Recently I was speaking to a client about a big choice in her life. She had been offered a better position at her part time job and was also in the final stages of developing a product for her own small business.
Over the past week she noticed that she was really stressed out and wasn’t sure what she should do. Should she accept the position at her job, or should she decline and spend more time working on her own business?
Her choice is one we all have to make from time to time. As you live your life and follow your dreams, opportunities arise that will entice you. This is especially true if you are a talented and passionate person. But what is the right call? Are these diversions worth the distraction or would you be better off following you dreams?
Buckets of Feelings ( And How To Use Them To Make A Big Choice)
This simple technique helps me make a choice between two amazing opportunities.
First, think about the opportunity that has arisen. Imagine yourself investing time and energy into this project. Imagine yourself working hard, making sacrifices, and pouring your life energy into it. As you do this, begin to notice what feelings arise.
Do you feel more confident, happier, and energetic, or do you feel stressed and worn out?
Do you feel the project inspiring you to work on your dreams, or do you feel it drawing attention away from what you really want to do?
Do the people around you seem like amazing resources that support your deep purpose, or do you notice them taxing you, challenging your integrity, and causing you to disconnect from your dreams?
No matter what comes up, simply notice those feelings, perhaps even writing them down as you go. Then, take those feelings and put them in a bucket. All the good and the bad goes in the bucket.
Now take 10 deep breaths. As you do this feel yourself setting this bucket down, letting those feelings be, and coming back to a neutral space.
When you’re ready, being again by imagining investing in the other opportunity. Imagine yourself working hard on this opportunity. Imagine yourself investing your energy and passion into this part of your life. Imagine making sacrifices and pouring your life energy into it. As you do this, begin to notice what feelings arise.
Do you feel excited and happy, or do you feel scared and unsure?
Do you feel ready to kick some serious ass or do you feel concerned that you won’t make it?
Do you notice all the people you will meet who will guide and inspire you, or do you imagine a lonely walk to get to where you want to go?
No matter what you feel, simply notice these feelings and maybe write them down as you go. Then take those feelings and put them in a bucket. All the good, the bad, and the in-between in the bucket.
Then, just like before, take 10 deep breaths and let these feelings go. Feel them inside the bucket as you put that bucket down. Coming back to your spacious open center as you breathe.
Weighing Your Buckets
Then, when you feel centered imagine yourself picking up both the buckets. In one hand, you feel the new opportunity and in the other you what you’ve been working on. Investigate how you feel as you hold each bucket. Does one feel lighter or heavier? Do you feel one taking more energy to hold up? Or do you feel balanced, as if each bucket is creating energy for the other?
Carefully and slowly weigh the buckets with your heart first and foremost. Sure, there are lots of ideas about each bucket, but which bucket is your heart calling you to address? Ask yourself if you can really carry both. Then listen very carefully for what your heart has to say.
If you get an answer, try to trust it. Put the buckets down and make a choice. The truth is you never know where a choice will lead you. But one thing you can know is that a bucket of heavy, yucky feelings is never worth carrying.
Toku is a mindfulness expert, speaker, and coach. He lived for over two years at a Zen monastery and now helps passionate people who are good at what they do, be the best at what they do. This post was originally published on MindFitMove.