One of the challenges caretakers and other giving-focused individuals have is knowing their own mind and desires. Because most of their daily decisions are made for the good of others, caretakers often lose touch with what they want for their life, their job, or sometimes their next meals. Our knee-jerk reaction is to choose what we know will benefit others. Over time focusing on the needs of others pushes our wants, needs and desires to the wayside. Eventually many of use lose connection to our heart and our purpose.
Many self-sacrificing individuals are reactionary. They are always caring for others, focusing on others and reacting based on the needs of others. Instead of choosing based on their own motivations, these individuals select based on the good of the whole. When it comes time to make a major life decision, they are stuck. Often times they have never considered their own needs. This is foreign territory for them because they have never viewed the world from their own desires. Or they have put their needs aside for so long to care for others that they have lost track of their dreams. Instead of seeing opportunities and options, they feel frustrated and unclear.
This is not just a challenge for caretakers. Sometimes we have a hard time defining what we want because we didn’t know it existed. Maybe the best career for us is one that we have never heard of before. How could that be in our selection set if we didn’t even know it was an option? Other times we know what we want but because we don’t believe we can have it, we unconsciously do not let it come to the surface. Knowing where you want to go is the first step to getting there. But if you can’t define what you want, it is hard to move forward.
One way to begin to define what we want in life or our next job is to break it down into mini decisions. Think of it like going to an eye doctor. The doctor does not ask you what prescription you want, but instead she shows you option one and option two then asks you what is better. Next option three and four and asks you to choose which one is better. Small choice by small choice you finally define and solidify the right prescription for you. The same goes for major decisions in our lives.
Instead of trying to see an overview of the life we want, start by asking small simple questions. What feels better – living in the country or in the city? Do you want to be in an office with others or do you prefer to work by yourself at home? Do you want to be creating or analyzing? Are you motivated by money or by results? Do you want to be a contributor or a leader? Do you want to work with concepts or tangible challenges? Question by question, piece by piece, ask yourself questions then stitch your answers together until you are able to see the whole picture.
Is there a major decision you need to make? Are you having a hard time seeing the big picture? Break it down to smaller decisions steps that you can make. Then add all the decisions together and see what bigger picture is represents.