Anxious about a decision? Ask these 3 questions
Amidst Covid-19 and Quarantine, you face key business decisions with great uncertainty. This can be deeply anxiety-provoking! To help you feel more calm and centered, this week's blog provides 3 questions to ask yourself that set the stage for clarity in decision-making. In addition to receiving the 3 questions, you will also learn 3 keys of wisdom on why these questions work. This is a process I developed several years ago when making a business decision about my office space, and I have recommended it to many clients ever since.
Several years ago I co-rented an office space with a friend and the lease was coming up for renewal. This was my first office space as an entrepreneur and so it was very meaningful to me. Sharing the space that year had been an exciting opportunity for me to get my business out of my house and into an official office. I wanted to renew the lease for another year, but I was hitting an obstacle. We wanted a third partner, but no matter how hard I tried, I was not suceeding in finding one. This partner idea not working out, plus feeling intuitively like it might be best to let the office go, I felt confused and anxious. I was quite attached to the space and I didn't yet have another office lined up - so letting it go did not seem logical to me. As we came close to the deadline for providing our landlord with notice, I felt crippled with fear in not knowing what to do. What I decided I needed to do was go deeper within myself so that the answer would become clear. To get my most authentic and aligned decision, I asked these 3 questions and spent time writing out my answers:
What are my intentions?
What are my desires?
What am I willing to let go?
Here are 3 keys of wisdom as to why these 3 questions are effective to shift from anxiety to clarity:
Wisdom key 1:
You shift out of fear by creating a "loving intention"
Last week's blog discussed the power and impact of creating from love vs fear, which you can do by consciously setting an intention before you take action. This is important because your intention is the energy behind your action. The principle of karma, also known as the Law of Cause and Effect, teaches that what you put out you get back. So when you create from love, loving results will come back to you. When you create from fear, fearful results will come back to you. (Read the blog: Be Like Oprah, Infuse Your Work with Loving Intentions).
In the lease situation, if I didn't ask myself consciously about my intentions, I could have easily made the decision to keep my office out of fear. Indeed, the anxiety I felt was due to worry that clients would judge me as not having a serious business if didn't have an office space for a few months. A decision from this fear would have likely brought back fear-based results, like getting in over my head on the rent because I never found a third partner. Instead of deciding from fear, I set a loving intention: "my office space is a contribution to both me and my clients as a safe and enjoyable space for the work we do." Bringing forth this intention, I quickly realized that the office I presently rented was not the only place on planet Earth for me to create that safe, enjoyable space. I felt more at ease.
To apply this yourself, answer question 1: "what is my intention?" Determine if you are in a state of fear and if so, clear it out by setting a loving intention around the subject matter of your decision.
Wisdom key 2:
Your anxiety releases as you write out your true desires
If you feel anxiety about a decision, there is a 99.9% chance that you feel concerned deep down that your most authentic desires won't be met. So, by creating a list of your true desire that fulfill on your intention, you untangle whatever internal concerns are creating the anxiety. This list-making exercise helps you to be honest with yourself. As your wishes pour out, you feel more calm and clear.
In my office situation, I wrote a list of desires for an office that would fulfill the loving intention I had declared. This included some attributes of my current space and some new preferences. This helped me get clear that while I enjoyed my current office very much, I had some new desires emerging that it did not fulfill. My list of desires included office attributes like:
-Private space to see clients
-Good vibes, cool space, not stuffy
-Community to connect with
-Price in my range
-Downtown area and close to transportation
As you make your list to answer question 2 about your desires, it is very important to not bring in fear and limited thinking. For example, it would have been easy for me to think that what I wanted was not reasonable. Be authentic with your desires without limitation, and then move on to question 3 to bring this decision-making process home.
Wisdom key 3:
You create a sense of peace when you let go in trust
In order to feel at peace with a decision, you need to let go of your attachment to the situation looking a certain way that you may have set it in your mind. That attachment keeps fear in place. No matter how bad you want something, you have to be willing to set it free, and that is what question 3 is all about.
In order to truly make my most authentic and aligned decision around office space, I had to be willing to let my current office go. This felt so hard at first. I felt resistance physically in my body when I thought of letting the office go. Ultimately, I was afraid that this could be a bad decision. I felt afraid thinking: "maybe I will never find something better that would meet my needs." Shifting from this fearful thinking toward my loving intention and my authentic desires (clarified in questions 1 and 2), I started to feel that I could let go of the office with trust.
As you ask yourself question 3: "what am I willing to let go?" consider the elements of thoughts, feelings, and attachments. For me I let go of the thought "I might not find something better," the feeling of fear, and the attachment to the current physical office space.
If you're dying to know how it all worked out for me, I did receive what loving intentions promise - a loving result all around. I let go of the lease which created a gap of a couple months before I moved into my next space. I met clients during that time at fun spaces that were fitting to the client - like a cool hotel lobby, outside in nature, or their office. I scouted out two potential new office spaces, and it was my list of desires (from question 2) that helped me make the final decision between the two. The office I selected at Novel Co-Working met every desire on my list. It was even better than the space I had let go! And inside the community there, something my other office didn't have at all, I got the bonus of meeting great new colleagues to share ideas with and collaborate.
About the Author
Gina Marotta is a career coach and speaker teaching and inspiring people to unleash their genius. She is a former defense attorney for some of Chicago’s highest profile criminal cases, served as Managing Director for a national nonprofit catalyzing career advancement for women and girls, and has been featured in media outlets like: Thrive Global, The Huffington Post, and WGN Radio. She has also been named 50 Under 50 and among 100 Women Making a Difference.