Making Choices - How to do it
The eternal choice for a working woman that keeps popping up is between a full time job or an independent work life. The choice between 80-20 or 20-80 or 50-50; that is, the choice to strike a balance between home and career/self and career.
I recently completed a stint at an advertising agency where 80 percent of the women working were single – yet to be married, mostly. They also happened to be staying away from their families having moved out of their home towns for their careers. Smart, good looking women who knew their mind, their goals, their careers. Women who had made an informed choice. Women who worked at least 12 hours a day every day in office. If you ask me, I worked 10 hours or 11 hours but the 2 extra hours were from home after having had a nice sit-down family dinner. These young, smart women in my office always fascinated me – I wondered what kept them going every day for 12 hours in office. Did they not have any other interests outside of work? Was it the be-all and end-all of their lives? Did they not have a BF? Or was it their way of proving to the world that they were serious about their careers? I don’t think there is any one right answer, but suffice it to say that they had made their choice – career – full time, over time. Most had also made up their minds about staying single forever. It’s their life. Their choice, although for me things on this subject, work differently.
I too had made my choice. 20 years back. When my little one was born. He was my choice. My first choice. Everything else came later.
For me it was a choice between stress and peace of mind; choice between sending my son in the crèche only for a couple of hours as against 9 hours. Choice of staying at home when he was down with fever, as against leaving him in that condition in the crèche and going to work, in a highly feverish state of mind, myself.
A choice of listening to my heart over my mind; of giving myself me-time; of choosing to write for myself and for joy than writing to earn a living. But lest we forget, by making this choice, I had chosen to give up a full time corporate career, some good money, top positions and maybe international travel too. But I had done it willingly. And with the confidence that I could do all of this even by choosing an independent work status.
It all may sound pretty easy as I say it now, but making a choice could be one of the most difficult things of life.
People have and use different processes of choosing.
For me there are two processes to make a choice that come naturally to me.
1) By elimination: I tick off the items on the list that I never want. That leaves me with a shortlist of two or three. Then, I repeat the process. And for the final choice, I listen to my heart
2) Listening to my heart: This is the second process I follow and it has so far worked very well for me, whenever I have had to make larger choices that would have a larger impact on my life.
Now how does one go about this ‘listening’?
It’s fairly simple. Close your eyes. Run the final 2 choices in your mind’s eye. And ‘see’ where your heart tilts. Repeat this thrice. Your heart will tilt in one direction. That, then, should be your choice.
There is a fair chance that after you have made this choice and ‘bought into it’, you will experience pangs of regret for not having made the other choice. But you should safely ignore them, as eventually you will learn to not just accept and live with your choice but will be happier for the same.
For choices that are not ‘high involvement’ choices – like making a choice between two sarees, two dresses, two scooters etc; the first process of elimination works.
For ‘high involvement’ subjects like job, life partner, house etc. kind of choices, a more informed process as well as No.2 works.
Life is about choices. The sooner you make them, the better you make a success out of those; or if not, the sooner you go on to correct them.
Procrastination has never helped anyone. Making a firm choice, owning it and getting up even if it fails, is what helps.
Just take charge. And choose!
You are fortunate enough to exercise your choice.