Owning Our Decisions

What happens when part of you wants to do one thing and part wants to do another? Let’s look at this kind of conflict.

When two desires of similar power come into conflict, a great deal of inner turmoil and stress can result. Here is an example from a young parent, who wrote, “I want to go back to night school and get my degree, but I also want to spend as much time as possible with my kids while they’re little. I just don’t know what to do.”

Now, it won’t help if someone else solves this problem. That is putting accountability onto someone else’s shoulders. For a personal sense of efficacy and personal power, this individual needs to work this out. This person needs to “own” and be accountable for whatever decision is made. In the same way, organizations mulling over which direction to take for the future need to “own” both the decision-making process as well as be accountable for the decisions actually being made.

Also, there is something equally important. Whatever this parent decides, the commitment needs to be made as fully as possible, without regrets, for as long as it takes. The decision needs to be owned. If it is to go to school, causing guilt and the wish to be home the whole time, personal misery sets in and the kids will pick up on it. If the decision is to stay home until the kids are older, and the decision is resented and seen as a “have-to,” anger and bitterness will find their way to the surface one way or another. In the same manner, organizations that don’t fully commit to the decisions being made find themselves stuck, going nowhere, and totally frustrated with a process that doesn’t seem to be working.

Sometimes professional help is needed to sort out these dilemmas, because there are challenges with the apparent choices. Just make sure it’s the kind that helps uncover blind spots and old beliefs that keep us stuck, and empowers all of us to make and own our decisions.