Grace Under Fire: How to Make Difficult Decisions When you are Stressed, Confused, or Frazzled
Change is the only stable variable in our lives. Whether we wish it or not, our lives tend to always steer towards a more chaotic state, ironically enough. Anything can happen just as soon as you think your life is stable and boring.
Your choices are:
- Lay awake all night, and let your mind spin, trying to come up with a solution
- Try to find a solution by reading self-help materials
- Get professional help
Unfortunately, none of these solutions are (usually) a productive option
We'll come back to this, but first let's talk a bit about those difficult decisions.
Both in our workplace and in our private lives, we are constantly faced with unexpected difficult decisions, which can impact our future and others – and which we are not always prepared for. In fact, I should say: usually are not prepared for. Just to give some examples, you might get fired from your job despite your flawless record due to some organization change or receive an unexpected medical diagnosis -- or perhaps you’re expecting a new family member in nine months all of the sudden!
Most of the times (thankfully) we are faced with less urgent matters, but this doesn’t mean they don’t cause a lot of stress and worries. Your partner doesn’t seem to be as invested in your relationship as you are, or maybe you’re starting to doubt your career choice. Taking the right choice is never the easiest one and knowing that it can massively affect your life in the near future can be super overwhelming. You may ignore the issue for a while, but eventually you’ll need to make a decision before time run outs.
The good news is that there is a science for that! How to the presidents and the world leaders do it? People in leadership positions deal with time sensitive scenarios all the time, carrying big responsibilities over their shoulders every time they walk into the office. You can develop decision-making skills that can help you cope with the pressure and ensure that you can commit to any choice that you make, knowing that it is the right one.
This brings us back to the options question.
Let's consider them one by one, and finish the discussion on how viable they may be.
This one is self-explanatory: a defeatist, victim-mentality approach. Of course you deserve better! it's a proven fact that every situation has a solution. You just need to find it.
Lay awake all night, and let your mind spin, trying to come up with a solution
Same as the above. Obviously you're not going to get anywhere doing THAT. Except, possibly to a nervous breakdown. This is a process that takes a lot of energy, and actually drains your precious mental and emotional strength that could have been used productively elsewhere. From the standpoint of psychology, what is happening here is that your mind is desperately trying to uncover some inner recourse (a memory, an approach that you have known to work in a similar situation, a knowledge of something that can be helpful, etc.) -- and there isn't one.
... This prompts the next possible way of addressing the issue:
Try to find a solution by reading self-help materials
Warmer, but at the point of a critical decision it is a bit too late for that. As helpful as these materials are, trying to scan through the ocean of lifehacks in search of the one that will fit your situation at the point when you have an actual problem to solve is like trying to quickly read through all the law books when you've been suddenly served with court summons. Yes, there is a law there somewhere that supports your innocence. But you kind of got to know all of these laws at that point, in order to be able to pinpoint the one that will work and apply it correctly. In other words, you will need to be a professional lawyer -- and you cannot become a professional lawyer by reading all the books in 4 days: it takes 4 to 6 years to get that degree.
... And so: hire a professional and...
Get professional help
Nothing wrong with this idea, except... Uh... I am, like, going to lose my job next week -- and you want me to pay you $150/hr (which is more than I make myself) for your professional advice?
So, what do you do? I have an idea.
But first, let me make good on my promise and give you a few practical tips that you can apply TODAY, here and now, to collect yourself and get a handle on that stress, at least.
Here are a few helpful suggestions, that are guaranteed to make your life easier and bring that stress level down a notch, at least.
One of the fundamental pillars in keeping your head cool and focused in high-stress situations is to maintain a calm attitude. It sound a bit counterintuitive, but the more you get worked up about an issue, your brain overrides any logical thinking and will act upon emotions. After all, you’ll take better decisions when your body isn’t in fight or flight response. Breathing exercises are extremely helpful in helping you relax and condition your mind into a decision-making state.
Gather as much information as possible
Another way to prepare yourself to take difficult decisions is to develop awareness of what’s going on. This means thinking of what you already know and what you might be missing at the time and accepting that change is unavoidable. While it’s true that in some cases you will need to make a time sensitive decision, you can still do your research and analyze the scenario you’re in to know where are you standing.
Planning is everything
Whether we do it unconsciously or not, we sometimes like to leave things until the very last minute. Once you’re aware of an issue, you can either let it sit and grow into an unavoidable problem down the line or you can take direct actions immediately. With proper awareness and planning, you can carry a lighter weight on your shoulders knowing that you had enough time to prepare for the potential outcome.
Ask for help or advice from where you can
Sometimes we feel like we are one against the world and that we should carry our burdens in silence. But we must not forget that we can rely on others when facing difficult decisions. You can either reach out to friends and family if you need some advice or ask for professional help if you need an unbiased opinion.
How did the above advice make you feel? Better, I hope. But do you feel like you have found the exact solution that you've been looking for? I am really happy if you did -- and I am glad I could help.
But if you're still feeling that the advice was incomplete, that your mind is still desperately spinning, and that your situation goes beyond these simple solutions, then the next part of the article is for you.
(In this next part I step beyond the traditional psychology. This is where the mainstream advice ends and Holistic Psychology approaches begin.
Remember how I told you at the begging of the article you that there was a science for success? I was talking about Acmeology -- which is a branch of Alternative Psychology that studies human achievement, inner potential and the means of getting what you want from life. Acmeology, in essence, is indeed the science of success. And this is what I specialize in)
So, you felt that something was still missing after reading the general advice above. This uncomfortable feeling is an important sign your body and mind are sending you that you shouldn’t dismiss at a single glance. The fact that you’re stopping to think about it should be enough to make you wonder whether something deeper is going on.
This is what all articles say, right? Relax, reconsider, collect yourself. You can do it, girl. But potentially, something deeper is going on… And it is AF! … Ask for professional advice… And who’s got the money for that??? Right – especially at the point when you’re staring at losing your job next week or the unexpected expense of an unplanned pregnancy. Nice advice. 😂😂👍
Interestingly enough, most of us KNOW: Yes, I can do it. Each one of us can recall being able to maintain that 🔥grace under fire🔥 in the past, even when it came to the most difficult decisions or extremely stressful situations –and emerge a winner. Look, this is still the same YOU – why are you doubtful? Why are you sensing insecurity?
The explanation for this intuitive sense of not being able to stand up to the circumstances, despite the known inner strength, is that the reason for “underperforming” in critical situations usually lies OUTSIDE of ourselves.
What does this mean?
Yes, we may have a lot of inner potential. But not knowing how to apply it, not having a clear understanding of the dynamics of what is going on – or being hindered by either past trauma or outward influences that we may not have considered keeps us from putting these inner strengths to their proper use.
Thus, all the advice aimed at telling you how to improve yourself really misses the mark. Improving YOU will not change the EXTERNAL reason for the stress.
You indeed are “good enough”. And your effort and energy would earn a lot better return if invested NOT in “improving” or changing who you are, but rather in understanding of what is going on and learning how to battle your hidden (and sometimes not-so-hidden) enemies: unfavorable circumstances, wrong influences, damaging environment, damaging baggage from the past, misunderstanding of your true abilities and purpose, and so on.
This can sound a bit of counterintuitive, so let me say it again. Isn’t understanding of what is going on, what your strengths are, and what is driving the present dynamics in any situation the best way to make a decision? How can you fix something if you don’t know how it works or where it is going? Now let’s take it a step further: won’t knowing what your best strengths are and how to utilize your potential to its max help you to make the right decision, now that what is going on is clear? Remember the old, centuries-proven wisdom: There is always a solution for every problem. You just need to find it.
Yes, it is correct that we cannot change the people and the circumstances around us… but as yet another old wisdom has it, remember: We cannot change the wind, but we can adjust the sail. And when we adjust the sail, we go in the direction that we want to go, regardless of which way the wind is blowing.
(This, by the way, is one of the fundamental differences between the Mainstream and Holistic psychology. The first one (mainstream) focuses on the problem and expects YOU to change. The second (Holistic) focuses on the solution -- which is best FOR YOU when you remain who you are. The first tends to dish out a slew of one-size-fits-all "tips". The second -- a personal and individual solution for every situation. The first breeds victim mentality. The second builds a warrior mindset.)
🔥So, resolve to get to the bottom of the situation and become a warrior woman: armed with knowledge, armed with the right tools, armed with knowing what is right for you and the people you care about. Shed the past baggage. Fix what needs to be fixed. Arm yourself with the right mindset and the nuclear strength of your inner potential. This is what you need to do in order to be able to take the right decisions even in most stressful situations.
Now, the million dollar question – how do you do this. Right?
How do you uncover your potential or even begin to sort through what the heck is going on?
If I gave you ANY answer here, I would be only giving you just another “tip” – you know as well as I do, each individual situation is different, and there are as many answers to the question of “what is going on in my life” as there are people.
This brings us back to the question of “HELP, Mr. Wizard!”. Actually, Ms.😇
Yes, I am a Holistic Life Coach. I hold a Master’s degree in Acmeology – a science that is defined as “the science of success”: the study of the how-to's when it comes to uncovering your inner potential and solving any problem, be it personal success (for example, in relationships) or business success (i.e. financial independence). In my practice, I specialize in helping women discover the enormous potential that we have been created with (that most women do not know exists), be all they can be, and thrive by making their goal and even their wildest dreams materialize to the point they never thought was possible.
You're probably thinking: Ah, a professional. That's great -- but, again: who can afford those counseling fees? (back to that question).
So, I created a program to solve this challenge:
I combined Group therapy with live Zoom conferences, Self-study with Individual advice, and Social Learning approach with Individual Testing.
You can take advantage of one-on-one type help, complete with the needed tests and assessments of your unique situation and live interaction with myself and my fellow coaches…
... for $1, for the first month.
This is not a typo or a gimmick. I feel we live in the times when the right help is essential more than ever: this may go up at some point, but right now you need this, and I want to help.