Much of our joy, or lack thereof, is related to clarity and focus, as I mentioned in my previous post. The lack of joy can often come from being frozen on the trigger of a decision in our lives. I’m not talking about “chicken or steak” decisions, but larger decisions like where to move, a commitment to truly get healthy, a new business to start, a new job to take, etc. We want to make a change, but we feel stuck. This inhibits joy and contributes to restlessness, discontent, and feeling unfulfilled.
Being stuck like that is a terrible place to be. You can’t move forward no matter how much you want to, and going backward isn’t an option either.
Pause for a moment and ask yourself, “Where do I feel the need to make a change but I feel stuck?”
In my own life, and when I am coaching others, I use this decision-making model called The G.R.O.W. Model. It goes like this:
Goal: What is your goal? I encourage you to examine not just what the goal is, but why you are contemplating it. Don’t rush this “why” step. Lots of pain and frustration stem from pursuing the wrong goals. Let’s consider, as an example, the idea of someone trying to decide if they should really, truly work on their health. Not a diet. Not a 30-day workout plan. What’s the why behind it all? Is this goal good for your family? Is it consistent with the teachings of Jesus? Does it put you in a position to be more loving? Is it rooted in fear or pride? Run your thinking by a few trusted friends before you launch into your plan.
Reality: What’s are the hard facts of your current reality? Get very clear on where you are today relative to this goal. Being naïve about the financial, relational, and emotional elements of your today could make your tomorrow nothing but a pipe dream. Don’t let the gaps between your ideal and your real depress you. But at the same time, don’t let blind spots about the gaps sink you. Consider our health example here: Where are you with your eating, exercise, sleep, stress levels? You need to have a firm grasp of where you’re starting from so that your first steps are the right ones.
Options: Brainstorm all the options you have for moving forward. Get creative here. Write them down. Don’t just think of them in your head. One place where I often see people get stuck comes from thinking in binary ways. They make their decisions unnecessarily “all or nothing-based.” For instance, instead of saying “How do I get from A to Z?” create options for testing “A to B in the direction of Z.” (For instance, instead of saying “I will eat nothing but organic the rest of my life”, shoot for eating organic every meal at home.) Or, “How can I test out Z before making a full commitment to it?” Push yourself in this step to come up with lots of options.
Obstacles: Next, take a sober look at the obstacles in the way of each option. Many people are good at the practical obstacles like time, money, a resistant friend/spouse/co-worker, geography, etc., but I encourage you to also analyze the psychological and emotional obstacles. These are the ones that could really hold you back. Analyze the fears buried within the decision you are trying to make. What are the psychological barriers that have prevented you thus far and how will you get over them this time?
What. When. Who.: Next, lay out specifically what you are going to do by when and who can help you. Don’t forget the Who. Going it alone increases your odds of failure.
Lastly, know that on the path way to realizing your goals, we often know just the next step. Don’t burn too many calories trying to guess what specifically you should do eleven steps down the road when you’re only on step two. One day, one step at a time. You’ll get there.
Dream. Think. G.R.O.W.