Is it the pace we set for ourselves that provides precious little time to think? Maybe it’s the pressure we feel to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes our way. After all, isn’t it great to be needed?

A good friend of mine was recently facing this dilemma. A gifted professional, she was berating herself for taking on an assignment that was the wrong fit. She knew this was the case after merely a few days, but decided to stick with it anyway. After weeks of unfortunate misery, she finally left the project deflated and shaken.

As we were talking about her topsy-turvy experience, she told me that saying “yes” to work was an automatic reflex for her. After all, “That’s what a professional does, isn’t it?” We eventually steered the conversation toward what she really loved to do, and it became very clear that this type of work didn’t make the cut … not even close.

[Tweet “Making more genuine life decisions is all about this one secret ingredient. “]

Are you saying “yes” when you should be saying “no?”

At some point, you’ve likely received a good work offer that prompted careful, objective consideration. Did it make you jump for joy or did it bring up nagging doubts?

Before jumping in to your next opportunity, check in with yourself first. That’s the secret ingredient!

Ask yourself:

  • What is my desired goal?
  • Does this opportunity lead me to my desired goal?
  • Is this the course of action the one I really want to take?

These questions may seem simple, but they hold the key to feeling fulfilled and truly happy with your next steps.

3 takeaways to help you check in with yourself

My friend and I will continue our exciting conversation. I have no doubt she will find her path to fulfilling work that’s in line with her values and aspirations.

As a coach, I regularly bump into this scenario. There are three key takeaways to remember:

1. Check in with yourself AND keep checking in.
Are new tasks or a new environment causing a natural trepidation that gets better by the day, or are you feeling an unshakable sense of “Oh no! Not this again.” as you go in every morning? If it doesn’t feel right, it rarely is.

2. Catch yourself: is it a habit or a value?
We can easily mistake an old habit for a value we hold dear: “I always do the right thing by others” or “I’m a woman of my word.” No matter how well intended, these noble declarations might simply be your habits talking. Isn’t it time for you to do right by you?

3. Trust your instincts
When you feel like you’re lagging behind in your field, it may be about additional training and practice. Other times, it may be best to consider a field that blends your knowledge, skills, abilities and traits, creating the perfect stage for you to shine.

Checking in with yourself is your path to making genuine life decisions

Next time you have to make an important decision regarding which road to take, start by checking in with yourself. Be honest about old reflexes that may lead you to saying “yes” when you really want to say “no.” Don’t be afraid to start envisioning the stage on which you can truly shine.


4 thoughts on “The Secret Ingredient for Making Genuine Life Decisions”

  1. Carole Willans

    The situation of the committed “yes” person is one that resonates with me personally. Rather than setting me up for failure, it’s gotten me into situations where my talents were under-utilized or not serving my professional goals – – hence much wasted energy that would have been better used doing something else. It’s important to think before you leap!

    1. Dominique Dennery

      Great comment Carole. I have had this experience as well where I felt stuck in a track trying to keep a commitment that didn’t serve me at all. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  2. I hear you Dominque. I think your short checklist is a good approach to stop a knee jerk response of ‘yes’ ‘sure no problem’. Thanks again.

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