When I started working at a job where everyone lived and worked under one roof, operating under job titles that were vague at best, I learned that life did not use college ruled paper or color coded anything. Life is the Wild Wild West. This was unsettling headline news for me. From a very young age I preferred order and organization over chaos. Sure, some of it was nurture, but a lot of it was nature. It was how I made sense of the world around me. As I got older I became fascinated with personality tests. They all confirmed that I was goal driven, detail oriented, administration bound! But every now and then I wondered, what if I wanted to be a different thing? Would the personality police come? I was alternately thrilled and held prisoner by archetypal suggestions.
The plot of my life thickened, and as it would happen, all of those tests were just as wrong as they were right. I was comfortable with structure, but motivated by creativity. I liked following rules, it just hadn’t yet occurred to me that I could make them. So I gave rule making a stab. And lemme tell ya, I didn’t do great. When in doubt, My go-to move was to poll the audience. I loved asking for advice. It was my subconscious way of sneaking in the back door of my comfort zone and looking for a life checklist, because I just couldn't believe that my own stamp of approval was validating enough. I was in the beginning stages of realizing that I had the ability to steer my own life, but no confidence that I should be issued a driver's license.
The piece of advice I needed most came in one of my "poll the audience" frenzies. It came from my much loved and ultimately trusted yoga teacher. I presented her with a rather large life decision that I was faced with making. I was teetering so precariously on the fence of indecision that a light breeze could have blown me over. She said, "here's the thing about advice. I don't give advice anymore." What?! No! This couldn't be. Had I just missed her everything-must-go-final-clearance wisdom blowout? She went on to explain that I needed to make this decision for myself. I was the only one all the way inside of it. I could see the guts of my options in a way that no one else could. She knew that even her best educated guess might not be the right answer for me. And she could see that I was so desperate to pass the decision baton to someone else, that I would have blindly followed any advice.
So I bucked up. I made the decision. I trusted my intuition. And the decision I made didn't turn out exactly how I wanted it to. But it started a domino effect for a wild and beautiful ride.
The thing about the Wild Wild West is that it's a gutsy place to move. It can be a scary place to live and you might need to remind yourself every day that you are the one who chose it. You are the decider of the decisions. Who knows what the consequences might be? Maybe all your dreams don't come true the moment you make your next bold move. But you have no idea what series of events you will set in motion when you begin to trust yourself.
If you're anything like me, you'll probably want to know how bad following your gut could be. What's the worst that could happen? It's a question we can't help but ask. So ask away. Let your mind wander through that dark forest if it wants to. Avoiding the heavy hitting questions gives them power. But here's what I challenge you to do; only wander through that dark forest for the amount of time that you're willing to commit to the question, "what's the best that could happen?" IIt's only fair to be an equal opportunist. Go on. I dare you. Give both questions a fighting chance.
Make those bold decisions without asking anyone's approval. Because they don't know what you know. They don't know what your better story is. Maybe you don't either. It's time to find out.