15 years ago, my husband, Chris, opened a pizza restaurant with one of his best friends. He’d been working in a suit-and-tie world for years and hated it. But when he told me his plans, I was… less than thrilled. I had just quit my job to pursue coaching full time and we had two kids.
But I knew Chris was determined. Owning a business was his dream. I could either continue to complain or I could go all in and be his biggest cheerleader.
I chose the latter.
But I was scared as hell.
The pizza shop ended up being a HUGE success, so they opened a second restaurant soon after. Too soon after.
That one failed. We nearly lost everything.
For years after that, we rode a track of highs and lows and really lows. It was then that I started drinking more, often forgot to make the kids’ lunches, and struggled with severe anxiety over what would happen next.
Neither Chris or I could have known what the future would hold for us then, nor did we know when he decided to make pizza his living.
Life got really hard at times and definitely did not always work out the way we planned, but somehow we managed to figure stuff out.
That was my biggest lesson then and it’s the one I want you to know today. Sometimes the decisions you make won’t be the right ones, or they WILL be the right ones, but you’re gonna get sh*t on your shoes on your way to the clear path.
You have to trust that no matter what, you will figure it out.
That’s really hard, I know. Trust takes practice. But I’ve found a few tools that help me make better decisions and sometimes that means fewer challenges.
Here they are:
1. Tune into your body wisdom.
If you’re choosing between apples and oranges, think about how each makes you feel. Your body is full of neurons and hormones and microbes that store information so that gut feeling you get when you know something feels right or wrong isn’t only in your head. If you had a bad experience with apples in the past, your body remembers. That’s the stuff intuition is made of. But it takes time to tune into that. When you have an important decision to make, get quiet and listen.
2. Decisions aren’t always made with just intuition, however.
Neuroscientists recommend taking both a rational and intuitive approach when making big decisions. That means when you walk into that home for sale and immediately feel warm all over your body and start planning where things will hang on the walls, you need to take a breath and make room for Buzz Kill. What’s your budget? Does the neighborhood make sense for you? Can you live with your washer and dryer in that dark and cold basement? This part of your brain isn’t as fun but will save you many headaches later.
3. Imagine worst-case scenarios.
Okay, so what if quitting your job means you don’t find another one for a whole year? What does that mean for your budget and what would you do to handle it? Listing out as many imagined worst cases for any big decision will remove fear of the unknown, making those potential disasters loom less large in your head.
4. Think positive.
Yeah, I know you hear this often but there’s a reason. It works. Having a positive mindset doesn’t mean you ignore hard stuff or gloss over injustice in the world. It means you keep your focus on what you CAN control- your thoughts and actions. A positive mindset makes it easier to focus less on the hurdles and instead what’s going right.
In my experience, the hardest people to coach were those who didn’t take time to learn the lessons from their previous decisions. While some people like to reflect in journals, it can be something as simple as taking a few minutes to ask yourself what you learned and what you would do better next time. Done.