When You Fear Making the “Wrong” Decision

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” ~Pema Chodron

For the past three weeks, I've been trying to decide whether or not to move to Korea for a year. Some days I've completely made up my mind to take the trip. I get excited about teaching myself Korean and spend hours and hours online learning about the culture.

Other days, I'm an emotional wreck, terrified that I'm making the wrong decision.

What if I get homesick? What if I'm supposed to be doing something else? What if I don't like kimchi? What if? What if? What if?

And then there are those days where my mind resists all attempts to make any kind of decision at all. I'm immobilized, unable to push through the debilitating fear.

Being the self-reflective (over-analyzer) type that I am, I decided to dig deep within myself to find the root of this pesky little emotion that has been sabotaging my efforts to move forward, or in any direction, for that matter.

I realized that the issue isn't about being afraid to go to Korea. The real issue is that I have an overall fear of making the “wrong” decisions in my life.

Interestingly enough, I also realized that this brand of fear directly coincides with my decision to live a more purposeful and spiritually centered life.

(Record stops.)

Huh? I embarked upon this journey hoping to find inner peace, bliss, rainbows, and unicorns, and I actually seem to be experiencing more negative emotions than before. Seems counter-intuitive, right?

Not exactly.

What I've been interpreting as an increase in negative emotions can more accurately be described as a greater sensitivity to myself. I'm hearing the messages my mind, body, and spirit are trying to tell me because I've made a conscious decision to listen.

Listening closely to my fears about Korea made me aware of some pretty negative beliefs I held about myself and doubts I had in my abilities. The fear I was avoiding actually turned out to be the one thing that made my decision clear and gave me the courage I needed to prepare myself to go to Korea.

For those of you who may be struggling with your own fears, I'd like to share some lessons I've learned along the way:

Make peace with your emotions.

Emotions, even ones we assign negative value to, (like fear), provide us with valuable information and serve very specific functions. If you can get over the hostile relationship with emotions, they can be highly useful.

Emotions can:

  • let you know what's important to you
  • prompt you to take some action
  • guide you toward an aspect of yourself that needs to be exposed and healed
  • let you know when you're out of balance so that you can bring it back to center

Understand that there are no “wrong” decisions.

It really takes the pressure off if you understand that every experience you have, whether you characterize it as “good” or “bad,” is exactly the experience you need to have at that moment. Some choices may lead to more painful lessons than others, but nothing hurts like living in fear.

When I was trying to decide whether or not to go on my trip, I had a friend who flipped a coin and made me commit to the outcome. Life involves some risk. Flip the coin and see where it leads you.

Intuition can use fear to help you grow.

Fear is often described as a psychological response to a perceived threat. Most scientists agree that when it comes to survival, fear has served an evolutionary purpose. It only makes sense to avoid things that can potentially harm you.

However, many of us have developed fear from negative experiences in our past. We have built a protective fence around our emotional scars, and learned to ward off anybody or anything that triggers an unconscious fear.

Sometimes our intuition guides us toward those things we fear the most so that we can push past them and become stronger as a result. The next time you feel fear, embrace it, examine it, and if guided to do so, move boldly toward it.

Photo by pasotraspaso

About Alana Mbanza

Alana Mbanza is a freelance writer and the author of LoveSick: Learning to Love and Let Go. Even more than a writer, she strives to be an active agent of creation, choosing to see and create life through the lens of love. Visit her website for more information about her freelance writing and coaching services.

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  • Guest

    Alana i wish you all the very best for your trip. It is a tremendous feat to embrace your fear and taking that step. Making a ‘decision’. I have been in the same boat for past few weeks, i had made up my mind to go to the Uk for a year, yet everyday i procrastinate about booking tickets. Its the same question ‘ am i making the right decision’. But i also know if I don’t make any changes, don’t move forward in life one way or the other, it will break me. I hope I find the answer and courage to decide and make the necessary changes…
    Wishing you find what you are looking for. Thank you for sharing.

  • Hi Alana,

    Thanks for the reminder that there are no wrong decisions. Liberating!

    Embracing and leaning into my fear is something I’m consciously working on; really following it to see where it goes. When I accept that there are no wrong decisions, I can stay grounded and not become overwhelmed by my fear.

    I spent a year teaching in Korea too: it was a worthwhile adventure!

    If you’ve got any questions about living/teaching/connecting with folks there, feel free to tweet/email me.

    Have fun!

  • Well written, Alana!

    The biggest hurdle is to “Understand that there are no “wrong” decisions.”. Indeed, there are only choices to make and each one leads you down a separate path. There is no good or bad – there are only opportunities.

    Let go, Alana. It is clear from your writing that your inner self is speaking louder than your fear. Think about the worse outcome and deal with it. I’ve done this through difficult economic times in my family and realized that, if we lost our house, we will still have each other. Believe it or not, we have never come close to losing our house – but it was the fear that kept nagging me until I acknowledged it and moved on.

    You can do it. Your inner self know this to be true.

  • Alana Mbanza

    Thank you! I can totally relate to the procrastination thing. For weeks, I delayed starting the visa process because I felt like once I did, there was “no turning back.” Taking the first step is always the most difficult because it makes it seem “real.” Once you do take the first step though, there is a certain level of peace that comes with taking control and being proactive. I would encourage you to go for it! Book those tickets! ;-D

  • Alana Mbanza


    I really like the phrase “leaning into my fear.” The image I had in my head was trying to walk against a strong wind and struggling. I feel like that’s the natural response we have with fear. We want to resist it and ultimately end up creating more problems for ourselves. On the other hand, “leaning” into it describes a cooperative relationship and a certain degree of surrender. It is very liberating!

    I definitely want to connect and hear about your experiences! Let’s exchange emails via DM on Twitter.

  • Alana Mbanza


    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement.

    As if the decision wasn’t difficult enough already, since originally writing this article, several other opportunities have presented themselves; a consulting position in China and an amazing job right here in Chicago, the city I love. Sigh.

    I know that there are no “wrong” decisions here and each would offer an amazing learning and growing experience. Yet, there is a certain level of fear associated with what I believe other people will think if I don’t decide to go to Korea…especially since I’ve made a public declaration.

    The lesson I’m learning now is not to be afraid of changing my mind and making a different decision. Life is constantly changing, more information is revealed and new opportunities are always being presented.

    Thank you again for your comment!

  • Alana Mbanza

    My apologies guys. The link to my blog in my bio is broken. 

    Check it out at

     I’m pretty terrible with HTML, sorry! 😀


  • You’re most welcome. I’m looking forward to reading about which path you choose to take. Best of luck!

  • Namaste787

    Alana, this is beautiful! This article came in a moment of synchronicity to exactly what I am struggling with! I am trying to decide on a new career path to pursue after quitting my toxic job last month. I am examining (over-thinking!) the possibility of becoming a clinical psychologist after writing it off such a long time ago that I would never be good enough to do so. Now that I have started to challenge that preconceived belief, I am talking myself in and out of pursuing the career path and having some days when I am too afraid to do anything… stuck in a standstill because I am afraid to make the “wrong” decision. Your words spoke directly to me and I wish you all the courage and strength as you choose to listen to your true self 🙂 Thank you!

  • Ana

    Dear Alana,

    Perfect timing! A year ago I moved to the UK to study and unexpectedly found love. In the past three months, I became really insecure about living in a foreign country and panicked to be left alone… My panic was so strong that my ex boyfriend couldn’t take it anymore and left me just before I was returning home for holidays.

    I’ve always been strong when it came to making decisions about my professional career, but this time, fear overwhelmed me because I had to think about issues that I’ve been avoiding all my life: why am I so scared of ‘failing’, or ‘making wrong decisions’. Understanding that the most painful experiences in your life are the ones that make you the strongest and take you to another spiritual level is one of the biggest challenges in many people’s lives. What gives me peace is to make a list of difficult situations I’ve been through, think about the worst possible outcome, and appreciate the real outcome and how I’ve managed to go through it. Not sure if it would help everyone…

    Great post!

  • Rich Lovelock

    Great post, I love Susan Jeffers books around these issues (Feel the Fear, Embracing Uncertainty), they expand a lot on what you say. Good luck with your trip

  • Hi Alana.

    Your reticence has served you remarkably well. From one [hedged] opportunity has sprung multiple opportunities. Now is a good time to lay the options out in front of you and decide upon the path that will bring you the greatest fulfillment. Any decision you make is the right one for you.

    I resonate, as well, with the feeling of paralysis when faced with moving forward. Even though it has sometimes served me well, I will never know if it served me best because the times I didn’t act are not reappearing.

    I think of these quotes when faced with hesitation:
    “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” ~ John A. Shedd and
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

    Que la vaya bien.

    ~ Mark

  • When I see “leaning into my fear” sailing metaphors immediately pop into mind. Particularly in the form of tacking, because that is using the headwind to arrive at the destination. An alternate route is charted while the destination remains the same. Who knows what you will encounter on this new course?

    ~ Mark

  • liasonluv

    Thank you for such a great post. Just wanted to give a piece of encouragement as well. After living in Korea, I loved it. It was so much fun and was so different from the States. And trust me, the kimchi you’ll get used to. Before you know it you’ll be eating it on a regular basis. Korea is a great place with amazing people. Even during the occasional bad moments, it was still a rewarding experience. 

  • Alana Mbanza

    I absolutely love these quotes…so perfectly appropriate! Thanks for sharing and for taking the time to write an insightful, inspirational and poetic comment!

  • What part of Korea were you in?

  • Alana Mbanza

    I’ll have to add those to my summer reading list! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ana,

    Thank you so much for sharing that exercise! It definitely helps to imagine the worst possible scenario, not to scare yourself even more, but to realize that most of the time we are overexaggerating negative possibilities! I would add also to imagine the greatest, bestest, most awesomest outcome too! Thanks again! ;-D

  • Alana Mbanza

    Are you a Virgo? Just asking because we tend to be over-thinkers lol. 

    Congratulations on freeing yourself from a situation that wasn’t feeding your soul! You will be amazed by how many more opportunities that are in alignment with your passion and interests will now be available to you!

    In January (after several months of debilitating fear), I quit my “practical” job to pursue my dream of writing and counseling so I know exactly what you’re going through now.  I struggled with feeling selfish, irresponsible and “not good enough.” But soon after, so many amazing opportunities came my way to do the things I loved that I knew I had made the right decision.  

    Your heart seems to be leading you towards clinical psychology and I encourage you to follow it. If you feel discouraged or not “good enough” I suggest focusing on the many people who’s lives will be transformed as a result of your counseling services. Just a way I take myself out of what I’m doing and focus on contributing positivity to the world.

    Good luck!

  • Tina

    This was an awesome article that resonates so well with a lot of women. I would love to share one of your articles on my website

  • Please feel free to share!

  • liasonluv

     I lived in Gunsan in Jeollabuk-do and also spent a lot of time in Jeonju (in the same province).

  • Danielle Parra

    Last year I was in the exact same place. I took the leap and came to Korea. It was the best decision I ever made. I have gained so much confidence and have had so many wonderful experiences. I had so many reservations and doubts but in the end it turned out to be the choice I needed to make. I have also chosen to stay a second year. 
    You will make the right choice for you. Best of luck next year in what ever you choose. I hope that you next year is one of your best years where ever you wind up. 

  • Qfoley_johnson

    Hi Alana,

    Wow today wras really hard for me. I prayed for a sign of purpose and then saw this blog. I am a Virgo so I have over analyzed everything in my life. I lived in Chicago some years ago and studied Fiction Writing at Columbia College. This was the nest time of my life. I met my husband and started a family and left that girl in Chicago. Since then I write but I have never done anything more with it. However, I know it’s my true gift and passion.
    Over the years I have been blessed to have great jobs. Jobs that seem wonderful to people on the outside looking in. But jobs that leave me feeling unfulfilled. I went back to school and received my degree in secondary education and language arts. I graduated in May 2011.
    I am still not teaching instead I work for a big company and decided to take a step out

  • Qfoley_johnson

    On faith and I applied for another position with my company. I received the position and I relocated to Dallas, Texas for this position. This position was a safe move for me and it had nothing do with teaching or writing.
    Like you I struggled with fear about moving across country. I did it and when I arrived I hated it. My company had made promises to me that they hadn’t kept. I demanded to be sent back. Part of me was scared of the unknown. The whole time I was there I kept wondering if this was the right decision to leave or to stay. I struggled with the thoughts had I made the right decision. I got back in my car and drove 1200’miles to my old position.
    Yes, im thankful to have a job but today I felt so unfulfilled and I just kept thinking to myself I make a lot of wrong decisions.
    I am glad that I went to Dallas and although I was ky there for a week. I am glad that

  • Qfoley_johnson

    I tried it. And after reading your post I feel great to know that it’s ok to change your mind and that the only way we will know is if we step out and try. It is really refreshing to know that there are others that feel the way I do.
    Also, I know that I will never be truly happy until I embrace my fears and become the writer and teacher I was intended to be.
    I have to step out of my comfort zone and go for it. I see all types of positions similar to my passions and I never apply.
    I believe that you should go for Korea and I believe you love it. I think we have to try all t

  • Qfoley_johnson

    Sorry for all the errors. My phone won’t allow me to go back and fix them. As I was saying I think that you should go to Korea and I know that you will love it.

    I told everyone I was leaving for Texas and now that I’m come back I feel like I let my fears get in the way. However, I know the real reason things didn’t go as planned and that is because I have to start living my purpose. I want to help make a difference. Because I didn’t go to Texas for my purpose.
    Again, thank you for sharing and thanks for putting it all together for me. Best wishes and Congrats on all of your success!!!! 🙂

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  • Danielle,
    Thanks so much! What part of Korea are you in?

  • Heartensoul


    I loved this post because it is something I often struggle with in my daily life. I’m a person who tries to plot everything out to ensure the best outcome; of course, life has no guarantees, so I often find myself putting off important decisions.

    I will take your advice to heart as I trudge through my own decisions, and I wish you happiness and luck in the event that you end up going to Korea!

  • Cindy

    “What I’ve been interpreting as an increase in negative emotions can more accurately be described as a greater sensitivity to myself.” 

        After someone on Mon told me about a career opportunity that would open up for me, I was surprised at the different emotions I felt….and how strong they were. Now I understand. Like others have said. Your timing was perfect on this & thanks for sharing. Your a wonderful writer  

  • Ram

    Few days back, i got offer from a reputed company out side of my state, job for which i was wishing for. But at the same time I’d to move from my place+ it was whole lot lot of responsibilities with the job.So negativity overpowered me and made me feel like ..what if I failed in the job ??? new place people !!!!! So I told them everything what I was feeling at that time..result => they stated me as lake of confidence and its sure that they are not going to call me again. I was feeling shitty.

    And at the same day you posted this article 🙂 Thanks to you, now I feel more boosted

  • Ram,

    I’m so glad I could offer some words of inspiration! The company that gave you the job offer obviously saw something in you that made them think you would be the best candidate for the job!

  • Aw thank you so much Cindy! I’m glad I could offer words of inspiration. Good luck!

  • Thank you!

    I definitely can related to the over-planning and over-analyzing but I’m realizing that it’s just a way to maintain a false sense of control.  LIke you said, though, life has no guarantees. Instead of driving ourselves trying to predict the outcome of things and being upset when things don’t work out the way we planned, let’s be spontaneous and deal with the consequences later! ;-D There is a sense of freedom from letting go of the outcome and embracing whatever comes. Almost like being a teenager again!

    Good luck to ya!

  • Thank you so much and good luck to you too!

  • Anonymous


  • Rampal

    Thanks for your reply, appreciated that. Yes they offered me the job but at the same time I had that fear and negativity in my head and where i get confused often in such conditions. But now I’ll follow your strong words –

    “every experience you have, whether you characterize it as “good” or “bad,” is exactly the experience you need to have at that moment” .

    looking forward to your other posts. btw I loved your blog and a post about healthy relation.

  • Thobiasglory

    thanks for your post and for  this time im in a bad situation and i think i need time to wipe.
    Glory from Tanzania Africa

  • Interestingly awesome writing, your article is very useful.
    And I really appreciate it.

  • Michelle


    I’m curious. Did you ever move to Korea? I’m facing a similar decision about moving to Taiwan for a year. I can’t make the decision!!!

  • afraid

    I really needed this right now. Thank you.

  • Monkjack

    I have just stumbled across this blog when I Googled ‘How Do You Know When You Have Made the Right Decision’ whilst sitting in Melbourne Airport. I am from the United Kingdom. In May 2013, at the age of 34, I left the UK to head to New Zealand on a one year working holiday visa. I left a secure job, friends, family and securities. I had always said that it was my dream to move to New Zealand, however before I left I started to have doubts as to whether I was doing the right thing. In the six months before I left things in my personal life were starting to change, however I thought these were nerves and I decided to leave.
    From day one I found things a challenge. I cried on the second night (granted there was booze involved). I then hit difficulties from the outset that I struggled to cope with and I struggled to be on my own. It was stupid. These were things that I could have handled at home.
    I hit the road after three weeks in Auckland and thought about going home. In the end I made a declaration that I wanted to go home and accepted a job offer at my old company. I then proceeded to do some ore travelling and thoroughly enjoyed myself but I had the job accepted hanging over my head and it wouldn’t let me relax.
    I flew to Sydney to start my journey home, decided that I had made a mistake and in an expensive error of judgment I rejected the contract and flew back to New Zealand. I put my heart and soul into finding a job but cried every single day. This was two months into my trip, not normal. I’m not usually one to be homesick so this hit me like a tonne of ****.
    I promised myself that if I got a decent job then I would stay, if not then I would leave the following week and be home in time for my brothers wedding, something else that had been playing on my mind. I broke down in tears and thought that I had put too much pressure on myself to stay in New Zealand, sweat it out stay and last the year. I felt like I had loads to prove to everyone, prove that I could do it.
    Anyway, I was offered a three week contract, not the great job I was hoping for. Yesterday I went to work for the first time in over two months, I stuffed envelopes. I thought that it was the break that I needed – get out of living in dorms, get out of the hostel atmosphere and put my brain to use. Give it a break. Give it the clarity I needed.
    Therefore when I finished work I booked a flight home to the UK and this is where I am at now. I am sat in Melbourne airport on my way home. I have missed family, friends and hated the thought of missing my brothers wedding. Turns out that I am more family orientated than I thought.
    However, I sit here and wonder whether I have made the right decision. I was so sad in New Zealand and unhappy and now I wonder whether I gave it a proper go but my head was fried.
    I wonder if I am doing the right thing in going home. I wasn’t particularly happy there either.
    I think the route of all this is that I am actually lonely.
    I sent an email out on Sunday, my last blog for a while, confirming that I would stay in NZ and sweat it out but I completely broke down in tears at the thought of not being there for the wedding. It was a very selfish email to have sent out and I regretted it as soon as it sent.
    I sent another one yesterday, apologising for my actions and advised that I was coming home. At work I decided that I liked my old life, the shit and the smooth. I stated in the email that I felt like I was sinking into depression again, an illness that I had suffered with in 2009 and had managed to control.
    Now I sit here in Melbourne airport and wonder, wonder if I have made the right decision and the right choice. I have cheesed my friends off with my emails, which were pants. Right now I feel like a lost soul. Unhappy again. I’ve forgotten how to make myself happy and I don’t know what to do.
    I have 9.5 months of my visa left and could go back but money is tight. The wedding played on my mind from the start.
    Not looking forward to the flack that I am going to get…………….

  • ~

    This makes me want to pursue an astronomy degree that I am so scared of getting.

  • vernonsbusisokhuzwayo

    I’m at a point in my life now where I need to make a new start.a new life and leave behind a woman I’ve known since I was 22 as she no longer represent what iI want for my life.8 years on ,I don’t k ow what to do.fear of growing old alone drives me crazy.fear of living without the person I’ve known most of my life is paralysing. But at some point I have to take a step.either backwards or forward…this blog has helped somewhat.

  • Lulu012

    my intuition keeps pushing towards a process (education towards certain career) that constantly overwhelms me and makes me break down. I’ve been at this certain process for 2 years now and it’s not a do or die thing but I feel I’ll regret it if I stop but I don’t actually want to go through with it any more right now. My willpower is GONE.

    I’m thinking of stopping for now and coming back to it in the future. I just want to rest and go at a slower pace, I’m not ready for this fight right now.

  • Chelsie

    Hi, this is fantastic! Thank you for that bit of wisdom. 🙂

  • Hussein

    what about if the decision will change hall my life ? I don’t know if I should take it or not ! and the decision will effect all my kids which I’m very afraid to go with, life is getting very hard against me… I moved to California and I’m unemployed have issues with my spouse and believe I can’t continue any more, but still can’t take step forward.

  • OldeWolf

    Great article but I have to disagree with the part that says, “There are no wrong decisions”.

    There are decisions that can kill you, harm you, torture you for a life to come simply because the person didn’t know the ABC of the decision they just made, thus can causing irreparable damage.

    In fact, one of our survival traits is to use fear to help us decide what is safe or not rather than discarding fear. What if your friend flipped a coin that involves walking on a volcano’s rim? Your fear tells you to NOT go there for whatever reasons or factors (also called intuition) but one of the trait of being a human is our ability to reject such warnings and go ahead with the action. I’ve seen some of my friends die from disobeying their interior warning bells. So I honestly think it’s irresponsible for anyone to advise a person not to listen to their fears because it might be telling you something.

  • Elsie

    Thank you for this. I’m feeling very lost and that I’m making the wrong decision – moving to another country and trying any job while I write instead of staying stuck where I am. Doesn’t help that I haven’t achieved the things other people in my age bracket have (or are supposed to). It’s making me quite anxious even though these are things I’m not sure I want and writing is what I want, as is a fresh start.

  • I encourage you to live your life according to your own truth, Elsie.

    As an update to this blog post, I actually succumbed to my own fear. I allowed other people’s vision of what I should and shouldn’t do keep me from traveling and pursuing my dream of writing for two years now. I accepted a year long contract for a 9-5 job out of guilt and obligation. I have been living in a city that no longer fits me because it was most convenient and beneficial to my mother (who wanted me close by) and my employers (who didn’t want to have to find anyone to replace me) and everyone else who convinced me I wasn’t “ready.”

    The result has been that though I enjoy the type of work I do (I’m a high school counselor and I love my students), most days I feel lonely, isolated, and disconnected from myself and my vision. I essentially go to work, come home, sit on the couch, go to sleep, wake up and do it all again. There was no time or energy to invest in my dream. I have become “comfortable and complacent;” two forbidden words I swore I would never use to describe myself.

    Recently, I was diagnosed with severe depression and the shock of it has awakened me. Since the New Year, I have recommitted myself to living in alignment with my truth and my purpose. Everyday, I take specific actions towards achieving my goals which has resulted in writing more, traveling more, and finishing and publishing a book…all in a month and a half! The effect on my mood has been amazing and even though I’m not quite where I want to be, the act of taking consistent steps has brought new meaning and purpose to my life.

    When the school year ends in June, I will be traveling to SE Asia (finally). I have purposefully not told the people closest to me bc I don’t want to internalize their fears again.

    I say all this to say that though there may be no “wrong” decisions, there are some that get you closer and further away from your dreams. One of the guiding questions on my vision board is:

    Is this choice/action/belief getting my closer to my goals?

    Only you can determine that for yourself.

    Many blessings,


  • Hussein,

    Ultimately, you have to decide whether it’s riskier to take a step forward into the unknown or stay in a situation that may not be healthy for you or your children. If you do decide to change things, start with small steps. They are less overwhelming and the consequences are generally less drastic than if you took a giant leap. Taking small steps will also let you know if you’re moving in the right direction. If you feel good, if it’s empowering than you are most likely getting closer to your purpose. You are the only person who can determine the course of your life. You alone know your truth.

    Many blessings,


  • The intuition generally pushes us towards the things we most fear in order to grow. Being weary from growth and wanting to rest is perfectly natural and I can relate. Sometimes I wish I could just be at peace from learning new things about myself and my place in the world!

    In my experience, however, the push to step into your purpose and destiny will not go away. It will only grow stronger and more urgent until you have no choice but to heed it. The fact that this opportunity is currently available to you means that you are ready for it even though you may not necessarily believe it to be so.

    I’m wishing you courage and strength to follow your truth.


  • Abhishek Agarwal

    Hi Alana, Thanks a lot for writing this article. I was going through a similar phase since past few weeks and i have been through hell of a journey within my mind quite similar to what you have mentioned. In the end, I have finally made a decision based on some objective reasoning but all along the process I have learned so much more about myself. You have really articulated the deeper connection of making this one decision related to everything we do in life so well above which I could not do in my personal blog. I realize that all my life I have living out of the fear of failure, the fear of making wrong decisions. Because of my fear I have made myself so secure and shielded that nobody even gets a chance to hurt me emotionally. I am afraid of being criticized, so I try to refrain from making comments in Facebook. I have made myself quite self-sufficient emotionally like whatever hurts me I should stay away from it. But while trying to make this decision, my parents and my friends have helped me a lot and supported me and I realize that it would not have been possible to make a call without their support. So I learned that good friends are always needed for emotional support. I also learned that there are no right or wrong decisions, we can work towards making the decisions right. And it is really good to be a freaking optimist in life and not compromise on your dreams and ambitions. Whatever happens will happen for the good:)

  • Nitz

    Thank you.

  • vitória

    I just wanted to say that this is the first time I visit your blog, but I think I’m already in love with it. Thank you so much for your words, Alana!

  • Susan

    Hi guys, I hope someone is still around 🙂
    I had my own business for four years and decided to go back to my former corporate career. It is driving me nuts! I don’t know if I am making the right decision in closing down my business and work a normal day job again, because it was a dream of mine to have my own business, be my own woman and provide jobs for other women. I am a photographer and the two main reasons I want out, is because it is too alone and the admin drives me nuts and thirdly, not making enough money. When I have a day job, I can shoot again for fun. So why am I so extremely stressed? There are three job opportunities with good money looming but I cry every day and fight with my husband about the silliest things. What do you think about all this? (Oh and I have never settled into a comfortable rhythm and I wish wish wish to get into a comfort zone, even if it is just for a little while.)

  • alice

    im honestly really happy i found this, i too, am desiring a move, leaving a pretty decent job environment and pay check to an island which has resonated with me for a while, and everyday i feel mindf*ckked with my decision, but reading this helps my sanity to know someone else has felt the same way. thanks guys <3

  • Thinking

    I agree. People sometimes take the attitude of devil take the highmost and then end up seriously hurt or injured because they didn’t heed their inner warning and fear.
    Same with anger, people get angry. It’s a way of our intuition telling us something isn’t right.

  • Allison

    This is exactly what I needed to read. I really want to move to Austin but naturally I over think things and I’m afraid. Of what, I’m not sure. It will be the first time I have had the chance to live on my own and away from family, which is a good thing. I’m a nurse so I shouldn’t have much trouble finding a job there. I will keep thinking about this and follow my heart.

  • Sayit

    I suspect when you have fears to make a wrong decision it’s because you already have a catalogue of decisions you bemoaned making in the past, but also your conditioning was such that you perhaps felt that making any decision YOU could see as wrong would also prove your very existence wrong in your own eyes and it would just be too painful to see yourself as a perfect loser. Self-esteem can’t help you precisely because it’s the self (or ego/conditioning) that speaks when someone says “I’m such cr*p”. Therefore you’d rather keep your potential unused rather than do something with it, and use all your strength in every endeavour precisely because ONLY THEN will you know whether you failed because it was not the right thing for you to do and there is nothing to regret. That is what the biblical proverbs tell you to do.

    Also, I know you guys are Buddhist but think of these words: there was Light AND God saw the Light was good. Now the Light is God’s projection of Himself in the concrete, His own projection headfirst. It’s only once He took the risk to do and create that He could see whether it was good enough.

  • Drea

    Well, I think she meant to embrace your fears. Fear can be good too. Also you need to learn to differentiate between “good” fear and “bad” fear, these are two different kinds of fear. Good fear is the one telling you you want something, but are afraid of embrace change and all consequences it will bring you. BAD fear comes with a sense of voice (intuition) telling you: “this is not ok and you know it”. Also I think the volcano example is a “lil” bit out of order and exaggerated. None is gonna jump into a volcano unless they want to die. Cheers!

  • Inder

    I only have a few hours to make this decision. I am ambivalent about this. My ex-husbands aunt, someone who was very dear to me, has passed. They are having a funeral for her this morning in 4 hours. I have been awake all night with this. I want to go but as I think through and anticipate the encounters I may have with others, I feel afraid and do not want to put myself through the anticipated scenarios that are most likely to occur.
    I am angry with myself for having this fear and yet, another part of me knows I need to take good care of myself and be kind to myself and not put myself in difficult situations, or should I say do not need to put myself in difficult situations.
    I have gone over this again and again. I know I can honor her by sending her children cards. I have not seen her for many years. She was elderly and lived a good life and she and I had a wonderful connection and I hold that dear in my heart.
    To see my ex-husband and his wife and the other members of the family cause me great anxiety. My daughter will be there and her dad came with her so I know that will be odd as well. I do not know it this hurt that I carry will ever be healed. I do know that a funeral is not the place to work it out,nor do I want to. The last few months have been very difficult for me emotionally and there is a fragility in me that wonders if it is wise to bring myself into another difficult situation. I do not want to be selfish. I want to be self caring. I have learned that I am the only one that can determine what that means and that I am the only one who is going to look out for me. So I will need courage with whatever direction I go in, whether I attend the service or whether I do not, I will need courage to trust that I am doing the best thing for myself.

  • sas318

    Don’t know if you’re still around. I just found this article and your comment today. It’s been a year, so I’m just wondering what you decided? Did you re-start your photography business or are you still in your normal day job again? Based on your comment alone, I think you were much happier owning your own business. Even with the downsides (what job doesn’t have downsides??), you were happier back then than you are now. Being extremely stressed, nitpicking and being easily irritable with your husband are signs that you’re unhappy. My suggestion would be to re-start your photography business.

  • Hi Alana,

    What a great post. It’s helpful in guiding me with a difficult career decision.

    I find your coin toss method quite bold and I must ask, “had that coin not landed on the side your inner self truly wanted, would you have listened?”

    You see for me, if I quite my thoughts and emotions long enough I can hear the whispers of the correct choice radiating from within. It’s an instinctual knowing that goes beyond logic and questioning it only creates stress and anxiety.

    I find this decision to be a source of great fear and risk, for I would have to give up something wonderful for what feels like a chance at something more meaningful. I believe in what you have said and hope I find it to be true, that I will become a stronger person as a result of facing this fear.

    Kind regards,

  • Sammer Guy

    I’m actually in a similar position to what you found yourself in, Alana: I’ve been offered a valuable position teaching English in Japan for a year. I studied abroad there for a semester back in college, my first and thus far only time leaving the States, and it was one of the best periods of my life so far. This time, however, I’ve found myself feeling much more anxiety about leaving, and the spark of excitement that drove me through the fear last time just doesn’t seem to be there like it was before. On paper, it seems like a great opportunity, but something is pulling me back, warning me away from this path. At first, I thought it was just nerves, but the more I self-examine and try to peer past the anxiety, the more I come to believe that my intuition truly is telling me not to go this time, that I’m needed where I am for the time being.

    I’m sad to turn down an opportunity to return to Japan, and rather embarrassed and afraid that others won’t understand the choice I’m making, but I make it a policy to listen to my intuition, especially with big decisions like this. There will probably be other chances to go back, and I have questions about myself that spending a year in Japan would likely only put off answering.

  • GC

    Exactly what I was looking for today. Just loved it. Now onwards I’ll say – Fear, come here… 🙂

  • Marie

    Thank you so much for this article – it’s exactly my situation right now. I have a business where I can work from anywhere, and I live in Vancouver currently. I decided to make a huge life change and move to the beautiful and cultural Montreal. I speak decent French. So I am moving in 15 days, and I suddenly realized how much I am going to miss everyone and everything here; how I JUST for the first time got my life organized and now I’m moving again; how I just got super comfortable at my new home at the beach, and I’m moving… And then I went out and bought a puppy dog. Then I got 3 harsh emails from my mom telling me I won’t make it, I can’t do it, that I’m crazy… that I should return the dog. Needless to say I am freaking out a bit, and I have these upheavals in my tummy like my intuition is screaming at me, but I’m not sure if it’s fear or intuition. HelP!

  • Pól MacGearailt

    Hey Monkjack 🙂 How did things work out for you in the end after everything? I felt your pain. Had very similar.

  • Gary Epstein

    I am sorry to tell you fear (anxiety) is often your subconscious counseling you NOT to do something. So many people have suffered from spot impulsive decisions. I almost lost the freedom of my home by believing money would satisfy what is left of my rather boring life. Later I saw I am fine, I have the money I need and I need the ownership of my own house. I would have LOST this if I had signed the papers.