How to Make a Decision

Making a decision.  We all need to do it – big ones, small ones, seemingly insignificant ones.  Yet each and every one impacts our current and future reality.  So why is that no one ever taught us how to make good decisions?  I’m not talking about the “weigh all your options/make a pro and con list” and decide approach.  That’s helpful, but frankly if you live your life making decisions that way you can pretty much guarantee your future is going to look a lot like your present.

Why is That?

When you make decisions based only on what you can currently see and are currently experiencing and what you currently have (in terms of time, money, resources, etc.) you will essentially have and experience more of what you already are!  Meaning don’t expect your situation to change very much.  I call it the +/- 10% rule.

You can pretty much be guaranteed your future will likely look essentially as it does right now +/- 10% unless you actually start to think differently and do differently.

Think about it – unless you’ve made a radical change in your life or had a transition thrust upon you (job loss, divorce, illness, death), does your life and your experience of it look fundamentally different than it did say 10 years ago?  Probably not.  I know mine never did until I started to learn how to make decisions differently.

How to Decide

Let’s assume if you read this far that you are yearning for a way to make decisions in a way that:

  • Feels right
  • Brings you the results you seek
  • Is less stressful and more efficient

It can be done.  Believe me, I used to engage in analysis paralysis in the past.  I would agonize, torture, feel guilty, over-indulge in information, weight options, make pro-con lists, consult experts, consult friends, consult family members, ask my cat, and generally drive myself insane trying to make the RIGHT decision.  Besides feeling absolutely awful in the process I often missed opportunities or compromised my real desires as I undertook this mental gyration exercise.  Sometimes the stress got so great that I simply decided not to choose (but not without torturing myself first!).  I mean WHAT IF?  Oh, the power of those two words followed by a question mark.  The fear! The doubt! The energy wasted!  All to stay exactly where I already was…just much more miserable!

I tell you this not to expose myself  or make you feel sorry for my previous self but to give you context to what I am going to say next.  So that you can realize that making decisions never used to come easily to me. That I am not throwing out some Pollyanna idea to you here.

If you want to experience something better, greater, richer in your life in terms of your experience, your results, and your ability to serve others, you must make decisions based on where you want to be not where you are right now.  That’s right you need to make the decision the version of you that you want to have in the  future (your “future self” if you will) would make.

Now this is a crazy-ass leap of faith, right?

Your mind goes – but what if? what if? or I can’t! I can’t! or I don’t have the time/money/resources/support!

That’s absolutely right…your mind (and lots of well-meaning people too) will tell you that you can’t. It wouldn’t be wise, it wouldn’t be smart, it doesn’t make sense and so on and so forth.  And that is because it is downright scary to take a leap of faith. If it was easy it wouldn’t require faith, right? It is terrifying to make a decision to step up into what you say you want because now – holy moly – you actually need to walk your talk and do what it takes to make your desires a reality.  You need to die a little to the person you were before and what you knew before.  And that is freaking terrifying.  Palms sweating, heart palpitations in the night, shortness of breath, pacing the rooms of your house terrifying.

But you know what? That is exactly the reason why you need to choose powerfully …

Trust me, I know this feeling… I’ve been down the road before and frankly this very week as I prepare for 2011 I am choosing to take a leap of faith that would have put me six feet under pushing up daisies anxiety wise just a few years ago.  Am I still terrified? Absolutely.  Am I making my decision based on faith, not fear? What I do want instead of what I don’t? Y. E. S.

How to Make the Shift

So, how did I make the shift from analysis paralysis to fully anchored leap of faith?  By moving past the unimportant and focusing on what matters most.  I will also add that I have had a LOT of support from my coaches, mentors, and spiritual teachers in this regard. Because of this I have designed a tool that I use with my clients to help them make the shift to more powerful, torture-free decisions.  Here’s a snippet of wisdom from that process.

  1. Learn to listen to your inner wisdom. The REAL decision you are meant to make, that you most want to make will only show itself to you if you learn to get quiet and tune in. Otherwise you won’t be able to separate the noise from the wisdom.
  2. Trust what you are hearing. It takes faith and practice, but you can and will cultivate confidence and discernment of what will serve you best. You really do have to trust the guidance you receive.
  3. Weigh the options. That’s right, you still want to consult your head on most decisions…after all, I’m talking about making powerful decisions not seat-of-your-pants wild-ass guesses that lead to “I told you so” victim-hood later on. The key is don’t listen only to your head or you will hop on the indecision treadmill. Integrate head, heart, and spirit.
  4. Decide from where you want to be not where you are. Ask yourself if this is something that you want to be/do/have?  If the answer is yes and your decision does not hurt or infringe on someone else in the process, what are you waiting for?

I personally just decided that I am not willing to die not knowing.  To die not knowing if I could reach my personal potential, make a difference in the world, and live fully enjoying and experiencing everything I possibly can and leaning into the inevitable sorrows 100%.

That is the commitment I have made to how I want to live my life and run my business.

What about you?

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