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Blog

Who is making decisions for you?

Librada Estrada

Around mid-2012 I left a full time position to begin my journey as an entrepreneur. The planning for this journey, however, really began in 2009. It started when I discovered coaching, directly experienced its benefits and fell in love with the idea of empowering individuals to find their voice as leaders. This motivated me to explore the possibility of having my own practice as a leadership coach. What vision do you have for yourself? As much as this new direction appealed to me on a personal and professional level, I kept identifying reasons why I should wait: save more money, get more practice, earn additional certifications, etc. Although all of those were valid reasons, the biggest thing that kept me from making the leap was that I continued to let my beliefs—that I wasn’t ready, wasn’t good enough, what if I failed, I’m not a salesperson, don’t like speaking in front of people—control my actions. I was letting my “Tu No Puedes” (TNP) Committee control my decisions and hold me back from what I wanted. It fed my need to be cautious and to play it safe. What do you believe about yourself?

On the one hand, this was great because I was playing it safe and not bucking the status quo; I had a secure job that kept my schedule consistent. On the other, I kept hearing myself live in the one-day perspective, to not be fully present at my job on a daily basis, to feel unfulfilled and not honor my values regularly. Sound familiar to you?

The interesting thing though is that I try to be a positive person. I tend to drive some folks a little crazy because even when there is tension I look for the benefits in it. I like to see the glass as half full. But, I am much better about doing this on behalf of others rather than for myself.

It took a pivotal conversation at work for me to really consider what was stopping me from taking a leap of faith in myself; to reflect on what exactly did I have to lose by starting my own practice and what was I risking by staying in my current position. When I was able to step outside of the thoughts I was attaching to my emotions and to objectively reflect on my situation, I realized that I was letting my head rule my decisions. What I needed to do was add more heart.

I needed to stop being in my head so much because I was giving lots of airtime to the critic, gremlin, and judger and spend more time in my heart to allow more of the believer, supporter and champion to come through to impact my decisions. Doing so helped me become more aware of how my unwarranted self-criticism was generating negative thoughts and discouraging me from starting my own consulting practice. These thoughts left me daydreaming instead of taking concrete action. I thought I had been making a conscious decision to wait, but in reality I was being held back by the emotions and fear that were tied to my desire for growth. I was the one keeping myself inside the walls that were blocking me from success.

When I embraced more positive thoughts, I was able to let go of the fear of failure and stopped making that the focal point of how I made decisions. I began to tear down the walls! And, as a consequence, I resigned from my position and have been building my business ever since.

Oh, all right, I still fear failure. BUT, I no longer let it be the primary driving factor. Instead, I acknowledge it, look for the wisdom it can provide and use it to help me risk and stretch myself in new ways. Sometimes it is quicker than others.

How can you change your belief system? Below are four steps to help you make more conscious decisions, si tú quieres:

Raise your self-awareness

Stop, breathe and become aware of your emotions and thoughts related to the topic you want to focus on. Until you actually do this, you will go about on autopilot. Seriously, it wasn’t until I was jarred out of my way of thinking that I realized that I had been holding on tight to my negative thoughts and emotions as a security blanket because they were keeping me safe.

Question how your current beliefs are serving you

Reflect and determine if the emotions and thoughts are serving you to create positive outcomes. It requires that you dig in and examine what are those beliefs and if they are your own or if you have bought into someone else’s story about you. If they are, keep moving forward.

Be open to changing how you see and think

If your current beliefs are not helping you take action in the direction you want or are keeping you in a situation that is not healthy, consider several different ways of looking at it beyond your current perspective. Doing so will help you realize that there is always more than one lens to look through and that depending on where you stand or how you hold that lens, you will see something different.

Make conscious decisions

Consciously pick a different perspective, one that will serve you to move forward or to view the situation in a different light. At the end of the day it is really about YOU choosing to take action, or not, in spite of your emotions and thoughts telling you otherwise.

Your Turn: What have you done to make more conscious decisions?

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