I recently received an email from a friend updating me about a decision she had made about whether to continue participating in a particular activity. Her email outlined her thought process and decision and then she added –
“As I was going through my thought process, what also popped into my head was – what would Mindy have said to think about? And I thought, she would have asked questions and allowed me to come to the same conclusion that it was nice to get the offer, but the other reasons should override my desire to be agreeable.”
My friend also suggested it might be a good topic for a blog and that got me thinking. Here was a situation in which a person went through an internally-driven thought process, and then connected that process to an external resource. In turn, her suggestion to create a blog post about the topic, made her an external resource for me – which led to my own internal thought process. Voila – Two decisions and a blog! It was interesting to look at this interplay between internal and external reference points and resources in a fresh way.
Ultimately, we need to take decisions through our own internal thought process and trust our inner senses. At the same time, it is important to be open to the perspectives and opinions of others. Those perspectives provide us with feedback and new ways to look at things that we may not have considered.
A few years ago, I attended an interesting presentation given by Dr. Holly Sullenger (https://drhollyspeaks.com) about creating your Internal Board of Directors. It’s a presentation about identifying individuals in your life who can support you by taking on different roles, and the topic has stayed with me all this time. I highly recommend it.
Some of the roles mentioned were familiar to me, including “mentor, expert, and accountability master”. However, when we went through the exercise of identifying the people in our lives who held each role, two things became very clear:
#1 I had been focused mostly on expertise (i.e. marketing, virtual assistant) and less on individuals who could hold different perspectives (i.e. strategist, influencer).
#2 I had far too many “devil’s advocates” getting me caught up in why things wouldn’t work rather than providing enhancing points of view.
This mental exercise was a great reminder of the importance of ensuring we have diverse external references to provide new insights, help us when we are unclear or stuck, and support us in ways that complement our areas of expertise. At the same time, it is equally important to maintain our own internal compass and decide in alignment with our values and goals. The concept is similar to a blog I wrote back in 2018 about having an inner team – https://systemsofchange.com/flow-and-alignment-teamwork-within-yourself/.
Consider this…If you have a goal you are working towards or a decision to make, which inner team members do you align with to work towards that outcome? Do you have a naysayer within you who says it cannot be done or a cheerleader supporting you all the way? What about the part of you who celebrates your accomplishment of milestones or the inner team member who focuses only on what is not yet done? Do you need an inner team member who is creative or analytical; persistent or holds you accountable? Just like a work team has team members with different perspectives, our internal team needs different reference points and perspectives too.
In the end, it is typically a combination of our own internal reference, along with perspective coming from an external viewpoint that come together to influence our final decisions and actions. If you find that you are stuck on what others think and dismissing your own wisdom or conversely think you have all the answers and no new perspectives can assist, please contact me for a complimentary coaching conversation to explore how transformational coaching can support you in finding a balance.
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