Today I was asked to join my friends for lunch in downtown Calgary. As I perused for a parking spot I ended up parking at the lot the building of the restaurant was on. To my surprisethe parking was not owned by the restaurant but was a private lot that wanted almost $16 to park for 2 hours!
Well even though I would be a bit late I decided to re-park my car in hopes for free parking or hourly meters. Right around the corner there was a spot with a meter, I turned the car around slipped into the space and proceeded to pay. Even though this method was fractionally cheaper, fractionally if you factor in gas and environmental taxes, yet still I felt like I decided where my money was going, the mental difference appeased me for now.
After enjoying a meal filled with big laughs amongst great friends I walked to my car alone pondering my earlier parking experience. I was resisting something back in the original parking lot, was it the fact that I didn’t have $16 in change and I didn’t have a credit card on me? Did I feel that the price was unjust? Whatever it was I wanted to reframe the day so that I wasn’t “complaining” about parking prices and telling my story.
When I got to my car the meter I parked at still had time remaining and I must admit my first thought was, “Oh great, what a waste of money”, and perhaps something along the lines of “maybe I should sit in my car for a while to get my moneys worth” may have entered my mind. The point was that I caught myself trying to find the negative in the situation. This is the awareness stage.
The awareness stage is the gateway to all change. I had noticed the situation and brought it to consciousness. With this awareness I knew I had a choice, do nothing and allow my habitual ways of acting continue to be reinforced, or interrupt that pattern of behaviour just this one time and do something different. The opportunity to build something new in my brain sent the excitement endorphins down my body and I decided to act.
I walked over to the meter and put the rest of my change in the machine. After a couple hours worth maximum time allowed I got back into my car, dropped the top to sip some sun and zoomed away before any potential receipient could pass by. I envisioned someone who didn’t have any change parking in the spot, or someone who could know afford to stay and chat a little while longer with a friend.
Whoever it is I wonder if they can feel the intention of bliss and joy that I consciously bundled it with. Does it make them feel lucky and if so, is that a warm and happy feeling? It doesn’t matter, I am not attached to the outcome. I consciously created with the intention of someone else’s good outcome. And that ladies and gentlemen made me feel good and added a little more perspective to lighten up the day.
See if you can notice yourself behaving in a typical way that is familiar to you. When you notice yourself in this mode, ask yourself gently: “I know where this road goes, would I like to change the destination now?”
If the answer is yes then use the example of my parking lot story to help you get an idea of how to reframe your thinking to build brand new experiences that stimulate your spirit.
How can you reframe an outlook that doesn’t serve you, by first accepting it and then figuring out a way to move past the seemingly scary parts?
Making a decision, even seemingly simple and non-threatening can be a frightful act to a lot of people. Many people are afraid of making decisions in fear that they will make a wrong one. Fearing that a wrong decision can be harmful, even fatal, people are locked into paralysis by over-analysis, meaning they are over-thinking their situation and unable to decide.
If you would like to make decisions more quickly, less painfully and more purposefully, here are the 3 D’s of Decision that you must keep in consideration.
Discern– In order to make a decision you first need to indentify a fork in the road. Your awareness and observation at the initial point that a decision arises will allow you to evaluate on a course of action. You cannot make a decision if you are unaware that you even have a choice, or similarly you cannot create your world if subconsciously you are reacting to a situation.
Take a minute to discern what you will have to do differently to make the change happen. Remember that indecision is still a decision and you will have to change your behaviour if you expect anything else to change. Identify what your options are, even if you currently don’t have the willpower to commit to following through. Awareness is the first step of change.
Be patient with yourself and don’t be afraid to explore the underlying causes of undesirable behaviour. Keep digging deeper until you’ve found the root cause of your indecision.
Decide – The next step in empowering your decisions is to simply decide. Your probably thinking if it was that easy to decide in the first place then you wouldn’t be reading this article. However, armed with the new information uncovered during the Discern stage, you know have the ability understand what is holding you back and build a new habit of overcoming it.
When it comes to taking responsibility for life keep in mind these ten two-letter words, “if it is to be it is up to me”. Taking control in your decisions is empowering, it feels good and makes you feel like a winner. It is a self-esteem deposit in your ability to make future decisions. Your ability to become decisive has to start somewhere, why not start with the decision to change how you decide?
Keep in mind that change happens incrementally, especially on a large scale. Most change is slow to evolve and it unfolds from the inside. Even the worlds largest tree and apple grows slowly from within. Celebrate the small successes as you move toward the bigger goal.
Disregard – Once you have made a decision you practice letting go any attachment to an outcome. I know you are probably thinking the reason you made the decision is because you desired that outcome. It doesn’t mean that you don’t still hope that outcome (or better) happens, it means that you will not beat yourself up or get emotionally unbalanced if it doesn’t arise.
Roadblocks and setbacks are going to be a part of the journey. You cannot avoid these any less than you can avoid deciding. Decision produces action which in turn results in successes and failures, acknowledge each one as equals and use them both as learning opportunities. Stay positive.
Be confident in yourself and have an expectation of success. Inner strength is the ability to stay strong even in the face of the most difficult of circumstances. Have faith in yourself and remain positive about the process. There will be ups and downs and the path is never straight. It takes courage to embrace our destiny as confident decision makers.