STRONGER TOGETHER: Sliding doors and the choices we make

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Last updated: 05/06/2023

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the concept of sliding doors and the choices we make.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Recently, I accepted a short-term role coaching two groups of professionals. It didn’t ‘impact’ on my day job (pun intended!) and was not unusual given that I often find myself facing pivotal moments in my career and personal life. It did however force me to pause and reflect on this concept of sliding doors and the choices we make.

This particular opportunity was accompanied by a challenging conversation, followed by doubts and insecurities creeping into my mind. Questions arose: Where could I provide value to a group of high performers? What exactly could I offer? Did I have what it takes to fulfill this coaching role? The fear of failure emerged, reminding me of past experiences and urging me to avoid inviting failure into my life once again. I also pondered how I would manage to fit this new responsibility into my already packed schedule.

In that moment, I felt the weight of uncertainty and questioned whether I had made the right decision. I found myself standing at a metaphorical crossroads, contemplating two doors.

Door 1 beckoned me to proceed with confidence. I reminded myself of the years of experience I possessed, my passion for supporting others in curating a fulfilling life, and the incredible opportunity before me to learn from the individuals I would be coaching.

On the other hand, Door 2 tempted me to make up an excuse and retreat. By doing so, I would avoid potential failure and preserve my self-assured demeanor. I would remain in my comfort zone, unchallenged but also missing out on future opportunities in this space. The allure of maintaining my reputation and steering clear of failure was enticing.

Despite the uncertainty and the shaky conversation that left me questioning my capability, I knew that choosing Door 1 was the right decision. I was ready to embrace the uncertainly, fully prepared to venture from the familiar territory of one-on-one coaching into the uncharted waters of coaching groups. Ready to step into the discomfort and potential awkwardness of guiding a group of individuals who would look to me for guidance. They would rely on my support to choose one idea among countless others and transform it into a compelling pitch within a mere five weeks, all in preparation for their graduation.

That challenging conversation that I mentioned earlier – it was with myself. Filling my mind with doubts and fears and battling head on with my own inner critic. It was an attempt to keep me safe by reminding me that stepping outside my comfort zone carried the risk of failure. But I refused to let that voice dictate my choices.

Choosing Door 1 meant embracing uncertainty, facing new challenges, and navigating moments of overwhelm, doubt, and frustration. It demanded stepping into discomfort, where progress sometimes stalled, and team members questioned their own contribution and value. It also however, brought forth moments of insight, peaks of energy, and sparks of joy.

So, as I reflect on this sliding doors moment, I implore you to consider the choices that lie before you. Each decision, no matter how small, has the power to open up new pathways in your life. I therefore encourage you to choose the door that challenges you to embrace uncertainty, push past your comfort zone, and lean into the growth and fulfilment that lie beyond your familiar boundaries.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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