Deep down dirty decisions!

Quote 'The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams' by Eleanor Roosevelt

Written byHelen Soutar

Helen is a strategist who specializes in Resilience. Mum to Harry and Kit who are both rapidly reaching the stage of looking down to her, she spends her days home educating and then escaping to her studio in the garden to work

9th July 2019

Decisions decisions decisions!

Can you believe we’re halfway through the year already? 

I’ve been reviewing my plans for the year over the last couple of days, checking whether they’re still relevant and what I actually want to be working on. It’s an interesting process sometimes and often one where I get a bit stuck.  The thing is, I know that there are few things I can’t do if I really decide I want to do them (and the same applies to you too!).  It might take a while, I might have to enlist the expertise of others, or keep at something for much longer than I’d ideally want to but ultimately, I think the vast majority of things I could ever want are within my grasp.

The problem comes with deciding though.  We might be able to achieve anything, but we really can’t achieve everything.  We have to choose what we want to focus on, be discerning about what is important to us and prioritise our time, energy and resources in that direction.

Whenever this comes up either for myself or one of my clients, I think of the Pushmi-Pullyu from the Dr. Dolittle books I loved as a child.  This two-headed creature is a perfect image for how I feel at times – wanting to go in two opposite directions and ending up staying where I am instead.

One of my main ones at the moment is to do with where we live.  On the one hand, I would love love love to move to Mauritius, even if just for a year or so.  My business is set up in a way that means it would be possible, my kids are home educated so no problems there either and we could even take our gorgeous dog Ivo with us.

On the other hand, my eldest is preparing for his GCSE’s (end of high school exams in the UK) and whilst he could still do that in Mauritius, a big change might not be ideal.  There’s also my Grandma to think about.  I provide respite care for a few days every 3-4 weeks and am also on call for any emergencies.  And of course, the rest of our family and friends, who my kids in particular, are not keen to leave behind.

The end result is that we stay stuck – not taking any actions that would take us closer to moving whilst also not taking actions that would change things as they are here because we might still decide to make the move.

So how do we get unstuck?


There are two major options:

1. Assess all the choices available to you and look for common actions that you can get started with whilst you continue to debate your final choice.

For example, another option for us is to stay where we are, extend our house and sort out the garden. Stripping back the amount of stuff we have would be beneficial to either option so we could get on with that without feeling like it was a waste of time.  The main disadvantage of this option for me is that I would keep different things depending on whether we decided to stay and extend or move.  On the upside though, I strongly suspect there is plenty that I can get rid of either way and I would at least still be keeping some momentum going rather than just feeling stuck.

2. Make a snap decision and go for it knowing that you can change your mind again later.

This option doesn’t work for everything though – or at least not without severe consequences for yourself or other people that should be avoided if at all possible.  If you are debating whether to have children, for example, this is not the route to choose.  Whilst there are options available (abortion, adoption), I think the vast majority of us would agree that these options involve a significant amount of trauma and the far better choice would be to make a decision you can live with beforehand.  Similarly getting a full face tattoo – these are the kind of decisions you want to be really sure about before you commit to them.

Deciding whether to move or stay put though?  There are ways you can do that with minimal lasting consequences.  I could rent my house out for 6 months (rather than sell it) and make the move knowing we can come home if we hate it.  I could get on with extending the house knowing it would make it easier to sell or rent out later if we decided that we did actually want to move.

What decisions are you stuck on at the moment?  Do you have other tools you use to help you move forward?

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