The Power Decision
Good grief and golly we women have a lot to do. We need to love our people, take care of ourselves, change the world, and — in the midst of it all — there’s probably a load of laundry with our name on it. So, how do we do it all and still have time to sit in the sun and read a good book? Wait, we’re supposed to do that too? Yes, yes, we are. Because the best of life is usually in the moments when we stop to enjoy the moment. As women, we can smile while shoveling dirt to move a mountain, and we can and will wrap those we love, in love. We just have to make one big decision and stick to it. Everything else will fall into place.
That — the big decision — is key. I call it a “power decision.”
When you look at everything you can do in a day, it can be overwhelming. There are moments when it’s easier to throw up your arms in defeat, or retreat to a closet and eat M&Ms than to face it all. And that, my friend, is when the power decision comes into play.
A famous example of this is Suze Orman and her one pair of earrings. Years ago, she decided to buy the best she could afford, wear them every day, and never make that decision, or spend that money again. I heard her, but I sure didn’t make that decision. I need new sparkles every now and again. I recently coached a busy school superintendent who wore black every day, not because she was in mourning, or because she was boring. She wore black because it was like a blackboard for her fun jewelry. She accessorized like crazy with necklaces, bangles, earrings and scarves both large and small. She never worried if the colors clashed. Dressing in black freed her to grab and go with whatever suited her fancy that day. It also made gift giving easy for those that loved her with big, bold, beautiful colors popping out of every gift box.
One decision is fine for things like getting dressed, but what about things that matter, like food? I have spent more money, more hours and more tears trying to figure out how and what to eat than any person ever should have spent. I have gained, lost, found, depleted, hidden and battled the bulge until I couldn’t take it anymore. I’ve been low-fat, Atkins, Weight Watchers, vegetarian, Mediterranean, dairy free, gluten-free, flavor-free, and free-fed. I’ve sipped fancy shakes and taken supplements. I’ve boot camped, calorie counted, and been hypnotized.
These efforts rewarded me with an ulcer I couldn’t seem to cure, no matter what I did or didn’t eat. Then, kindly, but firmly, Cole Whitmoyer, Doctor of Nursing Practice at Flex Family Health, said, “I think you just need to calm down about what you are eating.” Every time I took a bite, I repeated “calm down” and within two weeks the ulcer was gone, and I felt like me again. Eating was fun and good choices were easy to make.
I carried that decision into talks with Sarah Townley, The Type Two Diabetes coach. Diabetes runs in my family, and if I was going to calm down about food, I didn’t want to get so calm that I ran into an insulin pump for a best friend. She helped me learn to fast, which I love, and control my blood sugar. Now, two or three times a week I decide to fast, which takes all the day’s decisions about food off the table and frees me mentally and physically to live and love more of life! The result? I am calm. I eat what I want. I get to decide what and who to be, when not chained to constant decisions about points, calories or people judging me. I decided to calm down about food, and that decision helped me to ramp up the rest of my life.
If it works for food, what about change? This is a recurrent theme with my clients right now — how to deal with all the change in the world. It affects work, home, friendships and staff relations. The decision that seems to have the most power is, “I’ve decided to accept change.” Five words. There’s so much power in those words. When change comes barreling at you, all you say is I’ve decided to accept change and it no longer has the power to bowl you over.
I wish I could tell you which power decision will have the greatest impact on your life, but I can’t. All I can tell you is this: pick something you have been struggling with, think of the outcome you would like to see, and then make the decision. When you’ve done that, everything else, all the small decisions, all the results, just fall into place. Once that power decision has done its job, you can make another, and then another.
One power decision means you get to live the best of your life without tripping over the inconsequential decisions, as they have already been made. You also get to say, “I wish I could (insert request) but I have decided (insert power decision),” when dealing with your nemesis.
A few power decisions that my people have made include: I pause before I respond. I only drink wine on Friday. I’d rather save a dollar than spend a dollar. I always lead with love. I don’t touch my phone in the car. I have decided to stay married, to commit to this man as I originally intended. (This doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but it does allow you to look for the best of your marriage.) I have decided to start my day with some form of movement. I volunteer with or in front of my family, instead of without them. I am writing my book. I speak my truth and protect my heart. I only keep things I have used in the last year. I don’t tolerate abuse. Trash is trash. I eat a vegetable at every meal. I drink 96 ounces of water a day. I provide opportunities for others to grow. I choose to take consistent action. I link with people who help me grow. I walk in courage and not fear. I choose to honor and support my authentic self.
The last two may have the most power. Imagine filtering your day-to-day life through courage and commitment to being you. Who would you be? What could you do? Why are you waiting? Make your one power decision and live that glorious choice in every facet of your precious life.