Communicating with yourself: Acting on your decisions
Posted by jorbell on October 6, 2009
Why are you here? On this page I mean. What was it that made you decide that you should look at this particular article over all the other thousands on the Internet?
That’s not for me to say but hopefully I can persuade you to stick around a while. It might not be as easy as it sounds because you are a free spirit – you make your own decisions and you decide what’s coming next in your life, not me.
Now think about that for a moment. Are you already wavering as to whether you should carry on reading this or not? Are you thinking that I’m wasting your time by not getting to the point? Just what is it that I’m trying to say? Well I’ll tell you: At every single moment of every waking hour you are making a choice and it is you that is in control of every one of them. It may not feel like it but it’s true.
Sure, there will be occasions when we will be placed in awkward situations by other people that we don’t want to deal with but it is us that writes the next scene. For example my boss could fire me. What would I do? I may get upset or angry or violent. I may be philosophical, rational or pleased. Hey, you always said you wanted to leave that crumby job.
Do you see what I’m saying? I’m faced with a situation, I react to it. The question is what reaction will it be?
Think of your life as a road. You approach a junction and you are left with a decision to make. Do you go one way or another? In life we can become all-consumed by indecision for fear that whatever choice we make, it will be the wrong one. This is perhaps an understandable reaction but pretty irrational because wherever this road or path leads, we always get another choice: Whether to change direction again or keep on going.
How our days pan out and how we feel emotionally about them can be determined by a series of unconnected events seemingly beyond our control. Your child spills a drink on your monthly report, the heel comes off your shoe on the way to the station, you miss your train or it’s delayed. While we can usually accept that these things happen in hindsight, when faced with the actual chaos, it feels as if the world is conspiring against us.
Tony Robbins says, “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped”. No matter how trivial the choice may seem, it sets of a chain reaction of further events but whether these are created internally or by externally, we still decide how we react.
Life is cyclical with good times and bad which is what makes being a human being so fascinating. Don’t dwell on the ifs and the buts but grasp the opportunities you are faced with. Deal with what you can change – your thoughts and your decisions – and take the pressure off yourself.
I guess what I’m trying to say is is that at any moment, you life is about choices. We can decide what we want to do. We may be afraid of the immediate consequences but if we know in out heart that the decision is in our best interest we should just do it. If it doesn’t work out first time, have another go!
YOU set the agenda by deciding what YOU want to achieve. By asking yourself questions you will enable yourself to think creatively and open up options for consideration that you may not have previously considered.
One of the central beliefs in the world of life coaching is that person being coached has at some level most (if not all) of the answers already. A good coach will only provide advice if they feel it will accelerate progress but ultimately, you are far more likely to take action if the idea is your own. This is because advice is based on another person’s experience and not necessarily congruent with the individual’s own lifestyle.
Look around you at all the people you see on the street. We are all different whether it’s our body shape, height, skin colour, background, wealth, beliefs etc. If a coach gave advice from his own perspective is that going to work with everyone? Of course not – we have to answer our own questions.
Why not choose today to ask yourself the questions that need to be put to YOU? Open up an email and just write. If you wanted to change your career for instance, ask yourself what you want and then react to what words come out. For example:
I want a job in journalism
OK, how are you going to do that?
Um, I need to get trained so I should do a course
I don’t know yet – I’ll have to find out
Where will you get that information?
I can search the Internet to see what courses are run locally
Would this be a college course or distance learning?
Actually, with work, distance learning would be more practical
What else do you need to know?
How much it will cost because money is a bit tight
Can you get help with payment?
I have heard about government schemes that provide help with funding for training
So what can you do right now?
I can go on the Internet and research courses and get costs. I can then search the government sites and call them about assistance.
When are you going to do this? Never leave the scene of a decision without taking action
I will go on the Internet now and research distance learning courses in Journalism.
What about the funding aspect?
Well, it’s late and I’d rather speak to someone about it. I’ll do that tomorrow
Um, I can do it in the morning
What time? Be specific
OK, so now state exactly what you need to do and by when?
I will go on the Internet now and research distance learning courses in Journalism. At 11.00am tomorrow I will get costings by phone and then contact the government agency direct regarding funding for training.
This conversation is pretty contrived but you get the idea. It’s losely based on a technique used in the coaching world known as GROW which is an acronym where ‘G’ stands for the persons GOAL, ‘R’ are the REASONS for not achieving it to date, ‘O’ are the OPPORTUNITIES for achieving it now and the ‘W’ is the WHEN will it be achieved.
I used GROW on MSN messenger with a friend of mine, an aspiring author who was having problems focusing on completing a manuscript for a novel she was writing. Her computer time was limited because she had to share her PC with her family and therefore she sometimes wondered whether it was worth even beginning a writing session at all. She also had issues relating to the possibility of her publisher not liking her material and the fear of losing her love of writing in case it began to feel like a job.
I guided her through each stage, all the while stressing the importance of finding reasons to go for the goal and to not put obstacles in the way. She was also encouraged not to worry about details of which she had no control over and to focus on what she could do.
It was the last aspect of GROW – the WHEN – which proved to be the key. I asked her when she was going to complete her manuscript and was insistent that she was specific, and to write down an exact time on a particular day to complete the challenge. This she did and it was a deadline she met with two hours to spare.
She completed and published her book with the TV rights subsequently sold and has had a further book published since.
Writing things down at any time is always good practice as it cements the words in your mind. Get a diary and schedule your next step with a specific time if it can’t be completed this moment. As Tony Robbins says: “If you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you can see it, it’s a vision. But if you schedule it, it’s real.”