Are you Mindful or Mind-Full?

So, how do you make decisions in life?

If you had asked me two years ago the best way to make a decision, I would have answered you emphatically with the following: make a list of pros and cons, assess possible outcomes from all vantage points and take yourself through each likely scenario until the winning solution presents itself.

Lead with Your Heart? “Wait, I run a successful Fashion house that needs steely tough decisions so how can I lead with my heart?” In a culture that often reveres the power of the mind over the heart, I didn’t even realize that I had other options. Options that didn’t include Excel spreadsheets, pros/cons lists and endless hours of processing.

That Mind-Ful, head-centred approach to life left me depleted, frustrated and burnt out and I soon discovered that it will never lead to the abundant, deeply rewarding life that I craved. It’s not that the mind is bad. It’s a powerful tool to use for planning, sorting details and taking action steps. But it is not the sole place you or I are meant to live from.

Wouldn’t it be nice if making decisions were as easy as deciding what fruit we want to eat on a given day? Most decisions that we make aren’t black and white and leave us with strong, powerful and at times uncomfortable emotions. As my Journey became more about moving from Mind to Heart, Mind-full to Mindful, a few stark observations hit home:

  • Heart-centred entrepreneurs create value for all stakeholders, their customers, communities, and the world.
  •  In their minds, profit is not the sole motive for doing business and making tons of money but also about adding value to people’s lives.
  • This quest was sometimes lonely. I saw my own tumbling, fumbling through emotional storms that are mostly a lonely province, known only to the brain which generated it.
  • I lost some friends, colleagues on the way, as my vibrations un-ravelled into heartfelt non-egoist ones. (It’s ok I kept saying to myself. It needs strength and courage to be vulnerable. This is how I would rather be & the right souls will fill in the emptied slots). 
  • There is indeed a deeper place that we can inhabit on a more regular basis. A place where our inner heart truth can be accessed so that we can live in the richness we deserve.
  • Sometimes, our core values of family, loyalty, love, compassion, security/reliability, perseverance can be in conflict and in opposition with our other core values surrounding self-preservation, personal growth, self-respect/integrity, consistency, responsibility, ambition and education. 
  • So, making my decisions became not contingent upon whether or not I was feeling “okay” with it. I knew that I was making the best decision for me and which would inevitably allow me to be my “BEST ME”.

More Learnings:

  1. It’s not about dichotomous right or wrong decision, but needs to be the “best” decision under the circumstances. (Thinking about it in absolutely evokes fear about the “devastating” consequences attached to a “wrong”, “failed” and “bad” decision. But hey, all decisions have a redeeming value and could be an impetus for learning, growing and reconsideration?)
  2. Learn to break down the decision you are making by the core values, and make them your guiding principles that represent who you are and what’s meaningful to you. (Yes, there is pain and discomfort in values and values in pain and discomfort, but at least your actions are guided.
  3. Each one of us is blessed with both the emotional and intellectual variables to thoughtfully solve problems. Depending on whether we are more emotionally driven or intellectually driven – make an effort to counterbalance in the direction you tend to be less drawn to.
  4. Make attempts to expand the way you look at things and ask yourself, “What else can I consider?” or “Is there anything else here that I’m not fully considering from the other persons point of view?”
  5. Understand your options (make a pros and cons list for each of the options that you have. Then go through each option, be honest and think about what’s right for you and your unique situation).
  6. Give yourself a time out (Bad decisions are the direct result of being in the wrong frame of mind and the wrong emotional and physical state. Show yourself some kindness. Give yourself a time out. I am not saying go for a week-long vacation but maybe just a stroll around the block or a 10-minute nap or some deep breathing or yoga moves, to allow your subconscious mind to take over and work on the problem?)
  7. Turn on your imagination and tap into future visualization. Here’s how you do it… First, close your eyes, clear your mind and think of how the decision that you make today could unfold in the future. See how it will affect your lifestyle, your relationships and if relevant, your finances.

When you’re done, pull out a sheet of paper or a journal and capture your thoughts and ideas. Writing creates clarity because the option that gives you the most long-term benefits will jump out and that’s the one you should choose).Ask yourself, “If I don’t achieve ‘the best’, what’s good enough for me?”

8.Sit quietly and experience that decision in your body.

9. Does it make your heart sing and feel right in the pit of stomach?

10.Don’t overthink – Take your own advice – Look to others if need be – Trust your gut – So make the effort master the art of decision-making.

Remember: There are no bad decisions…just bad decision makers!

So, have the recent choices/ decisions you made lead you to being Joyful?

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