How do you make choices at Life’s crossroads?
Very often in our lives we find ourselves standing at a major crossroad where have to make an important choice. It is at these crucial junctions that we need to make important decisions about matters that might have far reaching consequences in our journey and a long-lasting effect in our lives. By taking that opportunity, the lives of many others, some of which we will never meet, will forever be changed as well.
For this reason, many people take the simpler road of either making a hasty decision without giving it much thought, or continuing to stay stuck in a situation that doesn’t fulfil them. Crossroad decisions are not only confusing, they are hard. They’re hard because they involve life-altering choices, and one or more of those choices are equally good, desirable, or maybe even painful.
Here are some considerations you can make at the crossroad:
1. Seek Wise Counsel
Crossroad decisions are cloaked in emotion. If you’re in this place, your mind is swimming in doubt. It’s difficult to clearly see your options. Seek wise counsel from someone who can be objective. Whomever you choose to confide in, remember that their advice is only part of the process. You are gathering data. You don’t want to get further confused by too many voices. One or two clear-minded perspectives will help you discern which road to take.
2. Pay Attention to Your Passion, Talent, and Skills
It’s easy to lose sight of your strengths and what you’re passionate about when your mind is clouded with uncertainty. In most instances, when people find themselves at a crossroad, it’s often because they’re shifting into a new and hopefully better phase of life. This is an important element to consider because ongoing research tells us that whenever people grow into a new developmental stage, they often experience emotions of loss, confusion, overwhelm, a need to shed relationships or change careers, or maybe even move across country.
You want to take the time to fully examine what you’re passionate about in life and how that passion is expressed via your talents and skills. Such examination will help you rediscover who you are and which direction to take. If you’re reinventing yourself, for example, it’s important to know how to take your best self into this next phase of life. Pay attention to whom you’ve been, and it will help you grow into whom you’re yet to become.
3. Don’t Rush the Process
We live in a world of immediate response and instant gratification. I find that most of my clients put a lot of pressure on themselves to make crossroad choices immediately. When you reach a crossroad in life, don’t try to rush through the process. If you can put off a decision for a bit, give yourself that option.
4. Determine the result you want.
Figuring out the desired result – your end game – is the first step in deciding how to move forward. When there is no clear direction with regard to the end, it is usually because the beginning is muddled. Determining your desired outcome or expectation is easily done by examining your goals.
Does this choice or decision align with your vision, goals and values? This question will help you to unveil the obvious solutions to some of your difficult problems. Is this decision supporting or in violation of the values you uphold?
If you have trouble deciding what comes next, it may be because you have not decided what you want. You might have studied for several years, or been in a relationship even longer, before realizing that you did not want to continue. Sometimes because of sunk cost bias, we will forgo the opportunity we truly desire because we believe we have already committed too much to another alternative.
Getting clear about what you ultimately want, may mean you have to re-focus, and sacrifice time already invested in another endeavour. Of course, it is the time that you cannot recover, but it is better to spend time wisely going forward, on a goal that aligns with your vision for your life.
5. Prioritize your tasks.
Prioritization orders tasks, objectives, and goals, and determines how and when we want to pursue them. Perseverance follows priority because your search will reflect what you desire, and how much importance you have placed on it.
6. Design a plan.
The reason creating a plan is the last step in this process, is because you have first to make sure that your goals align with the objectives you have prioritized in your life. Too often, individuals will build on a goal, one that many people close to them are in agreement. The goal that they pursue, however, may not align with who they are and what they want from their lives.
7. Weigh the cost vs benefit
One logical way to think through a tough problem is in weighing the cost and the benefit. Assuming you’ve brainstormed some possible solutions, the next step is to look at each one and predict what you might gain and lose from that.
8. Look forward, always
Old times may be good or even great but they are over. We can choose to complain and live in the good old times but we can also choose to look forward to better days ahead. Appreciate what you had before but look towards the future with anticipation and excitement. Integrate what you have gained or learned before into what you’re going into moving forward. Our priorities change at different points in our lives. If we choose to ignore making decisions, we might end up in places where we don’t want to be in the first place, making it even tougher to get out.
How deep is your spiritual anchor?
How do we make the right choices when there are so many temptations and so many people telling us what they think we should do with our lives? At this point, the only thing we can do is tap into the depth of our spiritual inner person for divine guidance. I personally recommend this as a starting point. This however requires that you continually invest in nourishing your faith and spiritual convictions so that you can discern your destined path that you were created to fulfil on earth.