Recently I worked with a client who was trying to decide whether to take the leap to leave her stressful job of 12 years for a new position in another company. She’d done the ‘pros and cons’ list, but was still stuck. And while I couldn’t help her see into the future, I could offer some key questions for discerning her best course of action.
What are the questions to ask when you hit a fork in the road?
I’ve been in a discernment process myself, looking at the option of offering an online Holistic Life Coaching Certification program this fall. (If you’re considering taking the program, and I don’t already have your name on the list, you can sign up to receive notifications HERE.
I say ‘discernment’ rather than ‘decision-making’ process because there is a difference.
Why is it important to discern rather than just decide?
Discernment, in the context of spirituality, is defined as, “perception in the absence of judgement with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.”
This means I want to perceive what my soul is calling me to and heed that call.
I don’t want to simply decide based on what’s practical, logical, or expected. And I don’t want to choose from fear. I don’t want to be running away from something, I want to be running toward whatever is going to bring me closer to my authentic self, my true path, and the giving of my deepest gifts.
Discernment brings your soul into your decision-making process.
The discernment process can be supported in many ways, from talking to a trusted friend, to walking a labyrinth (that’s me walking one near my home), to a vision quest in the desert. I encourage clients to get under the surface of a pros and cons list and ask themselves some deep questions. As spiritual teacher Carolyn Myss once said, “It doesn’t matter whether you go left or go right. It matters WHY you go left or go right.” Ultimately, knowing your deeper feelings, beliefs, and motivations help you make better choices — choices that feed your soul.
Whether you’re wondering about taking a new job, leaving a relationship, having another child, or making any other high-impact change, asking these questions can help you discern your deeper truth.
• Do I really want to do this?
• What do I think pursuing this will bring me? Who will I be in the new choice?
• What do I think I’ll escape by making this change?
• Do I have the knowledge, skills, equipment, support, and training I need to be successful?
• What else might I need in order to make this a reality?
• What’s the story I’m telling myself about why I should do it? About why I shouldn’t do it?
• If I had no fear, what would I choose?
• If money weren’t an issue, what would I choose? This? That? Something completely different?
• Is this choice good for me? (emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, socially, financially)
• If I felt completely loved and supported, what would I choose?
Download the questions in PDF form HERE.
The bottom line for my client, and I see this in many clients, was the realization that, whatever choice she made, she was still going to be herself. ‘Wherever you go, there you are’. Her stressed out response to the demands of her job, her maladaptive coping mechanisms, her perfectionism and lack of balance would all follow her to the next job. These were the things that had to be addressed, no matter where she worked. The question then became, “Where do I want to do my growth work?” Acknowledging that she still has to heal her imbalances, she could then decide whether she wanted to do that in her current, familiar situation, or whether it was time to move on. Now consciously aware that she’s taking herself wherever she goes, she can make a choice from an authentic place and follow up with putting effort toward her own healing process.
Asking the questions, above, really helped me see myself — my motivations, dreams, and stuck places — when it comes to deciding about offering the Holistic Life Coaching Certification. My answers helped me create clear, grounded, and heart-opening space around it. Stay tuned — I’ll announce my decision soon!
If you’d like to find out more about the certification program (and I don’t already have your name on the list) you can sign up to receive notifications HERE.
I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below about your experience with decision-making and listening to your soul.
All My Best,