"Get out of the huddle and you only have two hands". My father used to say this to me when I was younger -- a lot.
Whenever I had to make a decision I would say "on one hand this and that are important and on the other hand I really need to be mindful of these things. Then, on the other hand what if this person is hurt by my actions and it's not the right decision." And so on and so on. He would then reply: "get out of the huddle and you only have two hands."
Most of the time when we need to make a decision we are so concerned about the outcome of the decision or failing that we deliberate until we are blue in the face or we run out of hands. We reach out to our friends or trusted colleagues to get their opinions, thereby adding more "hands" and rendering ourselves more confused than ever. We ask others for their opinions because it feels better on the surface, as we feel we are not making the decision alone and someone can theoretically "share" the blame if something were to go awry. What happens most of the time though, if you really check in, is that you hear their opinion and your logical mind may agree with it as it makes sense, but your gut and intuition still feel that it may not be the right choice.
What is it about making a decision that seems so daunting and challenging for most people?
Our challenge is we take a decision and lace it with fear and insecurity. Once we entwine the decision with fear and insecurity, it not only clouds the decision that needs to be made, but it actually morphs the issue at hand to something else entirely.
People who have The OM Factorￂﾮ do not let the size, shape and complexity of the decision affect their analysis. They view all decisions as a series of choices, and analyze the facts while leaving emotion out of it. Some decisions may be made faster than others, but they are all processed without attachment. It's not that these individuals are immune to emotions. They know that they must do what is best for all parties involved and not just what is best for them in that particular moment.
When you feel indecisive, try this breath counting technique. It is used to improve focus and concentration, enabling you to make clear and confident decisions. The fantastic thing is that this ancient Zen exercise can be done anywhere and takes no more than five-minutes:
• Sit comfortably on a chair. Rest your hands on your thighs with your palms facing up. Place your feet apart flat on the floor and close your eyes.
• Take a few moments to feel the earth and observe your breath.
• Next, breathe in slowly through your nostrils and silently count each full breath. After the first inhalation and exhalation say, "one," either silently or aloud. That is one full breath. After the second inhalation and exhalation say, "two." That is a second full breath, and so on.
• Repeat this sequence until you reach five full breaths. After reaching five, start again from one.
• You may notice you count beyond five breaths. That is an indication that your mind has drifted from the practice of this exercise. Bring it back to one. If you get distracted don't worry. Let it go. Simply go back to one and start again. This will train the mind in a very short period of time.
• Repeat this exercise for a few rounds, or as long as your time allows you to sit there. Even two-to-three rounds will make a profound difference.
• Slowly open your eyes and remain seated for a few more moments before getting back to your tasks.
When you are unattached to the outcome of the decision, you make decisions that create space for the best possible outcome for you. However, when you are attached to the outcome, fear and indecisiveness come and take the space and then the outcome is much less ideal and a very stressful experience. So always remember to get out of the huddle and you only have two hands.
More exercises can be found in my new book, THE OM FACTOR: A Woman's Spiritual Guide to Leadership - 7 Essential Tools and 7 Key Traits to Cultivate for Your Success and Well-Being.