04/04/2013 03:49 pm ET Updated Jun 04, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

Last week I wrote about self-doubt, and how we as individuals are its eager accomplice -- responsible for it successfully robbing us of our gifts, talents, passions or whatever it is that it keeps us from pursuing. I ended the article remembering a quote from a very accomplished and self-assured "old" friend. The comeback she offered when I asked how she had managed to achieve so much -- being a woman and becoming a surgeon in the 1940s, building a tremendous reputation for her surgical skills, and starting a non-profit for a much-needed humanitarian mission, all while in the midst of terrible personal tragedies -- was the matter-of-fact reply "I just decided." Recalling that simple answer got me thinking about how I should be applying that philosophy to my own life.

There were (and are still) many times I could have used that simple phrase to get me somewhere I wanted to go! I'm sure I am not alone in this. Who hasn't at one time or another wished, hoped, or prayed for things to be different in their life? Whether it is a change in job, relationship, weight or an unhealthy habit. I'm talking about anything other than what lies in the hands of God or his healers here on earth. You know, the easy stuff. Stuff that just requires decision.

I think I know why those simple words don't easily translate to success for a good many of us regular people. For starters we don't say them! Which leads me to what we probably are saying. "I'm never going to get that job," or "There isn't anybody out there for me," or "I can't lose this weight," or "I'll do it tomorrow," or "Who am I kidding, I'll never be able to stop_____________!" Fill in the blank in whatever way applies to you.

I knew of the difficult road my friend had traveled. So I also knew when she said those simple words, they carried tremendous weight. There was power behind them. So if we are not getting our "wishes" fulfilled when we repeatedly "hope" for change in our life, my guess is we are not putting any power into the particular desire for change we are "praying" for.

I don't know why so many obvious things can be so hard to see. If you look at what happens when change is forced upon us through tragedy, it is clear we are resilient beings. We can adapt. When tragedy thrusts change upon us we manage to dig down deep and pull out the power that otherwise seems to be sitting around doing nothing.

I'll give you an example. My own mother tragically lost her leg to cancer at the age of 65. On a physical level, it changed just about everything in her life. After many years of living life a certain way, to have to alter just about every way in which you do things is overwhelming! But she did it, and she did it with amazing grace. She figured out how to balance on one leg while leaning on the counter to cook for her family (because she wanted to -- not because we were sitting at the table knife and fork in hand chanting feed me!). She learned how to have what she needed, where she needed it. She mastered a way in which she could continue to garden her hilly property -- pushing a cushion to sit on, while pulling her gardening tools along with her. She figured out a way to stay engaged with her young grandchildren, although she could no longer chase after them. She handled the changes she was dealt because she decided to. It could have gone a completely different way. She could have taken herself out of the game of life, but instead she changed the way the game would be played. She, by the way, is my heroine!

I do believe that decision is all about giving ourselves power. We are not as weak as we think! And if you feel you are -- dig a little deeper. You've got the power!

Decision defined: "The act of or need for making up one's mind."
Now define your decision.

Lynn Cluess Manzione is the author of A Wondrous Journey: A Small Book With Big Lessons

For more by Lynn Cluess Manzione, click here.

For more on success and motivation, click here.