292: The Grace-filled Act of Making Decisions
The time, energy, and other precious resources lost to NOT making decisions in your life can be massive and I don’t know anyone who can afford to lose these types of resources.
Learning to make decisions faster and with more confidence can quite literally change your life.
That’s the conversation we are having on this week’s episode of the Grace & Grit podcast.
Transcripts are auto-generated.
Courtney Townley 0:00
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them, not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.
Courtney Townley 0:28
Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. As always, I’m so happy to have you here. And today, I thought we would lean into the conversation of why it is such a grace filled act to make strong decisions in your life. I mean, it’s a grace filled act to make any decision in your life. But especially strong decisions. And the time energy and other precious resources lost to not making decisions is pretty tremendous in a lot of people’s lives. And quite frankly, I don’t know a person who has a lot of extra resources, like time and energy and mental bandwidth to loose.
Courtney Townley 1:16
Learning how to make decisions faster. And with more confidence is a very powerful way to start changing your life. Now, before we get into this conversation, I just want to highlight the fact that about 100 episodes ago, Episode 185, to be exact, was a episode dedicated to a very similar conversation. And the conversation in that episode was why you owe it to yourself to decide. And I just bring that to your attention. Because if you could use a lot of help in this area, if you want as many resources at your disposal as possible. That is one more place you may want to check out.
Courtney Townley 2:00
Now, I have struggled throughout my life with making decisions. I have worked with hundreds of women who struggle to make decisions in their life. And even if they do make decisions, they often wrestle with feeling really confident in their decision making. And what that looks like is they start second guessing. They start asking for a lot of other people’s opinions, they start wavering, they’re not really deeply committed. And without deep commitment, you’re not going to follow through with the decisions that you make.
Courtney Townley 2:35
So what’s the problem with not making decisions aside from wasting resources, and again, we can spend so much time and energy and money and all the things on indecision, and a lot of people are choosing to live their entire life there. But another problem with not making decisions is that we don’t take action. Right? When you don’t decide what the next step is, you stagnate, you don’t take action. And I have long said and will probably die on this hill, that stagnant places are not where things go to thrive. Stagnant places are where things go to die.
Courtney Townley 3:22
The other problem with not making decisions is that it creates a tremendous amount of overwhelm in our brain. We don’t decide and so the decision making just continues to stack up because we’re not actually doing anything to unpack that stack. So why don’t we make decisions? So many reasons. I think a big reason we don’t make decisions is because it affords us a way to hide from the work that we have called ourselves to do.
Courtney Townley 3:59
So when we don’t decide specifically, what we are going to do tomorrow in dedication to whatever the change is that we want to make. We don’t have to take action, because we don’t really know what we’re committing to. So I do think that not deciding is absolutely a way of hiding. It’s a way of staying comfortable. It is way of not risking failure. And we don’t like to fail right.
Courtney Townley 4:30
Feels a lot safer, and a lot more certain to not risk failure. I think another big reason we don’t make decisions is because we don’t want to ripple the water. We don’t want to make other people uncomfortable with our decisions. So we just don’t make them. We don’t want to lean in to the discomfort of other people’s discomfort. And so we end up unnecessarily suffering, because our life is moving nowhere. We also convince ourselves that there is such a thing as a right decision.
Courtney Townley 5:15
We want to make the perfect decision, we want to know that the decision we are making is going to work out in the way that we hope it will. And we never get that guarantee, every decision you make in your life is a best guess. And the only thing that makes a decision, right? Is you deciding to make it right. Based on the best of what I currently know about myself, this feels like the right next decision. And no matter how it turns out, I don’t have to change my mind that this was the right decision, I just get to make a new decision.
Courtney Townley 6:03
So let’s just say that I decide that it is the right decision for me to move to a new town. And I moved to that new town and after a year, I really don’t have a community of people, I don’t love the environment, I’m having a hard time finding a job, I don’t have to spend a lot of time beating myself up for making a wrong decision. I don’t have to go back at all, all I need to do is make an the next decision. Now that I know myself a little bit better now that I know the result of this decision a little bit more clearly, I’m going to make a new decision. We also want the freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want. And so we don’t decide we decide not to commit. Or if we commit, we’re only like, kind of committing, we’re doing like the one toe dip in the pool, just to test the temperature. But we’re not really committing to learning how to swim.
Courtney Townley 7:11
And it’s interesting, isn’t it, because that thought that I want to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. That’s the kind of freedom I want. It causes us to not make any decisions. And we stagnate. And stagnation becomes a prison. So I just want to offer here that making strong decisions about moving your life in a direction will allow you to get to know yourself better. And when you know yourself better, you can lead yourself better. And there is a lot of freedom on the other side of knowing and leading yourself better. I also want to offer that we convince ourselves one of the reasons we don’t make decisions is because we convince ourselves that we can do all things.
Courtney Townley 8:06
And here’s the thing, you can do a lot of things, but you can’t do a lot of things well. You have very limited resources at your disposal. And so when we try to be everywhere, we end up being nowhere. All this to say a very big part of the work that I do with my clients is I help them to develop skill sets that allow them to decide faster and stronger. And there’s really three dimensions to this work. There’s at the most foundational level, the just the ability to make a decision without second guessing without taking months or years to make a decision. Simply making a decision. That’s step one.
Courtney Townley 8:59
Step two is making decisions hard. Now, I don’t mean physically hard. I mean that you make decisions competently, you make them strongly. So we make decisions hard. And thirdly, we make hard decisions. I know those sounds similar, but they’re not. One is making decisions hard. One is making hard decisions. And I’m gonna explain all three of these to you right now. So at the base level we have just making decisions. Making a decision is deciding the next step based on the best of what you currently know about yourself. And do you currently know everything you’re ever going to know about yourself? Of course not. But we make the next decision based on the best of what we currently know. And we give ourselves permission To decide that based on the best of what I know, based on me taking stock of my life right now who I am the people, I’m around my responsibilities in life,
Courtney Townley 10:16
I am going to give myself permission to make this the next right decision, because that’s all you need to make the decision, right is giving yourself permission to make it right. Not everybody will agree with your decision. Not everybody will like your decision. But you get to decide at any point to make a decision, right. And we also at the base level need to decide to be willing to fail, be willing to rumble with this decision, not working out exactly the way we expected it to. Because again, this is a big reason why we don’t decide at all.
Courtney Townley 11:06
We don’t know 100% How it’s going to turn out. So we’re basing our decisions off of our best guesses. And sometimes our best guesses fall flat. And that’s okay. Right, failure is an amazing teacher. She allows us to build resilience. And again, learn about ourselves. Maybe lean into some new strategy and choose a next right decision that does move the needle of progress.
Courtney Townley 11:45
If this resonated for you today, and you are someone who is ready to learn skill sets that will help you to honor the dynamic nature of health and the multi dimensionality of health, I would encourage you to check out the Rumble & Rise membership arena, you can do that by going to graceandgrit.com/readytorumble. Once again, that’s graceandgrit.com/readytorumble.
Courtney Townley 12:19
So base level, we need to start making more decisions. At the second level, we need to make decisions hard. So like I said earlier, this is not dipping your toe in the water to touch test the temperature. And if it’s not to your liking, you just pull out deciding hard is deciding I’m going to learn how to swim today. Therefore, I am going to get completely wet. I am getting all the way into the pool. You cannot learn how to swim by just dipping your toe. So we commit we commit to being all in which means we do not spend time second guessing we do not spend time self sabotaging, riddled with self doubt playing the what if game, asking everybody else for their opinion.
Courtney Townley 13:19
We commit to be all in, not kind of in. And I’ll give you an example of kind of in kind of in the one toe dip is saying I’m really committed to improving my nutrition. I want to eat better, because I want to feel better. And so you do really well Monday through Friday. You’re in routine, you have a plan, you’re committed to the plan, even though it’s a little hard, you keep showing up. And then comes Friday night. And we start the downward spiral of telling ourselves that we’ll start again on Monday.
Courtney Townley 14:01
We use the whole weekend to negotiate and rationalize our way out of our commitment. We unravel all the good work we did in the last five days. And so we are quite literally starting again on Monday. Now you do that cycle enough times and what happens we get really frustrated with ourselves, because we’re doing just enough work to create change. And we’re doing just enough work to stay exactly where we are. So it’s a very frustrating place to be because we’re working, but we’re also unraveling our own work. So this is the value of deciding to be all in with your decisions.
Courtney Townley 14:50
I think it’s Stephen Covey that says it’s easier to be 100% committed than 98% committed. Because man, think about this when you’re 98% committed to Something that 2% becomes almost 100%, of negotiating, rationalizing, and just looking for all of the opportunities to not do the work. And some people live their whole life in that 2%.
Courtney Townley 15:18
Making decisions hard. Making decisions strongly, is also a practice of allowing urges to do all the things I just mentioned. If you’ve always second guessed yourself, if you’ve always looked to other people for validation of your decisions, you’re going to be tempted to keep doing those things. But you don’t have to do them. You just notice that I have an urge to do this thing, because I have so much practice. And I’m going to stay awake to choosing not to do it. So we allow urges, we allow the discomfort to go on autopilot. Autopilot is what is what you’ve always done.
Courtney Townley 16:08
Allowing urges requires you to not automate to not react. So let’s talk about this third layer of decision making, which is make hard decisions. You know, saying no to something you have no desire to do is not a hard decision. So if I get invited to square dancing, I’m not a fan of square dancing. But if someone invites me to go, it’s going to be a pretty easy no for me, because I don’t enjoy it. So saying no to things we’re not interested in is an easy decision. This is not where we rumble. Where we do Rumble is saying no.
Courtney Townley 17:02
To things we want to say yes to given all the time and energy in the world, if I had an endless supply of time and energy, I would say yes to this thing right now. Because I know that my resources are limited and already spread very thin. I am going to make a strong decision to say not now. This is not a priority for me right now. That’s a hard decision. And this is where a lot of my clients wrestle. It’s not with trimming the fat of things they don’t want to be doing. It’s trimming the fat of things they do want to be doing. But they’re already spread so thin. That they have to find spaces for reclaiming time and energy. Which means saying no to some things that they may want to do.
Courtney Townley 18:04
I think Danielle Laporte is the one who years ago, I read a meme of hers that said no makes way for the Yes. Even saying no to something you want to do. But it’s just not a priority right now. makes room for the bigger Yes. What is the priority right now. And look, we all have competing interests, right? I want to go to Europe, I want to have a job, I want to raise my son in a really wonderful way I want to have a healthy marriage, I want to all the things. And over the course of my lifetime, I can choose to focus on all of those things at different times. But to focus on all of those things at once is a recipe for disaster, if not at the very least burnout.
Courtney Townley 19:06
I was talking to a client earlier today, who was wrestling with spending time in the car with her husband or not traveling in the car with her husband taking her own car so she could stay home a little bit longer and get her own workout in. That is a serious competing interest. She wants to say yes strongly to both of those things. And I think there’s a way she can lean into both of those things. Not every day, but she definitely can do her workout one day and maybe commute with her husband the next day. Right so there is a way to do both and but when we have competing interests, sometimes it comes down to having to make a priority filter. This is so hard, what’s the priority filter, it is taking your top three biggest priorities of your of your day. So let’s just say that is time with my family, my movement and my work.
Courtney Townley 20:21
And occasionally, I am not going to have time to dedicate to all of those areas every single day. That is a hard decision. Because I have to choose what I have to put on the shelf for now, for this day. And so a priority filter is not just knowing your priorities, but the order of those priorities. If you had to put these three things in order of what is most important to you, what a second most important, and what is the least important, what would be the order of those things.
Courtney Townley 21:01
And I get it, this feels like Mission Impossible, because it all feels equally important. But the value of this is that when we do the work of putting it in order. We we can see, number one what is least important, that’s where I can reclaim some of my time. Right, that might be where I need to more closely examine where I need to scale back. And it shows me what I’m not willing to negotiate. So my priority filter is going to look very different from yours. I don’t need to know what yours is, you don’t need to know what mine is. But we need to know, we need to know what our own priority filters are, especially for the days when we’re rumbling with a lot of competing interests.
Courtney Townley 21:54
And you heard me use that phrase for now, which is actually from one of my Rumble & Rise members. She’s wrestling with an injury. And she’s been wrestling with it for a while. And one of the ways she is choosing to think about having to exercise differently, is using the phrase for now. This is what my body needs from me for now. This is where I’m going to put my focus for now. And the beautiful thing about those two words for now, is it reminds you that nothing is permanent. Just because you make a decision today doesn’t mean that that is the decision for the rest of your life. It is for now.
Courtney Townley 22:46
And I feel like it is so much easier to grant ourselves permission to make decisions to make decisions strongly and to make hard decisions. When we just add the four now on the end. This is the way I am going to spend my morning for now. This is the decision I am making to tackle this obstacle for now. Because inevitably what happens when we start making more decisions is we start learning more about ourselves about the situation about what’s working and about what isn’t.
Courtney Townley 23:31
Sometimes you’re going to notice that wow, the decision I made is absolutely moving me in the direction I intended to go awesome. And sometimes you are going to find out that the decision you made is moving you in the opposite direction of where you intend it to go. And nothing has gone wrong there. We’d love to label that as a wrong decision. We could also just as easily label it as a decision that is going to help me write my decision or help me learn about myself. We don’t have to make it wrong. We don’t have to marinate in the wrong. I noticed that this is moving me in a direction I did not intend to go based on that. What is the next decision I am going to make?
Courtney Townley 24:31
I’ve been working with another client recently who when we first started out together, she had a lot of responsibilities on her plate. She was you know running her own company. On top of that she had a few volunteer opportunities that she was trying to balance. Plus she’s raising kids just so many things. And she was clearly struggling with time management and having the resources to give to one The area’s she hired me to help her with which was health. And so of course, at some point the conversation came to where does the hard decision need to be made? What do you need to let go of for now, in order to make more space for this.
Courtney Townley 25:20
And at the end of the day, for her, that meant letting go of a volunteer opportunity that she had been, you know, really enjoying for a while, doesn’t mean she’ll never volunteer again. But for now, that’s the decision that needed to be made for her to show up at the other places that are bigger priorities for her.
Courtney Townley 25:47
On that note, I have done this many times in the past, I usually do this once a year where I take a small break from the Grace & Grit Podcast. So I can give my attention to the areas of my business that need a little bit more love and a little bit more focus. And I’m doing that over the month of August. So I will drop an episode next week, which is I believe, August 6, is that Saturday, I will drop one more episode. And then I’m going to take a three week break. And I will be back in September. So this is me just walking my talk.
Courtney Townley 26:23
This is never an easy decision. I play lots of mind games around what it means for me to step away from the Podcast, how disappointed people are going to be how it’s going to hurt my business. I play all the same games. And so it’s a great opportunity always for me to coach myself into my bigger why? To remind myself of the top priorities right now. And I care so much about this Podcast. I hope that’s evident the fact that I’ve been showing up here consistently for seven years. And for now, I just need to take a breather for a few weeks so I can give this Podcast the attention and the love it deserves when I come back, and in the meantime, give a little bit of love and attention to other areas that are demanding my attention right now that I really feel compelled to lean a little more heavily into.
Courtney Townley 27:19
There’s 292 episodes for you to listen to and there’s tons of free resources on the Grace & Grit website.
Courtney Townley 27:29
Next weekend. On August 6, I will be dropping a new free offer that you can register for through my email. This is a little companion guide that I have created specifically for midlife women, because I have found that that is just largely my community. Most of the women I work with are entering perimenopause are in the throes of menopause. And so I wanted to create a free offer that helped them to navigate this Podcast in a way that afforded them help in the most direct route.
Courtney Townley 28:08
So if you want to kind of learn more about that and hear more about that make sure you check out nest next week’s episode. Thank you so much for being a listener. I am so deeply appreciative of you showing up here and I will see you again very soon. Take care my friends.
Courtney Townley 28:28
Thank you for listening to the grace and grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self care. You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit anything is possible.
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