Using Adaptive Action To Make a Tough Life Decision

Tough Life DecisionThese last 10 days, I have been struggling with a decision: Should I accept a job offer in Vietnam to teach at a university in Saigon, with good benefits, decent pay, and some relocation support? Or should I remain on the entrepreneurial path and trust to create the work that is emerging for me (partially based on my PhD research-in-progress) on embodiment and change processes, even though the pathway from "here" to revenue appears tentative at this moment?  It is interesting to look at the process through the adaptive action lens (even though I was not fully conscious of using it at the time). 

Here are some observations: My "what?" questions led me to track my emotional and body states with much attention. Also, I tried to get a fuller sense of "what?" through reflective conversations with others. I find that I need different resonances in dialogue as well as an embodied sense awareness of "me" to understand "what" might be going on. Cognitive fact-checking is good, and can lead to mental freeze (or frenzy).  One aspect that became focal was a growing sense of anxiety which emerged as the due date for the decision came close. I was not comfortable, getting irritated with the anxiety and critical of myself.

"So what?" eventually became "What if this state of affairs were perfect?"  - moving helplessness and judgment into acceptance and curiosity - and finally, broader emotional and mental pattern shifting with insights into new options and stances.

"Now what?" will I say to the offer became a more nuanced and freer response: No to the offer (and yes to getting vigorous in business development), unless I can have a much more involved conversation with the people who would be direct supervisors of me at the department-level in Vietnam. I need to hear and feel them in interpersonal dialogue and in relationship to my PhD research and future direction.  Being the "guardian" of the research and direction is the priority for me. I do not wish to insert myself into an organizational context which may be at odds with my desire to make a unique contribution. So, here I am, standing for a direction. Back again into the next cycle, learning more about decision-making, uncertainty and staying intentional. I have also come to a renewed appreciation of what I am already - the entrepreneur with a decade of experience in intercultural consulting and global executive coaching, who has survived in the US as an immigrant, at least to date.

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