What was interesting about that particular reaction was that I would never meet a stranger, hear about their exciting move, and then openly show so much disgust for their choices. Many people feel like they are somehow related to your choices, even strangers. To a point, strangers can influence us, so it’s not too big of a jump to think that others feel they have a place to judge or criticize our decisions. However, I once read a saying, “Do not let anyone make decisions for you that does not have to live with the consequences.” While you could end that sentence at “Do not let anyone make decisions for you,” the latter half puts things into perspective. A lot of people have strong opinions about our decisions, but very few have to go and live with those decisions.
Another reaction was I was a cold-hearted you-know-what because I left someone behind in South Florida. In fact, many people have had the audacity to ask what will happen with my relationship before even congratulating me on my new role. Here’s the deal, my relationship was private, and obviously was thought of when making this decision. What happened to it was between the person and me; Maybe we decided not to stay together. Maybe we decided to give it a brief shot, maybe…who knows. Anyone who felt like I made this critical decision without considering all angles of my personal life was nuts. PS- Everyone was right– the relationship did not work out, which was a huge blessing in my life because I was able to meet and marry my husband!
The fact is, the decisions we make in our lives are one of the only things that are indeed ours, so we better make damn sure we are making them based on our own opinion before anyone else’s. Many people live vanilla lives they never intended to live because they make decisions based on what others think of them. That is one of the most dangerous things you can do as an individual. There are numerous decisions I’ve made in my life because I thought my parents wanted me to make that decision, or my significant other felt that was the best thing for me, and rarely have those decisions been right for me if my gut didn’t align with them. We have to decide for ourselves in order to live our own life. People can give us great suggestions and advice, but it has to be our own wisdom and gut directing us at the end of the day.
Here are some things that helped me significantly when making my own decision to make that notorious move that might be helpful for you:
This is SUCH an important thing when making a decision. Listen to your friends and family, take some of the things they say into consideration, and then completely tune out. Shut off your phone, close your computer and sit with yourself for a moment. Feel who you are to the very core, and allow yourself to let go of all outside stimulation. It’s often in these quiet, meditative moments that you realize what you want and need to do.
Look Back And Then Forward
I love to level set with my past self. This means I look at where I thought I would end up in life and where I originally wanted my career to go and ask if the decision I am making will get me one step closer to that place.
You can’t predict the future, but you can come to close to predicting specific outcomes. When making this decision, I looked at where staying in South Florida at the current job would take me. Would I be happy? Would I be successful? Were the things I didn’t like about my current situation fixable? In the end, I realized they weren’t, and it was time to make a new move.
I then followed the second path. Would I be happy in NYC? Was I happy the last time I lived in the city? Could I move forward in my career, and was the offer something I was passionate about? All of these were overwhelmingly yes.
Even if NYC, for some reason was not what I expected, I knew I could not stay in my current situation regardless, which made it an easier decision.
I’m Christian, so prayer is potent and vital to me. I always find time to pray about my situation and ask God to guide me towards the decision that will be best long-term. One of the most challenging things is stepping out in faith, not knowing what the result will be. Faith gives you the courage to do just that.
Ask Yourself, “What’s The Purpose?”
Something that made this opportunity incredible to me was that it is precisely what I have always wanted to be doing. I have worked for a nonprofit changing the world since I started college. The purpose for me of the work I will be doing based on the decision is exactly what I feel the sense of my life is. You know you are on an excellent track to making the right decision when your values align with the purpose of the decision.
Listen And Understand Reactions
My mom and I had a lovely three days to chat in the car on my road trip back to Wisconsin, and we spoke a lot about how people give advice lot without knowing the whole story. This is a great thing to understand from both sides. Take advice with a grain of salt, knowing the person giving it probably does not know the whole story. For example, many people are unaware that working for a nonprofit is my dream job, and things were going on in Florida that made it not such an excellent environment for me. Both of these things contributed to my decision, but both are also things that have mainly been kept private. In fact, anyone in my life who knew these two minor factors praised my decision and was ecstatically happy for me.
On the other side, keep in mind that you don’t know someone’s whole story when giving advice. The worst thing would be to provide someone with a strong recommendation you would never have given them had you known the entire story.
Not everyone will like the decisions you make in your life, and 99 percent of the time their dislike doesn’t even have anything to do with you. A lot of the time, it has to do with their own life and decisions they have, or wish they had, made. What’s important is that you are able to tune out the noise and make a decision that you are confident in because then nothing will shake your belief in yourself and your choices.
Try some of these tips the next time you are facing a decision and see what happens!
– Marji J. Sherman