As published in the Express Woman today 13 2 2011 as part of the Women In Leadership Series with Giselle Hudson and Dr. Marcia Reynolds. Look out for upcoming information on the Event of the Year “A World of Possibilities™ just for women in June 2011. Join the community
All of us have to answer this question over and over many times in our lives. Should I go…
- …back to school?
- …out on my own and start a business?
- …ahead and leave the relationship after 15 years?
- …to that party even though it’s not really my kind of thing?
It’s usually when we come to the familiar fork in the road that many of us stay at the fork, immobile, unable to take another step. Our journey resembles this riddle: A hiker comes to a fork in the road and doesn’t know which way to go to reach his destination. There are two men at the fork, one of whom always tells the truth while the other always lies. The hiker doesn’t know which is which, though. He may ask one of the men only one question to find his way. Which man does he ask, and what is the question?
We often create damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenarios that keep us stuck. The riddles are unsolvable and the weight of our confusion ensures that we really stay put. What keeps us anchored is fear.
Perhaps the real question you should be asking is “If I go…” and begin visualizing the possibilities. Think of yourself as a tourist. Don’t just go with your camera to take pictures. Talk with people who have done what you’re figuring you ‘should’ do. Don’t go for the packaged deal either. This is a trip you need to take by yourself.
Familiarity can be reassuring – as you travel – but try to mix it up a bit. Don’t ‘buy’ all of your needs from one source. Take at least one off-the-beaten-track destination then consider collecting and posting photos and perceptions of your trip.
Although I said that you’re going to take the trip by yourself, fear will be right by your side. But you see this is the thing. Whenever you get to a fork, you allow fear to keep you right where you are. What you need to start doing is befriending fear. At the very least, acknowledge fear’s presence. Don’t run away, lose yourself in more work, or busy yourself with more responsibilities. Look at fear and say basically “I’m seeing you and it’s OK. No need to hide. Come on out and stand with me at yet another fork as I decide what I’m going to do. I know you are trying to hold me back for my own good but I’m going to explore one of these avenues. Chances are you’ll be right by my side as I do, and that’s ok.”
And now for the answer to the riddle: Either man should be asked the following question: “If I were to ask you if this is the way I should go, would you say yes?” While asking the question, the hiker should be pointing at either of the directions going from the fork.
When we get to our fork, we may research and glean answers from others but no one can decide for us. We must decide for ourselves. Marianne Williamson shares a comforting thought that the Universe ALWAYS course corrects. It means that even if you do choose the ‘wrong’ path, you will be guided back to the path you should be on. The most important think you need to do is to move – to act.
If befriending fear is too ‘woo woo’ for you then you may want to take this suggestion from Perry Marshall. He says: “One day I realized: Fear is a bad habit. It can be conquered, the same way you conquer any other bad habit. You replace it with something better. And that, my friend, is one of the greatest truths you can ever discover: Do what you fear and you control fear.”
I don’t know what you fear right now. Whatever it is it is silently holding you back from the life you secretly desire. Whatever it is, turn and face it. Grab that thing by the roots, pull it out and seize your fork! Well you know what I mean – Seize the day!