Amy

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I wrote a book two years ago and then learned a ton about the publishing process. This is a common pattern in my life. Leap and then look where you’re going.

Picture this, I’m at KU freshman orientation with my parents and we are enjoying a lovely lunch with the School of Education faculty. My mind wandered and I saw how totally cool I was going to be as a university student {never mind I hadn’t been cool in preschool, elementary school, junior high OR high school, but I’d been happy and coolness, it was a’coming my way}. I could hear the leaves crunching under my feet, as I held books to my chest the way all cool coeds do. I’d be in a green sweater.

“Did you know that Amy?”

Did I know what? How cool I’d look?

“Did you know that the education degree was a five year program, not four?” One of my parents asked.

Well, I know it now, that’s got to count for something right?

Creative Commons: Kazz O

Creative Commons: Kazz O

Or how about this. When I was back in Denver after nine years in China I was surprised how many people had picked the counseling program at Denver Seminary because it was CACREP accredited. K – crap? Can we talk that like at sem? No, K-crep and CACREP accreditation is a pretty big deal, I found out.

How did I choose you ask? Did you hear the part where I had been out of the US for nine years? I was ready to be near my people! So, the summer before, I visited the campus to learn a bit more about the program and when I was in classroom, I just felt happy and at home. Yup, that’s how things roll when I make big life decisions.

Green sweaters and happy feelings.

So does it come as any surprise that I wrote a book and then found out that, silly me, that’s not really how the book writing process works. Writing the book is usually the last step and not the first.

I’m going to test drive some of it this spring … with you! Not the whole thing, but parts I want your help in fine tuning. Deal?

Your turn. Does information help you make a decision, or just get in the way? Are you a “pro and con list” maker? {I want to ask, “does it really help?!” But clearly that shows that I cannot fathom how a list would help make a decision. Sorry, I really can’t. Yet, I have heard tales that some use paper and pen to make decisions.} 

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  1. wanderwithlizzie February 21, 2013 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Contrary to what it may look like…I’m a leaper! I try to make lists, weigh out the pros and cons, make decisions with all the information I can gather. However, I usually throw my hands up mid-decision process and LEAP! It’s work OK so far…

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      Amy February 21, 2013 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      Some I’m with said when I read this, “We are half sisters. I desire lists, but then I leap too!”

  2. Katherine February 21, 2013 at 9:53 am - Reply

    I’m a leaper. I’ve purchased a car based on color alone (it was a really pretty blue!). I’ve said yes to moving to another country and taking on a new life path based on a brochure, TWICE!!

    For me, it’s more “go with my gut” because when my head gets involved too much I can totally think myself into a panic. Once I say “yes” to the big leap, my brain (and smarter people’s brains) can start to figure out the logistics.

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      Amy February 21, 2013 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      I. SO. GET. THIS. My car was red. I loved her. And I”m so glad you leaped based on a brochure … twice!

  3. Kristi February 21, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

    I’m a ruminator. I’m pretty sure that’s not even a word, but still a good description of what I do. I don’t always write down the list, but I have the list in my head. To do this I do need information. I chew on the info myself for a while then I discuss it with people I trust. That gives me new information or helps me to decide if any of the info I’m considering is irrelevant or erroneous. It’s like a cow bringing up cud. Lovely word picture, right? Prayer is involved as I consider things, but there should probably be more leaning on that than on my own understanding. As I once told you I have been accused of “paralysis by analysis.” Accused in love, of course. :)

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      Amy February 21, 2013 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      Kristi, I can so appreciate that there are people for whom information helps them make decisions. I have found that information gets in the way as I make decisions, and for a ruminator (love that description), I must sound like a nut :). That’s OK … I am a bit of a nut :)

      • Kristi February 21, 2013 at 9:50 pm - Reply

        Oh, Amy, ruminators (at least this ruminator) so enjoy the spontaneity and joy that leapers find as the jump arms and legs spread wide into all that life has to offer! We are better for the influence of people like you!

  4. Gayle February 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    I ruminate, visualize, rinse, repeat. Spreadsheets with pros and cons. And half the joy is not just in the journey but when the plan comes together.

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      Amy February 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      I feel like you are reporting from a distant land (in the best sense) :) … spreadsheets? Impressive! Do you have a budget you follow? I’m wondering if these characteristics go together :)?!

  5. Jen February 21, 2013 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    Typically if it SCARES me enough, I’ll jump feet first and never look back. That’s how I did it with both colleges. Jumped, and then prepared with tuition payments, books, classes, etc. It turned out to be perfect solution to my often indecisive mind. Prayer is of couse a part of the process, but typically it’s things that have been weighing on my mind like a Master’s degree, adoption, etc. When I jump, there’s no stopping.

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      Amy February 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      Interesting! I’m trying to think if being scared factors in for me. It’s more that I just “know” (like going to KU) or that I was going to be a teacher or that I had to resign recently. Thanks for the food for thought!

  6. Kari Scare February 21, 2013 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    I’m a highlighter. I read a lot of books, articles, etc. to gather information and highlight what I want to review. I don’t make lists to make decisions, but I do use lists to keep focused on daily tasks. Then, I let the information sift around for a while until abplan forms. I keep gathering information until that happens.

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      Amy February 21, 2013 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Kari, this is interesting. I hadn’t thought of it this way before. You know I’m a voracious reader … thus a gatherer of information in that way, but I don’t know if it’s been helpful in decision making. I need to think on this more.

  7. Amy February 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    I have checklists for some things (groceries, home to-do, wedding planning…) but I’ve made some major life/school/career decisions on feeling…and prayer. ^_^

  8. Pam February 22, 2013 at 11:58 am - Reply

    No lists, but lots of internal mental, emotional, and spiritual processing. I like leapers!

  9. Chunmei February 22, 2013 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I guess list-making is more western? I would like to make lists but always give up before I do it, even with shopping list. So I guess I am more a leaper-a spontaneous one.

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      Amy February 22, 2013 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      Could be that list making is more western! How do some of your friends make decisions?

      • Chunmei February 24, 2013 at 11:22 am - Reply

        i guess we make lists in head?

  10. Erin February 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Kristi and I may be twins separated at birth! I couldn’t have described myself better. Amy, have you ever heard of the Kolbe Index? I took it for work and it helped me appreciate my coworkers for their strengths, rather than wondering how it was possible that a person could run a meeting with 5 minutes of preparation! It also helped them appreciate me for gathering all the necessary (and some unnecessary) details for meetings, etc.

  11. Heather February 24, 2013 at 8:18 am - Reply

    Leaper! That’s me! The best decisions I have made were when I came to a crossroads and knew it was time for a change. It seems as if the next thing was waiting there for me. I leaped. Didn’t look back, just went for it. Didn’t consider others thoughts or opinions, just followed my gut instinct telling me, “This one! Pick this one!” The affirmation comes in seeing it all fall into place, as if I had carefully planned the whole thing out. Irony is, I didn’t! I just leaped out in faith!

  12. Patti Woodward February 27, 2013 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Amy, I’m list maker through and through. Pros and cons , why and why not. However, my motto this year is “just do it” adding to last years “it is what it is” I have already made some big decisions without debating it ad nauseum. I haven’t followed through with the biggest decision of all – to close the Littleton office but even without a list I know it needs to be done soon. I just keep hoping for a miracle to avoid it. If you can move to Cambodia I can do this. I can’t hold on for sentimental reasons any longer. Thanks for the nudge.

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      Amy February 27, 2013 at 12:03 pm - Reply

      Oh Patti. I”m sad too. So many memories in the Littleton office! So many. I’m not moving to Cambodia :) … but it was a great place to visit!

  13. Patti Woodward February 27, 2013 at 11:56 am - Reply

    The best decision I ever made was a absolute leap when I met and married Daryle. With this realization, I should leap all the time.

  14. Jessa June 29, 2013 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    So I was looking back through posts from before I started following your blog, and this one caught my eye–not because of what you wrote so much as because I misread the first half of your title as “Are you a leper or…” That got me thinking. Am I a leper? I am falling apart bit by bit, not because I’m wasting away of a terrible physical disease, but because God the great Gardener is pruning me, cutting and shaping and letting live bits of me fall away for the good of the whole. And that sort of relates to what you actually wrote (and not just what I saw in my sleep-deprived state), doesn’t it? Because none of us, leapers or list-makers, see the whole picture. We need the Spirit to be our list-maker, our leap-driver.

    To answer your question, I’m both a list-maker and a leaper. I make lists in the moments when I’m having trouble trusting myself, but when it comes down to it, I almost always go with my gut, and do it before anyone else can weigh in/talk me out of leaping.

    I recently learned a new method of list-making from my therapist. It’s called a Subjective Units of Distress (SUD) Hierarchy. It’s meant to be a tool for people with anxiety disorders to gradually expose themselves to anxiety-producing events and learn to tolerate the anxiety until it diminishes, but I use it for decision-making, too. I list things that are anxiety-producing about both sides of a decision, and then look at the average SUD level. It helps me get a better understanding of where I actually stand in times when I am afraid to make a decision because I don’t trust myself to choose wisely.

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      Amy June 30, 2013 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      Jessa love the leper/leaper analogy applying it to the Gardener! And the method you suggest of list making sounds like a good one to try! Thanks for suggesting it.

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