Choices & Challenges
Updated: Oct 9, 2019
By: Sarah Altman
As an artist, and just as a human beings, we are constantly faced with obstacles, challenges and choices every day.
First of all, to preface this: I like to refer to things as challenges not problems. In my opinion the word "problem" automatically comes with a negative connotation. The word "challenge" to me is more positive; it's something to overcome, to grow and learn from, not defeat.
Every new day brings choices to make and challenges to face, and if you're like me you're always thinking "what is the right choice to make?" and then you spend some time, almost too much time, mulling over what to do and how to go about it. Now, these choices may not always be the biggest decisions, and that's okay... not everything needs to be earth shatteringly large to be important to you and others.
Being given choices to make, you often find yourself wondering what the "right" decision is. I have been told time and time again that there is no right answer, but the truth is, there is a right answer; a correct choice to make. I cannot stress enough that it's EXTREMELY situational and different for everyone and every situation. There are also always things to consider when making a choice or decision, no matter how big or small. But most importantly, you need to consider what is best for you and where you are at that point in your life. Yes, your decisions might also impact those you love and/or work with and it's important to consider that too. Ultimately, the choices you make, you have to live with-- I know that's a tad dramatic, choices are not life and death (even though the stress they cause might feel like it sometimes). It's also important to know that you can't please everyone. For me, that has always been challenging to wrap my head around because I am a stage manager and it's part of my job to execute things exactly as others want it; making all parties happy is part of my job, and my overall nature. But no one is perfect, and there is always going to be someone who is slightly unhappy in a situation, whether they show it or not.
Something that I find is that I get overly concerned about how people will react to a choice I make. In retrospect, if a choice doesn't directly affect someone odds are that they wont even know you made a decision. Now, this is not to say that your decisions and choices are not important... they are. But sometimes those are the most important decisions at the end of the day. A choice you make may help everything run smoother, and people would notice if said choice had not been made... because things would get derailed.
The stress caused by being put in situations where you need to make decisions is something I can personally relate to, and I'm sure a lot of other people can as well. There you are with option A and option B, both with their positives and negatives, and lets not forget the time crunch that you may be under to make said choice. The stress is eating away at you and you just don't know what to do!
Here's what NOT to do:
1) Make a rash decision/ act in haste. It's important to not jump to any conclusions, or make any choices without thinking about them fully.
2) Over think. It's important to think about a choice, but don't over think. I am forever guilty of over thinking situations, but all that comes of that is more stress. I often find myself saying "what if...", but you can't live in the "what if's" you have to live in the now.
3) Over complicate the situation. Over complicating things does nothing but make you think more about the "what if's" and "what could be" when sometimes the answer is right in front of you.
4) Put it off until last minute. Sometimes in situations you may think you have more time to make a choice than you actually do, and if you put it off then you only end up being more stressed and may have less viable options for solving a problem.
5) Take things too personally. Someone involved in a decision may be equally as frustrated as you because things may not be working out how they want, or a number of other reasons. If others get frustrated, know that it's probably not at you, it's at the situation.
Tips on what TO DO:
1) Weigh out the pros and cons. While you shouldn't over think, it is important to take some time and rationally weigh out the positive and negatives that come along with your option A, option B and so forth.
2) Take a step back from the situation. Sometimes you get engulfed in a challenge, so much so that you cant even think clearly. I cannot stress enough the importance of taking some "me time" to catch your breath, gather your thoughts, and look at the situation with fresh eyes.
3) Ask for advice. Odds are that you're not the first person facing a challenge, so reach out to your colleague and peers to see if they have any words of wisdom. Most people (in my experience) have been very open to helping when I've reached out.
And no matter what, enjoy where you're at because you can't take a decision or a choice back, so there is no point in wallowing in your decision once it's made. Sit back, and let it run it's course. You can't change the past, only trust that you made the right choice and move on.
Thanks for reading, and thank you Chels for letting me post again! Check me out at smsarahaltman.com if you'd like to see my stage management work :)