Courageous Choices

courageous
I’m tired. I’m finally ready to admit it. I’ve been really busy personally and professionally, and by the time the Jewish High HolyDays rolled around earlier this month, I could not shake the grumpiness and fatigue I had been battling for a while.
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In my case, I know it’s because I’ve been too busy, with too many things that feel important all at once. This has built up a lot of pressure inside, including irritability resulting in a short fuse, and the aforementioned fatigue.  I would like to say that I crossed a threshold over at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Turning the page on a calendar is, after all, a great time to shed old burdens and transition into new phases.
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I didn’t.
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I’ll admit that when asked to meditate silently on where we wanted to lean in for the coming year, my tiny inner voice offered up “courage.” I sensed this was relevant for me, but I wasn’t completely sure the extent of its importance. So I took it on faith as significant and took note of it (figuratively and literally).
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After the holiday wrapped, I got right back to the busy-ness of my life and business. Again, there was the sprint leading up to a holiday–Yom Kippur this time–and again, I tried to cram too much into shortened weeks, feeling frazzled and reverberating at a too intense level. In fact, I flat out ignored an impulse I had to take more time off than I originally planned, to really slow down and ease into time with family and marking another holiday.
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But early on Yom Kippur morning, I had a moment. The main event service hadn’t even begun! So craving of more stillness, I went early to a “warm-up” service, during which we were asked what top three things we were grateful for and here’s what bubbled up for me: “Choices”. And like a lightning bolt to my heart, I realized I had far more control over this frazzled, frantic, fed-up, and fatigued state I have found myself in than I cared to admit. And also, lightning bolt #2: I am privileged to have so much choice, I know that not everyone has as many options as I do. This gutted me, and it was tempting to go down into a shame cycle around it all.
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I don’t traffic in shame, so instead of beating myself up, I’m choosing to get honest about it all with myself and others. In many ways, my privilege and having more options than others drives both me and my choice to do more, but this clearly hasn’t served me, or frankly anyone. I’ve said “yes” too often. And like I am often known to point out, every “yes” is an automatic “no” to something else. Often the something else’s are of higher importance and priority, but end up crammed into the cracks as a result of over-yes-ing. For me, it’s meant I’ve spread myself too thin and resentment has built up. It’s on me to be better, to be more courageous in setting limits, to prioritize what and who really gets my time and attention. To make thoughtful intentional choices that are in line with my values and goals, and to bravely fight my impulse to overextend. To walk my talk. As Brene Brown says, “Choose discomfort over resentment.”
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How are your choices and priorities looking and feeling? If you’re like me, and your choice-making has led you to a pretty uncomfortable place, take a closer look at where you could shift how you make decisions from a position of disempowerment to a posture of courageousness. Even, and perhaps especially, small ones. Just this mindset shift alone, for me, has already been a game-changer.
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