I can still vividly recall sitting on the floor in my house with a dear friend in high school on the day we needed to decide what college to attend. We had both been accepted into a handful of schools, and we had both managed to narrow down our options to two schools each. We had weighed the pros and cons ad nauseam. We debated their merits with friends, family, and teachers. We made lists and charts. After endless analysis, we turned to the only remaining option: we flipped a coin, and only then were our decisions made.
Her coin came up heads for Trinity University, where she thrived. When my coin came down, it was tails for Tufts University, and I found myself inexplicably disappointed. Tufts is a great school in an exciting city center with all the history and charm of the East Coast education I always assumed was my destiny. But I realized the moment the coin dropped that I could not abide by its conclusion. I instead packed my bags for Vanderbilt, and that decision put me on the path to where I am today.
Years later, I still catch myself hoping someone or something will help me make decisions small and large. When I can't decide what to make for dinner, I will pose options to my husband, and it isn't until he makes his choice that I realize I wanted something else. When I debated leaving my job to strike out on my own, I consulted mentors, friends, and family. It wasn't until a respected mentor encouraged me to stay with the security of a job I knew and a life I enjoyed that I knew I needed to step into the unknown.
Sometimes we need to seek wise counsel and carefully weigh our options, but often we simply need to make a decision - even the wrong one - in order to realize our true desire. Next time you feel paralyzed by doubt or overwhelmed by options, make a choice and listen to how your heart reacts. By doing so, you will know whether your choice was the right one or whether you need to change course.
What tool can you use to tap into the answer you knew all along?