Decisions, Decisions, Decisions….

So often I am asked by people ‘Am I making the right decision?’ To be honest I have a standard answer to fit every situation. Why the one answer you ask? I believe this answer to be true 100% of the time. So what’s my answer you ask? Well here it is – ‘There are never any right or wrong decisions, just choices to make’.

Seems a little simple and vague you say, let me explain a little more. When we are making decisions or choices as I prefer to call them, we are weighing up the pros and cons according to our past experiences, our knowledge and most importantly our values.  As no two individuals are exactly alike neither are their decision making process or choices. We cannot judge someone on our own processes and choices and we can never have a true understanding of how and why someone makes the choice they do. To be honest we don’t have to approve their decision just accept it and respect it as belonging to someone else.

So if this is true, and for me it is, people then ask ‘how do I make the right choice for me?’. Now here is when I can be a little more helpful and less philosophical. When you make choices it’s important that they be aligned with your values, what’s important to you. This is what drives your goals and ambitions in life and when you act, or make choices, aligned with these values then you are moving towards your goals and you feel good about yourself and your choices. It is when you make a decision that falls outside of what’s important to you that you compromise your values and consequently your mental health. I’m not saying you can compromise ever, in fact compromise is an important value of mine – trying to be flexible and try new things. What I am saying is when things are of great importance to you make choices that are aligned with your values. When you do then it’s as close as you will come to making the right decision for you!

Values are not set in stone and they change across the span of your life. What’s important to me today never even hit my radar when I was a student, or in my early adulthood. My values certainly aren’t aligned with those of my parents, and sometimes not with my friends or colleagues. I like that we can all be different and I respect someones right to have different values from those I have. In fact conversations are so much more interesting when they are and to be honest these conversations and experiences will shape changes in my value system as I grow.

It seems like every year, sometimes more than just once, something will happen in my life which ensures that I reevaluate where I am at in life and what’s important to me. When I do I like to come back to a little exercise that I did at a workshop once on values. Feel free to check it out yourself or maybe the values card exercise that a colleague of mine blogged about last month is more your style? Maybe give them a go and give yourself a break on the worry of if your decision is right or wrong and start being ok with it being the right choice for you at the time.