We are all faced with challenges in life. We all come to crossroads and wonder which way to go. Recently our younger daughter Erica, who is in a PhD program for clinical psychology, was faced with the decision of where she wanted to do her clinical hours for next year. It’s a big process, but the short version of it is students choose up to 10 facilities that include clinics and hospitals to fulfill hours; then they rank their choices in order, from one to 10, and the facilities do the same.
The competition is fierce. Erica knew she wanted this particular hospital to be her first choice for the experience and opportunity she would have, but she was hesitant to rank it first for a variety of reasons. She felt she didn’t have enough experience; she was a third-year student, and only fourth-year students were accepted into this program; it was a long drive — an hour normally, plus traffic each way; there was the price of gas and toll bridges, etc.
Anyone who knows me or has been reading my column knows I have a different way of looking at things. I look at the big picture. So when Erica asked me how she should rank her choices, I said “You already know what you want your first choice to be. Don’t let the drive, the price of a toll, or your feeling of not having enough experience keep you from ranking what you know is your first choice.”
So many times I see people who, when standing at a crossroads, choose the so-called “safe choice” instead of following their instincts or passion. They are afraid to make a mistake. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big risk-taker by nature. I weigh my choices carefully. I put a
lot of thought into each decision I make, but I also don’t let fear of failure be my guide. Instead, I use my gut and intuition.
Even when I make the right choice, there are mistakes along the way. Life’s not perfect; it’s messy like they say in the paper towel commercial. For me, I know I want to follow my intuition and take that chance when I think it’s worth it, more than passing it by. I don’t want to look back and say, “Gee, I wish I would have done that.”
What about you? Have you given thought to how you make your decisions when you are at a crossroads and have to choose one path? Do you let doubt be your guide in your decision-making, or do you stick to your intuition? Were you more adventurous earlier on in your life, and are you more cautious now? Or is it the other way around? Even being more aware of the power you have within yourself can make a big difference.
As for Erica, in case you were wondering, she did let go of her doubt and fear and chose the hospital as her first choice. And guess what? They chose her as their first choice too.