Tough Decisions with No Easy Choices

“Did you really give your sister a kidney, or did you make up that story to add punch to your keynotes?” Whenever I get that question my answer has two parts. “Yes, I did give my sister a kidney 46 years ago, and we’re both doing great. And do you really think I would risk my reputation with clients and audiences by making up such a story?” (Talk about bad karma!)

I didn’t share that story for many years because I didn’t want it to set me apart from the audience, until I finally realized how it actually connects us in a powerful way. It’s not a story about being a hero. It’s about making tough decisions when none of your choices are easy. I did have two choices: Yes or No. So I did what I thought was the right thing to do. And that’s really all any of us can do.

Although I’ve spoken to thousands of people in audiences across the US, I’ve met only five who came up afterward to tell me their story. They had donated or received a kidney, or they knew someone on a transplant waiting list. They thanked me for giving them hope. Since so few people can relate to my experience, why do I share it? Where’s the connection?

As a keynote speaker and retreat leader my job is to encourage, inspire and create changes in attitudes and behaviors. Whether it’s an audience of 20 or 2,000 I know that everyone in the room is searching for something… an idea or insight that will make their lives more fulfilling and less stressful. I also know that my audiences are filled with good and caring people struggling with their own tough decisions about their health, relationships, marriage, career, finances, job security, their parents, their children, their grandchildren, and their future.

We all have to make our share of difficult decisions to get through life. How about you? What tough decisions are you facing right now? Are you waiting for a guarantee that all will go well? Patty and I had no guarantees, but we moved forward with faith and trust. Sometimes that’s all you can do. These questions can help when you’re facing a tough decision:

  1. What needs to happen next?
  2. Who’s stopping me from moving forward?
  3. What’s stopping me?
  4. Who needs to act?
  5. Who needs to get out of the way?
  6. How much longer can I afford to wait until the easy choices come along?

Whether you make a list of pros and cons, talk to a trusted friend or talk to yourself, answering these questions can provide the clarity you need to take action, move forward and do what’s right for you. That’s what taking care of YOU is all about!


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