The Snow Globe Effect
As an accountant, we often find ourselves standing at the crossroads of decisions – big and small. Whether it’s choosing to pursue a new job, navigating the complexities of work-life balance, or even deciding what to have for dinner, decisions are an integral part of our daily lives.
Yet, it’s not uncommon to experience a wave of doubt and regret after making a choice. For example, have you ever taken a new job and then wondered if it was the right move? Or have you ever struggled with the guilt of missing a school event for your child while juggling a demanding work schedule?
Studies have shown that since the pandemic, more of us are grappling with making decisions. In fact, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association published in October 2021, 32% of adults in the United States struggled to make basic decisions, such as what to wear, due to COVID-19-induced stress.
Of course, regret was a pervasive emotion long before the pandemic, but we all had more big decisions to make than ever before.
In another study, regret was found to be the second-most frequently mentioned emotion in everyday conversation (after love). Romantic regrets tend to be most common, and those centered on social relationships in general are felt more strongly than nonsocial ones — lending credence to the saying that nobody on their deathbed wishes they had spent more time working.
Regret is one of those nagging feelings that creeps in after we’ve committed to a path, leaving us questioning our choices and wondering if the grass might be greener on the other side.
Whether it’s decisions we make personally or professionally, we have a lot of pressure put on us to make the best decisions possible. Society can make us feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders when it comes to the decisions we make about our lives and our careers.
A few years ago, my husband was grappling with the aftermath of a career decision so we coined the term the “snow globe effect” which I’m going to explain in a second. We still use it today, and it’s become a great reminder of our brain’s role in making decisions and dealing with them once they’re made.
I promise that no matter what your decision-making experience has been, you’re going to find this episode informative and enlightening.
Understanding The Snow Globe Effect
Imagine, for a moment, the classic snow globe sitting peacefully on a flat surface. It’s typically a decorative piece – a plastic bubble filled with water and glitter, showcasing a serene scene within.
When undisturbed, it presents a clear, unobstructed view. But, as soon as you shake it up, the glitter swirls, creating a captivating but chaotic scene.
The interesting thing is that the same thing happens in our brains.
The truth is that our brains, like these snow globes, can be in a state of serene stillness when we’re going about our day. But then, someone says something or does something that becomes the equivalent of shaking the snow globe.
Suddenly, our thoughts are clouded, swirling with doubts, regrets, and anxieties. It’s as if a snow storm of negative thoughts has been unleashed, obscuring the clarity we once had.
As I mentioned before, my husband was dealing with a situation where he had left his job for over 20 years and was starting to have decision regret once he started the new job. When something was different or challenging about the new job, his brain would start swirling with thoughts of the past and how he might have made the wrong choice to leave his former job.
There were times when he could see he made a good choice, but there were other times when his brain was clouded with so many “what if” scenarios. We began to use the analogy of the snow globe whenever his brain was swirling with negative thoughts about the new job saying, “You shook your snow globe, didn’t you?”
It was our playful way of acknowledging those moments when the mental glitter starts to swirl, clouding clarity of our thoughts. Every time he shook the snow globe, he experienced decision regret, making it challenging to look for all the ways that his earlier decision to leave his job was the right one.
The beauty of this metaphor, though, lies in the realization my husband had in the aftermath of this mental storm. He called me one day, saying, “I just realized something – if I’m the one picking up the snow globe and shaking it, I can also put it down and let it settle down.”
In that moment, he grasped a fundamental truth – the power of choice in managing our thoughts. Once he chose to leave the snow globe on the table, he not only started liking his new job more, but he laughed about how he should have left his former job earlier.
Snow Globe Moments
So now it’s your turn – think about a time when you’ve “shaken the snow globe” of your mind. When have you been perfectly fine with a decision you made, going about your day and then all of a sudden your mind is swirling with negative, regret-filled thoughts.
Maybe you ended a relationship that wasn’t serving you well. Initially, you felt relieved and confident in your choice. Suddenly, days later, you find yourself overwhelmed with doubts and wondering if you made a mistake, especially when you miss certain aspects of the relationship.
Or maybe you made a significant financial investment based on careful research and analysis. At first, you felt confident in your decision. However, as market fluctuations occur, you begin to doubt your choices, questioning whether you should have invested differently.
Or perhaps you worked hard to become an accountant, doing everything to get the best education possible. In the beginning you felt excited about your career choice, but now you’re questioning whether this is the right path for you.
It’s quite amazing when it happens, isn’t it? One minute you’re looking for all the ways that your decision was the right one, and the next, you’re trying to figure out a way to undo the decision.
I’ll never forget when this happened to me when I was divorcing my first husband. I was very confident in my decision to divorce him, but one day things were very challenging with balancing my job, the kids, and being a single mom.
I remember thinking, “Did I make the right decision?” I didn’t realize it then, but that’s when I shook the snowglobe and started thinking about things like the people who said I shouldn’t get divorced, about how I was ever going to manage everything financially, and how I had no idea how the divorce would affect the kids.
When the snow globe was on a table and the beautiful scene inside of me being financially secure and the kids thriving was visible, everything was great. But once I shook that snow globe and began questioning my decision, everything became clouded over with confusion.
Have you ever had that happen, whether it’s a professional or personal decision? Thankfully, like my current husband shared when he called me that day, if you’re the one shaking the snow globe, you can also be the one to put it down.
Navigating the Snow Globe – What to Do About It
No matter what twists and turns we’re dealing with in our lives, there exists a powerful tool within our grasp – the power of choice. Just as we choose our paths in the outside world, we hold the power to decide how we navigate the paths within our minds.
Imagine reaching for that snow globe, recognizing that it’s within your control to shake it or leave it. You get to be in control over your thoughts, feelings, and reactions.
By doing so, we learn how to live more intentionally and how to have our own back when we’ve made decisions. The truth is that your primitive, Toddler brain is motivated to keep things the same, so when making a decision that could change things for you, it will want to shake the snow globe, making you want to go back to what’s familiar.
Your primitive, Toddler brain wants what’s familiar, even if what’s familiar isn’t in your best interest. In other words, my husband’s Toddler brain would rather have him go back to the old job than take on all the challenges of a new job.
It would rather he shakes the snow globe and regrets changing things than pushing himself out of his comfort zone, even if it means eventually making more money and making advancements in his career. The funny thing is that it’s now been 4 years since he stopped shaking the snow globe and he’s so happy he put it down.
He’s much more successful in his new job and laughs about how tricky his brain was back then. He now sees the power of the snow globe effect in many areas of his career and life as well.
As I’ve shared on this podcast, when you learn how to manage your mind, you can manage everything else. You need to recognize your ability to be in charge of your Toddler brain by using your higher, Supervising Parent part of your brain more often.
So the question then becomes – do we shake or do we not shake?
In other words, do we succumb to the turbulence our Toddler brain creates, allowing negative thoughts to swirl uncontrollably? Or do we exercise the power of our higher brain, making the conscious choice to navigate the storm with intentionality?
Most of us don’t realize we’re shaking the snow globe continuously. We’re complaining about the same situation or questioning the same decision, over and over.
We’re obstructing the clear view we could otherwise enjoy, without realizing that we could just let the mental glitter settle. We can continue creating chaos or clarity – it’s truly up to us.
The next time you grapple with a decision or a situation, consider a Shakespeare spirited question and ask yourself: “To shake or not to shake…that is the question.” This question showcases our ability to manage the snow globe effect.
Its simplicity lies in recognizing that, despite external factors, the power to shake or not to shake lies squarely within our hands.
Another reason it’s important to get a handle on the snow globe effect is that our thoughts, much like the swirling glitter in a snow globe, have a direct impact on our emotions. Recognizing this connection allows us to have much more control over how we feel.
And why does having control over our feelings matter? Because our feelings drive our actions.
If you want to be effective at your job as an accountant, you need to have a better handle on the feelings driving your actions. In other words, if you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or frustrated, those feelings are going to drive completely different actions than if you felt calm, focused, and in control.
The truth is that our thoughts, feelings, and actions are always our choice. No matter what’s going on outside the snow globe, we always have the choice to pick it up, shake it, and create chaos, or put it down and enjoy the peaceful view.
Becoming a Smarter Accountant: Successfully Handling The Snow Globe Effect
Navigating the snowglobe effect isn’t just about personal choices; it extends to our professional lives as well. Whether you’re in public or private accounting, the lessons from the snow globe can be transformative.
For example, one of my coaching clients found herself in a financial decision that left her questioning her choices. The pressure of managing her company’s budgets and making critical financial calls was taking a toll on her mental state.
When we started working together she realized that she often shook the snow globe when she felt uncertain. By first becoming aware of what triggered her to shake the snow globe and acknowledging the power of choice, she learned to navigate her thoughts, intentionally calming the storm within.
Today, she approaches financial decisions with newfound confidence, understanding that, just like a snow globe, her mind can stay settled whenever she needs it to be.
Another client is an entrepreneur and was facing a pivotal moment in his business when he had to decide whether to shift gears or stay on his current course. The weight of this decision brought on many moments of doubt and regret.
By becoming a Smarter Accountant and understanding the snow globe effect, he recognized the power to put the snow globe down when his mind was swirling. Once he gained clarity, he successfully navigated the business pivot, using the snow globe analogy as a tool to assess the impact of decisions on his thoughts, feelings, and action.
In fact, the snow globe effect became a guiding principle, enabling him to move forward with confidence.
Another client of mine was standing at a career crossroads, torn between staying in her current job or exploring new opportunities. Her feelings of possible decision regret were affecting her daily life.
By working together, she embraced the concept of choice and the snow globe effect. She realized that she could be much more intentional with her choices.
She learned to put down her mental snow globe and let it settle. This newfound perspective empowered her to make career decisions with a clearer mindset, ultimately leading to much better career fulfillment.
Hopefully you can see that these client’s stories illustrate that the snow globe effect isn’t limited to personal decisions; it affects every area of our lives. Becoming a Smarter Accountant involves recognizing your mental snow storms, leveraging the power of choice, and allowing the settled clarity to guide decision-making.
The truth is that the snow globe analogy can become a powerful tool to help you deal with uncertainty and the confusion that often comes with it.
Here’s a simple guide to help you implement this analogy into your decision-making process:
Recognize the Shakes – Identify moments when your thoughts feel unsettled or negative.
Acknowledge that you’re shaking your mental snow globe, leading to possible decision regret.
Embrace the Power of Choice – Understand that you have the power to choose how you handle your thoughts. Remind yourself that just like putting the snow globe down, you can have much more control over your state of your mind.
Pause and Breathe – When faced with decision regret or negative thoughts, take a moment to pause. Create a space of awareness rather than reaction.
Visualize Your Snow Globe – Picture the swirling thoughts and recognize that, with intentional choices, you can calm the mental storm. Like my husband realized, if you’re the one shaking the snow globe, you’re also the one that can put it down.
Settling the Snow Globe – Decide not to let negative thoughts swirl endlessly. Picture gently placing your mental snow globe back on the flat surface, allowing the glitter to settle.
Choose Your Perspective – Consider the consequences of allowing negative thoughts to dominate versus choosing a calmer mindset. Ask yourself whether shaking the snow globe is helpful or not and consciously decide on your perspective.
Focus on Positive Aspects – Actively look for positive aspects related to the decision causing regret. Seek reasons why your initial choice was the right one, allowing a more optimistic outlook.
Learn from Each Shake – Understand that shakes are part of life, and each one brings an opportunity to learn. Reflect on what triggered the shake and how you can navigate similar situations more effectively in the future.
Practice Mindful Decision-Making – Approach decisions with mindfulness, considering the long-term impact on your mental well-being. Be intentional about the choices you make and the thoughts you allow to shape your perspective.
Share the Metaphor – Introduce the snow globe effect to friends, family, or colleagues.
Encourage conversations around navigating decision regret and the power of choice using this relatable metaphor.
I promise you that by integrating these steps into your daily life, you can transform the way you handle decision regret and negative thoughts. You’ll learn how to put the snow globe down and just enjoy the view.
Well, that’s what I have for you. Thank you for joining me as I shared the snow globe effect. I hope you’ve gained valuable insights and practical tools.
If you are struggling with any aspect of being an accountant, you can simply go to www.thesmarteraccountant.com/calendar and book a free session with me.
I’ll explain The Smarter Accountant 6-week Program and how you can apply it to whatever you’re struggling with.
That’s what I have for you, but make sure you check back each week as I help you go from being a stressed accountant to a Smarter Accountant.
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