The Art of Unpopular Decisions: How to Honor Your Values With Grace & Style
Confession...I've never felt like I fit into a normal "mode." What I mean is that, I've always felt like I tend to do things outside the lines - everyone else goes right, I want to go left. I definitely don't confess this in favor of some special light shining down on me that sets me apart.
However, this light does exist, but I think it shines on all of us.
Believe it or not, each person has such a unique blend of skills, abilities, strengths and experiences, that no two are alike.
This is power you hold perhaps you haven't recognized.
For me personally, I've never been able to run away from this. From the time I was young, it has seemed that situation after situation has called me for me to be resilient in knowing and recognizing that I wasn't like others in the room - and I don't necessarily mean in a racial sense.
I would just notice a natural inclination to want to do the opposite of what others were doing. And for years, I never understood why. I mean, who in their right mind would actually want to bring attention to themselves purposely - especially an introvert like me?
Some of it has come into focus and made immense sense to me since then. For example, I discovered in an important assessment I took for people building brands, that I have a high innovation value. This means I'm naturally wired to love innovating! Who knew?
I took another assessment called the CVI that revealed my unique mix as being that of an Innovator-Builder. Again, all made sense and I was starting to see a trend.
Then I discovered that, as an INFJ on the Meyer's Briggs Typing Indicator, one of my natural inclinations is to like unusual approaches.
As I would say to my girls in Urban slang, "I'm done!" lol... (That means I've basically seen all I need to see to make sense of the quality).
Friends, there is great power & wealth (not in the monetary sense, but in the personal & spiritual sense) in knowing and discovering all of who we are at a core level. This is the reason I created In My Skin, opening in a few months. I want you to have this knowledge about yourself, but I know it can be overwhelming to do on your own. I will walk you through the system I used every step of the way that will reveal exactly what you need to know about yourself. Then, we'll take it a step further to look at your expression & communication as a result of what we know.
Making Unpopular Decisions
As a result of knowing all of these things about myself, I was able to sit and introspect on past situation after situation where I made decisions that weren't popular, were different, or even got me in trouble!
Knowledge ispower, but it's also responsibility. If we ignore the responsibility part, it just stays knowledge. If we assimilate it into our current self and experience, it becomes wisdom. Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain and/or knowledge applied.
There's actually a biblical scripture I love that says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God..."
That's what I wanted when I started thinking about the decisions I was making - wisdom. I wanted to do something with the knowledge I had gained about my need/desire to do things different all the time.
If you're reading this, you likely struggle with one of two things:
Making decisions you know you need to make for your own personal well-being OR Not knowing which decisions are the right ones to make in the first place
In both cases, decision-making seems like something that is a pain point for you or needs some sort of concerted effort to accomplish with any sort of peace.
Making Popular Decisions
I know this feeling, because I spent years making "popular" decisions. "Tamisha, we're doing this." "Tamisha, we're going here." There wasn't a whole lot of asking in some of the friendships & relationships I had. All I really knew was succumbing & obeying.
And if there was asking, I felt coerced to do what everyone else wanted to do or I would miss out.
Ever heard of "FOMO" syndrome? It's the fear of missing out. I no longer have it, but I used to. It can be overcome. It takes time and personal growth to accomplish.
If you struggle with FOMO, keep the faith. We can get you there, but it's going to take some time.
Typically, popular decisions that go against your truest desires are made out of FOMO, but other times, it's just downright peer pressure. You don't want to be labeled as the 'party pooper' or the 'boring' one in the room. You certainly don't want to hear all the stories later about what happened, so you just continue with the comfort of saying yes when you want to say no.
People-pleasing is an addiction.
And it's twice as hard to break as it is to create, but it can be done. After you do it a couple times, you start to really feel good. It's just like working out. Nois a muscle.
Unpopular Decision-Making Strategies
We all pretty much know the difference between unpopular and popular decisions in our lives. We know when something's coming up that's going to be a struggle to say no to or we don't want to be involved in that everyone else and their dog is going to want us to say yes to.
So how do I myself think through those times and what strategies do I use that have allowed me to overcome FOMO, social pressures, peer pressure, or the feeling that I'm somehow the boring one if I'm not involved?
I want to share some of those strategies/thought processes with you today...
1. Ask how much you're really going to miss
A lot of the time when I'm invited to something, I know for sure I'm not going to be missing a dang thing if I don't go. And anything I miss, I'll be glad I did. In those situations, I almost always say no. If I genuinely feel like I will deeply regret not going, I will sometimes say yes, even if it's to get me out of my comfort zone. As an introvert, I'm responsible to sometimes do that or I'll never grow. And I know about myself and my nature that saying no is my natural inclination since I love and crave alone time.
You may or not be introverted, but regardless, this question is relevant. Especially if you have FOMO.
2. Start walking in your own personal power
I teach this concept in much more detail in my new eCourse collection, Assurance, but when you really start learning to operate within your own personal power, whoa! You will feel a shift in your self-respect you've never known. This is where the audacity comes from to say when you genuinely don't like something, do love something, or don't care for something - with no apologies. It's also the birthplace of genuine decision-making. Ask things like, "does this honor my time wisely, do I feel good about this event/endeavor, does this go against my own personal values or spiritual grounding, etc." If the answer to any of those is "no", honor your core every time and your personal power is going to increase. Like the no muscle, it is cultivated through working it out.
The more you honor your core, the more it becomes second nature to do so.
3. Realize how many other people are probably going out of peer pressure
SO many people don't apply the principles I named above, so they're constantly going and doing things they don't want to do. Think about this for a moment. If 10 people are going to a party, and you know for sure 5 of them told you they didn't want to be there, but only went because "so and so" invited them, that means about 1/2 of the people there are actually going to be present and enjoying themselves fully. The rest of the people there are going to be on their phones the entire time, texting someone who isn't there, or on Facebook and in and out of conversations.
How much are you really missing there? I want you to start evaluating these situations - they're happening all around you.
These are the types of scenarios you always end up going to where you wish you were home in your pajamas. I can guarantee it.
The above are really great strategies when we're talking about being invited somewhere or events. However, sometimes you just need to make a plain ole' adult decision about something, and you're already going over and over the options and what people are going to think in your head. Here's some examples:
You want to start a business You want to re-brand a business or do something else You want to go back to school You want a divorce You want to move to a different city You want to foster a child or adopt You want to travel to a foreign country alone You want to invest a large amount of money into something for which you're unsure of the ROI You want to go into the military You want to get involved in politics
These are all decisions people make that are considered "unpopular" in the eyes of someone. There are a million more I didn't name.
The bestway I know how to have you make the best decision with grace & style is to write down the answers to these key questions:
1. Why is the decision you're wanting to make considered "unpopular"? 2. Does the answer you just wrote down contain the names of someone else, coupled with their opinion? 3. If yes to #2, how much do you respect that person's opinion and what is their experience with your decision? At this point, you can weigh if it should even be considered or not. 4. By the way, did you ask for their opinion or did they just offer it? Did you already have your mind made up before they offered their opinion? Consider these answers and answer honestly. 5. If your decision is unpopular for some other reason you've identified (outside of personal opinions), write down all the reasons it's unpopular (in your mind).
Finally, consider pros and cons to your own personal life of whatever the decision is. You'll know what to do.
See - too often, we jump to that step I just named. It's pros vs. cons. Bad vs. good. There's no introspection process to even start at the root - why am I even labeling this as an unpopular decision? Often, we completely skip the process of questioning our own thought - we go directly to the outcomes. This is exactly why we make decisions too quickly, blame others for their outcomes, and regret them later. In other words, maybe the decision isn't even unpopular to warrant the stress over it!
Self-expression and making any kind of decisions - especially unpopular ones has to start with self-awareness.
All decisions are actions we take that communicate our values. Everything you're choosing is showing people who you are and teaching them how to treat you.
That said, I'd love to know if there's a decision you've made you knew was unpopular, but you made it anyway and also, if you have a decision to make - what can you take away from this post today that you hope will help your process?
Luxurious convos always transpire in the comments. I'll be there as always, and thank you so much for reading and being here.