no one would have ever boarded it over a hundred years ago.
If you’ve never kayaked before, does it make sense to jump into wild rapids you’ve never explored before? Would you want to be stuck alone in a canoe out in the middle of nowhere with a storm on it’s way?
You are the captain and you are in charge of where you’re going. Without a plan of how you’re going to arrive at your destination, or if you don’t even have a destination in mind – you’re setting yourself up for failure, or at the very least stagnation.
You’re going nowhere fast, against a swift current.
So, before you take another step…
Get some clarity. Get curious. Get real with yourself and go after what you want!
Your life is an endless adventure. And while stormy weather can be exciting, it’s best to have a plan, a map and a coach (just sayin’).
I’m Janice Otremba, a professional speaker, facilitator and coach who specializes in Beating Burnout, Lowering Stress and Powering Up Your Happy! Let’s kick your butt into gear with simple, sound advice for beating burnout and powering up your happy. Book a free 15-minute consultation call with me to get started!
Image courtesy of marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net and http://ow.ly/BmvE304HcBE