I want to talk about the phenomenon known, rather comically yet inexplicably, as “having egg on your face.” (Where did that come from? Why egg, particularly? Isn’t having spinach in the teeth even worse? No matter…it’s just a visual way to represent a feeling of embarrassment. And in particular, for this post, feeling embarrassed about changing your mind.) It’s an unappealing image, to be sure, which is why we try hard to avoid it. But like so many things we seek to avoid, our fear of it is usually far more crippling than the actual experience.
I’m sitting with a little egg on my face right now. And I’m daring to write a blog post even so.
Here’s what it’s all about. Depending on how frequently you read my newsletters, you may recall that, in late August and early September, I began enthusiastically promoting a new class on how to heal our relationship with money and open to greater abundance. It was going to start in October of this year, which would be…right about now.
It won’t be starting in October.
And you may also remember, if you’ve been on my mailing list for a while, that earlier this year I told you with great excitement about a program I’d be participating in that would qualify me as a certified “Calling In The One” coach, and I’d be enrolling clients in this new coaching program in the fall.
That’s not happening, either. I cancelled my registration in the training class and got my money back.
I wasn’t going to call these turnarounds to your attention. After all, why wave the flag of my fickle-mindedness right in your face? Chances are you didn’t even see those notices or, if you did, you promptly forgot them. Not that I’m thrilled with the idea of my newsletters and classes being so easily forgotten…but somehow that thought seemed preferable to the one that kept nudging me to ‘fess up and tell you the whole story.
It’s a short story, really. And here it is: I started moving forward with both of those plans, and then I changed my mind.
And here’s the rest of the story: changing my mind was liberating! In both cases the choice to pause, reconsider and then take a different direction ushered in a fresh wave of creative energy. I became acutely aware of how I had depleted myself with a stultifying commitment to “make something happen” just because I’d said I would, even though my inner voice was calling me to slow down and reconsider.
Of course, it would have been easier to change my mind if I hadn’t made public my original commitments. After all, I’d made the commitments not only to myself, but to you. I had a responsibility to follow through! Or so my smaller self would have me believe. But my Larger Self has a different view on things like commitment and responsibility. She helped me remember that my primary responsibility is to the truth as I see it and know it in each moment. And my commitment to you is one of openness, honesty and authenticity.
She also reminded me to lighten up. Clearly the world hasn’t come to an end because I’ve changed my mind. Even my own world is still going! Not to mention the fact that changing my mind has given me some juicy material for a new blog post.
So here’s the juice: it’s okay to change your mind. Really, really okay.
But let me very clear that when I say it’s okay to change your mind, I’m not saying it’s okay to whittle yourself down to a nubbin with constant second-guessing, with relentless back-and-forthing that prevents you from making any decision. It’s not about changing your mind a million times before you finally give up in exhaustion and then just take the path of least resistance. (Or sit in paralysis, not taking any path at all.)
It’s actually – paradoxically – about going ahead and making a decision and then “making it right,” as they say…again and again and again. I know, I appear to be contradicting myself here, don’t I? After all, making a decision and “making it right” seems like the very thing I did that got me in trouble: I made a decision and then stuck to it, only to discover it wasn’t quite right for me.
But let’s look a little closer. You might think that “Make a decision, then make it right” means to make a choice and then put your blinders and ear muffs on so you can’t see or hear anything that might cause you to stray from your choice. You might think it’s all about one-pointed focus and relentless inner cheerleading to keep yourself moving. And sometimes it can mean that.
Yet I’ve rediscovered, as I’ve given myself permission to change my mind about things that are really significant to my work and my business, that the “making it right” piece of that advice is really about making yourself right – or perhaps more bluntly, not making yourself wrong. It’s about not turning a changed mind into an opportunity to beat yourself up.
It’s about making yourself all right with your self, iffy choices and all.
Which is why we need the “again and again and again” piece. Life is an endless series of choices, and we can’t figure them all out in our heads before we take the first step! We have to step, choose, step, choose, pause, choose, turn left, choose, take a nap, choose, choose not to choose, choose, call a friend, choose…
Now of course, we owe it to ourselves to learn how to listen deeply to our inner guidance, so that our choices come more and more often from the place within us that always has our best interests at heart. That is the essence of good choice-making, but it’s a subject for another time. Still, let me emphasize one thing right here about listening to inner guidance: we have to keep listening, because this world, and our lives, are fluid and ever-changing. There are a lot of moving parts! Something that is right, right now, may be a little “off” a month from now. Time to listen in and choose again.
That’s why I’m a big fan of setting intentions rather than specific goals. (Not that goals can’t be helpful…another good subject for a future post!) Intentions provide what I call the “resonant frequency” we’re listening for. When I considered whether to change course with the certification program and the money class, I checked in with my intentions to stand in my genuine passion and talent as I serve my clients, and to do work I truly love. Holding those clear intentions helped me recognize that moving forward, in the exact manner and timetable I’d set for myself, would shift me out of alignment with those intentions.
So the choices were, ultimately, clear.
And I continue to listen, to choose and step and pause, then choose again. (Which includes choosing a different timetable for some things. That money class is still in the pipeline!) I’m choosing to choose, or choosing not to choose, in any given moment – and I’m practicing “making that right” each step of the way, which means I’m learning to find what’s good and right in each choice I make, even if the only “right” I can find is that I rediscovered something important for me to take to heart at a deeper level.
I’m reminding myself, as I so often remind clients, that I really can’t make a mistake; no choice is ever final. The universe is endlessly fluid and flowing with countless options. So go ahead – set your intentions, listen to your heart of hearts, then choose. And if your choice starts feeling like it doesn’t really fit…change your mind. Choose again. And congratulate yourself for having the wisdom and courage and humor to do it.