“Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing for you…are the same”
There is such truth in this quote. Especially when it comes to making decisions that could change an aspect of your life and impact the lives of others. I see it so often in the clients we coach and the students we work with. Truth be told, I see it as a truth for myself. This past year has been riddled with difficult decisions for me as we grow this company and community of women. Executing on some of those difficult decisions has gone smoothly and others have not. For me, the struggle with each one has been the fear of letting someone down. For this “recovering pleaser” that is nothing short of a true challenge.
Yet, what I know to be true is that if you want to change any aspect of your life; your health, your weight, your financial standing, your relationships, your work status, or your career, you will have to make difficult decisions. More times than not your choice will impact someone else’s life as well. I think that is what makes a decision “difficult”. What I have learned is wrapping a concrete structure and communication plan around how you navigate a difficult decision can make a nerve-wracking experience a bit more digestible.
1. Be clear about your goal and COMMIT. The truth is when you know what you are saying “YES” to it makes saying “NO” to something else not easy, but clear. Clarity is your secret weapon when you make a choice and communicate that choice to someone who might be disappointed in your decision. Clarity of what you are going after is what you can cling to when it feels like you might cave.
Ask yourself this question:
What are you saying “YES” to in your life that is driving you to have to say “NO” to something else?
2. Be Clear About Your Boundaries. Once you have committed to your decision, knowing what works for you and what no longer works for you is extremely important before you communicate your decision.
What is ok for me now? What is no longer ok for me?
3. Put a Communication Plan in Place. Once the above foundation is set, the next step is to put a communication plan in place.
Your plan should include:
A clear specific explanation of your decision, what you are committing to, when it will happen, and what you no longer will be able to do. (Use the answers to questions #1 and #2 here to guide you)
4. Prepare Yourself and Practice Your Script. Yes, I recommend you write a script and practice it! You can practice with a friend, in front of a mirror, or while driving in your car. JUST PRACTICE! It is a way to work out the bugs and give you that little shot of confidence to lean on if your nerves kick in.
5. Learn to Live with the Discomfort. This is often the hardest part and the place where you might stumble into the pit of giving mixed messages. Don’t do it! Mixed messages can open up a can of worms that I will save a whole other blog post for. I will say here, however, that it is difficult to let someone down and even worse if they have a negative reaction. This is often when that “pleaser” side can rear its head. Go in knowing that discomfort is something that will most likely occur. When it enters the room take a deep breath and remind yourself of the goal you are committed to. Have confidence that it is worth the pain.