Google says that Discernment means, “the ability to judge well”. You can probably stop the blog right here. That’s it. This is the post (smile).
I struggle with knowing whether I am making the right decision. It’s tough with all the options we are presented with. A prime example is my recent re-brand of CWC. I am so proud to have learned what I have as a business owner. It took a while for me to decide the direction I wanted to go, what services I have to offer, etc. What I know now is lightyears past what I knew a year ago! The gag is: I still have so much I’m learning from one second to the next. It seems to be a never-ending journey.
The questions swarm in my head: How much should I charge for this offer? What does this business coach say I should do about managing my email list? How often should I post? What content is most important AND entertaining? Whew! This is why I am so adamant about not using my phone during the weekend; if my family is all home, I have no need to engage with anyone else during that time. (I may even hide from them!).
In all seriousness, I want to get back to this “ability to judge well”. What does this even mean and how do we know we are making the right decisions? Per usual, I have a list of ideas. These are only according to me. So feel free to chime in with your comments.
The way I see it, we know we are “judging well” if…
1. Our decisions line up with our values
I’ll say this time and again: stay on top of knowing your moral compass! If you don’t know what you stand for, it will be more difficult making decisions that make sense. Our choices are reflections of what we believe in. So, when discerning things like which job to take, what assignment to complete next, which friend to engage with (or decide to cut the person off completely), ask whether that lines up with what you stand for. Think about whether this will contribute to your peace. That’s all.
2. We have bounced this off a trusted source (IE God, a safe friend, etc.)
I am a firm believer in having a tribe. We can certainly use the voice of someone we trust. Please consider your source. Do they have experience with the same issue you’re having? Have they resolved it in a way that was healthy? Do they like you and want you to succeed? Ok, good. These are the people I’m talking about. It’s good judgment in itself to have them in your corner. It means you have enough sense to know you can’t do this alone and that you shouldn’t have to. Can you recall saying you don’t like group projects? Ha! I have those moments, usually when they don’t meet the criteria I listed for you above. My point here is that something as simple as connecting with like minded people (and sometimes those of a different school of thought) can take you to places you never thought you could, all because you chose to delegate your brainstorming to another.
3. There is still a little doubt.
Ok, hear me out. I know this may sound strange. Consider this: what good is a new venture based on this decision you made if you don’t have room to grow? It’s been said that if it came easy, it’s likely not worth it, the “it” being the thing you worked to obtain in the first place. I can’t tell you how many times I wished my journey as a professional was simple. I’d say, “I just want to do therapy and be done!”. Holler if you hear me about the frustration of keeping up with notes and other parts of the chart per client, not to mention the community partnerships we nurture to ensure our clients get everything they need. On the flip side, without the knowledge of these resources, I wouldn’t be able to direct a stressed out, single mother who works 12 hour shifts to find assistance for feeding and clothing her family. Heck! When I needed food stamps last year, I wouldn’t know where to start. My point is, there is so much to learn when taking the road less travelled, AKA the hard work. I am so thankful that I was given constructive criticism about what to wear to an office and how to present myself when I got my first executive assistant role. This goes back to having a trusted village. When I took the advice in, I would consider it for the next thing. If there was ever doubt, it was a good sign that I could do something a little better. I could call on the network I built and figure out how to present my best self. Thus, making the decision with a teeny bit of insecurity keeps me humble and allows me to have wiggle room to carry out my ministry. Now that’s how you really use anxiety to your advantage!
I don’t think we’ll ever have complete peace about things. I’d say, if you're at a good 85% or above when measuring your decision’s health, you’re in a good space. We can all benefit from knowing we can be doing better, but without the self-debilitating thoughts of insecurity. Discernment is an ongoing process. This skill set, if you will, also needs to be nurtured and consistently checked on. “How,” you ask? I’ll let you answer.
Comment below with your thoughts on the matter. What do we need to make sure we are monitoring our discernment meter?