“Life is a sum of all your choices” ~Albert Camus
We are faced with decisions all day, every day. The choices we make profoundly affect the direction, quality, and overall essence of our lives. As leaders, the decisions we make also have the ability to profoundly affect other people’s lives.
In the 11 years I have served as the figurative “point of the Treasures spear,” I have made some great decisions, some poor ones, and many in between. Here are a few of the things I have learned along the way…
Time is Your Friend
My good friend, Cody Abercrombie often says, “Time is Your Friend.” (On a side note, I believe that one of the best decisions he has made was to ask my best friend, Ashley Abercrombie, to be his wife 🙂 )
I agree with Cody.
When it comes to decision-making, time is our friend. A good decision today is still a good decision tomorrow.
Obviously there are times when a decision is time sensitive, but when it comes to many of the major decisions we make in life and in leadership, we would do well to let our options simmer before making a final call. For those of us that are drivers by nature, this can be challenging. We are tempted to make a choice and move forward when sometimes, the best thing we can do is wait.
Embrace the Gray
I am, by nature, a “black and white” kind of person. I have some pretty strong feelings about right and wrong, just and unjust. When I am presented with an issue or situation, I am compelled to quickly figure out where I stand.
I have learned, the hard way might I add, that there are many times when we need to learn to embrace the gray. There are times where we don’t have enough information and context to choose black and white. There are times when we need to be able to sit in the uncomfortable space in between. And sometimes, more times than I like, in fact, there is no black and white… only gray.
The gray can be an awkward place to be, but learning to embrace it is key to good decision-making.
“Try On” Your Choices
I had a friend that was making a huge decision about a career change. Someone gave her some brilliant advice. They encouraged her to “try on her choices” before making a final decision.
Essentially, “trying on” a choice, means imagining in your heart and mind that you have definitively made a certain decision. Sit with it. Explore what it would be like. Do you have peace? Where will that decision potentially lead you? Who will be impacted? How does it feel?
Then, make the opposite choice in your heart and mind and allow yourself to explore what that would be like.
In much the same way that you try on clothes at the store before buying them, “trying on” choices gives you a chance to see how they feel before actually committing to one of them.
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
I have discovered that getting input is a great practice in good decision-making.
Here are some different places I look to for input:
The Word of God
In every major decision I make, I look to the word of God. If one of the options I am exploring would somehow cause me to compromise in my values, I take it off of the table. Many times, however, we are faced with decisions where there is no clear Biblical mandate. In these instances, I look for input from other people.
An Inner Circle
Over the past several years, I have discovered the rich gift that deep, authentic friendship can be. I have invested time in building some amazing relationships with a few women I am committed to sharing life with. They are women of great character who are walking in pursuit of God’s best and know how to laugh along the way. I am committed to transparency with them, which is possible because they are safe people.
Because we are in the practice of sharing life together, they are a natural part of the decisions I make. I know they care for me and have eyes for my life, so I remain open to their input when it comes to the choices I make big and small. They are some of the first people I call on when I am sifting through options and trying to make a decision.
There are many times, when our friends don’t have the tools to give us advice in a certain situation. For example, you may find yourself deep in debt and looking for a way out. Unless one of your friends has navigated this themselves, or is a financial advisor, chances are, you are going to have to find some other input for the information you need.
Or perhaps you are working through some deep pain and trauma from your past. Your friends might be able to offer an empathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on, but they may not have the expertise to help you overcome what you are facing.
Here are some of the places we can look to for wise counsel:
- The Holy Spirit-
- We can confidently ask for direction and guidance from the Holy Spirit, trusting that He will be faithful to respond.
- A mentor or Spiritual leader
- A Therapist or professional counselor
- A book relevant to your circumstances
The choices we make affect the course of our life. Let’s make choices that take us where we want to go!
Harmony Dust is the founder and executive director of Treasures, an outreach and support group for women in the commercial sex industry and victims of trafficking. To date, she has trained outreach leaders that have gone on to establish more than 70 sex industry outreaches throughout the globe. She has been featured in various media sources, including Glamour Magazine, The Dr. Drew Show, and The Tyra Banks Show. Her memoir, Scars & Stilettos, was published by Lion Hudson. Harmony Dust, MSW