“Most decisions are attempts at predicting future outcomes.” An excellent line in the recent book I am reading, Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett, Ph.D. Thought, “Are you done waiting on your emotions to change?”.

I recently resigned from a job of 20 years. I began that job 5 months before I got sober in July in 2001. I had been in debt collections at that point in my life for 6 years. I dreaded going back into the industry, but my daughter was old enough to go into daycare, and we needed the income for our family. I will spare you the whole story, for this post, I am focusing on how long I waited for my emotions to change before I left the company.

In the world of alcoholic recovery, we have a saying “I made a demographic move” and what we are referring to is packing up or bags and moving away for a brand new experience when the current experience is no longer working. Eventually, the realization settles in that the same problems exist at the new location unless WE experience a personal transformation.

When it came to thinking about resigning from my prior employer, it felt uncertain and risky. I did not want to make a demographic move to another company. Was I ready? What would the decision do to my kids? At 20 years of employment, I finally graduated to over 6 week of vacation a year, I had a 401k and a conditional secure routine. Does this sound familiar? “Maybe today, I will enjoy the job. I can focus on X,Y,Z project, I will ask more coworkers how they are doing, I can choose to see the goodness in everyone instead of critiquing their performance.” Or maybe “If I hold out till vacation time, I will come back in a better mood”. Or even better “I should be grateful for my 6-figure income.”

The intrinsic desire to grow could not be met at the company, and I knew it to the bones. I knew the desire for collaborative conversations, inspirational decision making, and unchartered growth opportunities were not likely to transpire…ever. Yet, I kept waiting on my emotions to change to enthusiasm, positivity, joy…and I was waiting for 4 years. So, when they decided to cut my pay and offer a demotion after I returned from a life altering situation medically, emotionally, and physically I told them our paths had come to an end and thanked them for 20 years. The income wasn’t worthy my sanity. My peace.

The catch 22 of self-development, whether emotional, mental, or physical is you know too damn much about motivation and too damn much about personal accountability. When the head tries to talk the heart out of listening to the screaming sirens of dissatisfaction there is a conflict – and it’s a big conflict. I finally decided to embrace the suck I had found myself in. To accept I was in a dysfunctional environment and there was no feeling good and happy about that scenario. Essentially, I quit waiting on the emotions to change and made the decision. There never really is irony, only alignment. Not once have I looked back with fear, regret, or remorse. In fact, it feels like another lifetime; an old me I recognize, but no longer know. When someone asks me how I am doing with everything a calmness is present, a divine nonchalance. A peaceful emotion, that my friend is the only confirmation I need.

For you today, are you waiting on your emotions to change so you can make a life changing decision? How long have you been waiting? How long do you think it will take? What steps have you taken to investigate your experience?

Enjoy the journey while you are investigating, you are worth it!
Susan Denee

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