How do you make decisions when you are between a rock and a hard place? when you feel uncertain about how to make the best choice, whether for your personal or professional life?

As most of us – in our youthful zest for life and the pursuit of happiness, I used to think I had it all together: I knew my stuff, I practiced what I preached, I walked the walk, I had a family and loved ones and a sense of purpose… and then life happened and kept happening. And, instead of stopping and breathing or asking for help, I kept asking for more and I just kept going… because I felt responsible, because I felt obligated, because I didn’t want to disappoint, because I thought that’s what I was “supposed” to do. Because I wore the “superwoman” cape :)

And when Life continued to provide me with more rocks and hard places than I could handle, I balked and kicked up my heels, threw tantrums and… (well, not really, but pretty close ;) and then I asked for more and kept going. (I know, really slow learner.)

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset(Sometimes being between a rock and a hard place is right where you are supposed to be :)

Once I finally stepped away from some of the chaos – even for moments at a time –  I could see that my intellectual self and my intuitive self and my insightful self were doing battle over the “right way” to do what needed to be done, for everyone else and NOT for me. And I couldn’t decide which one was winning, all the while I was losing… my sanity, my energy, my well-being.

For most of us, when we are learning and growing in our personal life or in our businesses, making important decisions can become quite an overwhelming process. So, learning about our motivators, what drives us to make the choices we make, what moves us to do what we do, offers tremendous insight into our own patterns, ones that keep bringing us around to that same place of: rocks and hard places.

What I learned about myself was:  1) I was motivated by a need for acceptance, (yes, the dreaded people-pleaser syndrome),  2) I had a strong saviour complex – thinking that I could “save” whomever and whatever situation I found myself in – I was supposed to be superwoman, 3) there was only one right way, and here’s the kicker 4) I felt the pressure of saying “yes” and acting quickly (probably stemming from not wanting to disappoint).

Of course I could take on all the problems of the world plus my own at the same time and not disappoint anyone while doing it!

Needless to say, through much introspection, a few bumps and bruises, more gray hairs and wrinkles than I care to count or display publicly, lol – I have learned a thing or two.  That is why I am sharing a few thoughts about motivators: why we do the things we do. And maybe, just maybe, you will find something useful for your own life – because learning doesn’t ALWAYS have to be the way of “the rocks and hard places”.

SO – Let’s just pretend that you are in the middle of a life lesson, ask yourself – of the following, which is your modus operandi? your mode of operating? or your preferred method of making a decision? what motivates you to move in a certain direction? to choose a certain way? Remember, there is no good or bad, no right or wrong, just consider and observe. Then take a deep breath and consider again, become the witnessing presence of your own life.

Mind-driven Motivation (no negative connotation intended, we need this to survive in the physical world)

Based on logic, reasoning, analysis, cognitive and intellectual responses
Satisfies the need for identity, recognition, validation, safety
Offers form and structure, organization, protection, sense of control
Descriptors ego, male-oriented (not meant to be gender-specific as we all need both male and female energies in order to function as a whole person), individuality

Heart-driven Motivation (often mistaken or referred to as soul, still very much part of our decision-making process and so very valuable for bridging between the mind and soul = healthy balance)

Based on emotions, bio-chemically derived/infused, perceptual and intuitive responses
Satisfies the need for balance, harmony, feeling and sensory input
Offers connection, strong sense of rhythm and pulse, bonding
Descriptors  passion, fire, bridge between the other two, female-oriented (again, not to be gender specific, but to recognize the subtle energies), personality

Soul-driven Motivation (if only this was our constant, but, alas, we do live in a material world ;)

Based on presence, essence derived/infused, insightful responses
Satisfies the need for oneness, wholeness, being-ness, authenticity
Offers conscious awareness and expression
Descriptors breath, spirit, life, unity

Do you value one form of motivation over the other? and why? in which do you feel strongest? weakest? what is your go-to?

I used to think that one way was preferred, was better, was right, and now I understand that, for me, depending on the situation, it takes all three blended but balanced and in harmony with my personal truth, my purpose. Whether it pertains to my personal or professional life, I need wholeness in order to be my best self and to make the best decisions for myself.

And when I find myself between a rock and a hard place, and most likely I will (because Life keeps loving me like that and it is sometimes exactly where I need to be),

* I will take a deep breath and first Find peace,
* I will Revisit what I have learned from the past (only briefly as I don’t like to dwell in this),
* I will Observe, be the witness of how I am feeling, take time to understand my motivators
* I will Recall my personal truth, my authentic self (core values)
* I will Weigh my options in the balance of what seems best at the time (so good to know that you can only do what you know to do at the time: “When you know better, do better.” ~Maya Angelou)
* I will not be afraid to Change my decision, if necessary (even if it means eating crow, so-to-speak)
* and THEN I will step boldly in the direction of my dreams.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
Roy Disney

“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.”
Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

And it’s okay to not agree with what I have presented. It’s only here as a help if there is benefit for you at this time in your life. (See, I’m starting to get the hang of not having to please you to feel whole. Yay, me!)