Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, the dream we’re pursuing just doesn’t work out. Or it takes an unexpected detour in another direction. When that happens, you might feel discouraged or disappointed. You might also feel … secretly relieved. Have you ever had that experience?
Recently, when our plans for buying a house fell through, my partner and I looked at each other and admitted that we were actually glad it hadn’t worked out. It would have added tremendous chaos and stress to our lives – trying to pack, move and unpack in a month where we were both extremely busy plus leaving on a trip. Suddenly, our condo apartment looked pretty inviting.
That sense of relief told me very clearly that we’d made the right decision to not pursuing the house deal further, even though it had seemed like what we wanted at the time.
It’s not always easy to know when you’re making the right decision, is it? Sometimes it’s only when the options have been taken out of your hands that you recognize where you want to be.
I remember going through a similar process about ten years ago. I was about to move to a new house (what is it with me and moving?) and I’d been offered an intriguing job opportunity. It involved working in Argentina for a number of months. I’d wanted to do international work for a while, so this seemed like a perfect chance. However, it would mean moving into my new house and leaving within the week for a pre-project briefing in Ottawa and then flying to Buenos Aires for four months.
Between packing, organizing all the details for the move and trying to make this potentially life-altering decision, I was stressed. And I don’t think clearly when I’m overwhelmed.
My son and daughter were home at the time. After listening to me list all the pros and cons, argue for and against taking the job, and work myself into a frenzy of indecision, my daughter reached into her pocket and pulled out a coin.
“Okay, Mom,” she said, “Heads you take the job, tails you don’t.”
What? Make a decision this big with the flip of a coin?
She flipped the coin. It came up tails.
And I realized I was disappointed. I really did want to take the job.
And I did.
Mind you, it didn’t turn out at all the way I expected, but that’s a story for another day.
The point is – sometimes something as simple as flipping a coin can get you out of your head (spinning round and round) and into your true feelings about the decision. Do you feel relieved or disappointed? There’s your answer.