One day while mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, I saw a post that said, “If it’s not a hell yeah, it’s a no.” It was such a perfect phrase to sum up what I try to teach my students and clients about making decisions that are in alignment with their higher purpose and truest selves.
Our intuition is always available to us as a decision-making tool, but sometimes we choose to quiet or ignore it. If you’ve been doing that for a while, it can be hard to feel like you are in touch with that inner voice at all.
People call it all sorts of things—their gut, their intuition, their inner voice. Some even refer to it as God or a specific spiritual teacher. But when we are faced with the bigger decisions in life—the should I marry this person, move my life across the country, quit my job-type decisions, there is a voice to help guide you.
Recently we moved from Denver to Minneapolis and we had really tough time finding a house. It was January when we arrived, and there wasn’t much on the market. We saw (and even purchased) a few homes that weren’t quite right but we thought we could “make it work.” Sometimes this is an appropriate or even necessary way to go about making a decision. But something nagged us about each of these houses, and when I asked myself if living there felt like a “hell yeah,” the answer was a very clear "no."
We ended up taking a break from our search for a few months and finally walked into a home where I just got that feeling. Hell yeah. This was where I wanted to raise my children. This is where I wanted them to open their presents on Christmas morning and eat after school snacks at the kitchen table and go to sleep at night. Hell yeah.
Though I didn’t have the language at the time, the same could be said about my decision to marry Andy. This wasn’t a decision at all—more just a sense of knowing. Hell yeah I wanted to spend my life with him.
This little test works in a lot of settings. Do I see a future with this person? Hell yeah. Do I want to work on this project? Hell yeah. If you are making a big decision and are feeling lukewarm about it or even getting a sense of dread, then DON’T DO IT. Of course there are lots of caveats here. I never get that “hell yeah” feeling about doing my taxes or flossing, they’re just things that I have to do (or tell my dentist that I do). But when it comes to most of the choices that we do have, it's a great way to check yourself.
I used it recently when deciding between work projects. I had on my calendar to start teaching yoga again in September, but I just felt like I had a lot of other projects I wanted to work on more. When I thought about prioritizing teaching yoga, I had a sense of dread. Now I really enjoy teaching yoga and plan to get back to it soon—but when I was making the decision about how to spend my precious time and energy in that month—I did not get that hell yeah feeling.
Some of you may need some additional guidance on using this phrase to help with your decision-making, particularly if you feel like your intuition has failed you before or if it’s something you haven't ever paid much attention to. Here are a few additional steps that you can take to help you in your decision-making process. Let's say you receive a job offer and are deciding whether or not to take it. Here's what you could do:
- Make a list. My favorite kind of list is very similar to a pro-con list, but it’s divided into 2 sections—energizing and draining. What about the new job do you think might energize you? What about it might drain you? You could also do this with your current job. Look at the overall picture. Are there more items in the energizing column or the draining column? Or maybe it’s not about the number of items, but how much of an impact one or two of them have on your life. If the two jobs are really similar, is it worth the time and energy to make the change? Is the new job just a different set of draining components, or is it something you think will really energize you?
- Set that list aside. Close your eyes. Get quiet. Imagine your dream life—the one you are working towards. What does your life look like? More importantly, what does it feel like to be you in this dream world? What is your job? Who do you spent your time with? Where do you live? What are your hobbies? What kinds of vacations do you go on? What kind of an impact does your life make? Grab a blank sheet of paper and record all that you can about this dream life.
- Re-visit the job decision. What about this job would help lead you towards your dreams? The salary? The vacation time? How you would feel doing this kind of work? The impact you might make on others? The people you would get to spend time with? At the end of the day, does it move you towards any of your biggest goals and wildest dreams?
- Go and engage in something you really enjoy doing. Take a yoga class, go for a bike ride, reading a novel, have coffee with a friend. It should be the kind of activity that really absorbs all your attention so that you aren’t consciously thinking about this decision—you are just in a place of enjoyment and presence.
- Get quiet again and ask yourself, “Is this a hell yeah for me?” Take it if the answer is yes and say “no thanks,” if the answer is no.
You may find that you can move through this process over the course of a day but most likely you will need a few days or a few weeks. The important thing is that you only spend SOME of your time thinking about this decision so that you can spend the rest of your time feeling into it and getting a sense of whether this opportunity is the right fit for you. Is it in alignment with your goals and values and leading you towards that dreamy version of yourself?
Have you used a similar phrase or process when making a decision? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
P.S. You also might like 5 Steps to Supercharge Your Weekend