Over the years I have seen many patients, and most recently the physicians and executives I coach, who are plagued with emotional and physical symptoms. Many of them had been taking care of everyone else except themselves. And many were in stressful relationships with intimate or business partners, children, relatives, their finances, and/or work.
Do you hold onto something that no longer serves you while your health deteriorates? How and when do you leave your comfort zone and make changes for your own survival? If you waited for the ‘perfect time’ to make a hard decision, you’d probably never make the decision.
We may lose an intimate or business partner, a job, friends, and acquaintances; but have to make a decision or our health will suffer. There is no perfect time—you just have to go for it.
This is how you do it. First, choose an area in which you need to make a critical decision but have been procrastinating. Let’s say that you’re not satisfied with your present job and know you should look for another one.
Use your journal, a sheet of paper, or a word document on your computer. Divide the page into three columns, A, B, and C. (I find it helps to put the paper sideways – landscape style.)
In column A, write ‘Must Have’, in column B, write ‘Will Compromise’, and in column C, the heading should be ‘Will Not Accept’.
Here is what I would write in these columns if I were looking for a new job:
Column A – Must Have:
- Adequate pay
- Has to be a full time
- Adequate benefits: health insurance, sick leave, vacation time, retirement plan
- Short commute
- Doing something related to my skills
- Fulfilling work
- Possibility for advancement
Column B – Will Compromise:
- Longer commute
- Lesser pay
- Learning new skills
Column C – Will Not Accept:
- A part-time job
- Inadequate benefits
- Unhealthy environment
- Not using my skills
- Doing something that would be harmful to mankind or the environment.
Evaluating and writing down desirable and unacceptable criteria will give you more clarity and control, and will reduce stress over making an important decision to change any area of your life. Give it a try.