Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

ChoiceShould I stay in Austin or should I go back to the Netherlands?

As soon as I decide to stay, going back seems better. As soon as I decide to go back, staying seems so much yummier.

Miller and Rollnick write about ambivalence and counseling with neutrality (Motivational Interviewing, 2013, 231-242). The counselor grounds herself in neutrality, unattached to either this or that choice. Her only focus is to support the client make a decision, even if that is to not make a decision yet.

Of course I am struggling to coach myself! I am completely invested in the “right” outcome. I am impacted whichever choice I make. How can I be neutral?

When you’re in a hurry, take your time

To make matters worse, I have this sense of urgency: if I don’t go back now, I might as well go back never. My parents are growing older, and now is the time to spend time with them. If I don’t decide now, they might be dead before I made up my mind.

There is something helpful in writing down the different thoughts I have in my head. Miller and Rollnick suggest making a decisional balance sheet with the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. That’s what I am doing in my head. It might help me to write it down.

What does love have to do with it?

I liked their paragraph on affirming best. Silent Unity makes a point that “God’s love and wisdom guides you every step of the way.” It is an affirmation that I am okay and lovable, whatever choice I make. Gosh, my choice has nothing to do with my self-worth. I will receive love, belonging and acceptance from my husband ànd my parents, no matter what choice I make. They have been trying to tell me this over and over again. Only now do I understand what they actually say: “Elly, follow your heart’s desires, be happy, and know that we will always be here for you, no matter what choice you make.

I feel 20 pounds lighter. I have more space to make a decision that supports the needs of everyone involved. This ambivalence has nothing to do with who I am, just what I chose. And I’ll always receive love, acceptance and belonging. Wow, that makes it a heck easier to stand my ambivalence and let God’s wisdom guide me.

Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Clash


Contact me if you want help to resolve your ambivalence. I’ll coach you with neutrality 512-589-0482 

%d bloggers like this: