The Decision Making Process
As a business and lifestyle coach, how to make “tough” decisions always comes up for my clients – in all areas of life. Decision making can be difficult because it usually involves giving up something. That’s what makes it hard — there can be a sense of loss to deal with, uncertainty of the future and confusion whether you are doing the right thing – especially if there are other people involved.
The following are 7 strategies that I use when faced with tough decisions – business, life, purpose, relationships – all the big stuff. Each strategy can help you get in touch with what is right for you – to hear and listen to your inner voice and intuition.
- Journal. Write down your feelings without censoring anything. This can give you incredible clarity– especially if you commit to writing every night or morning for 1-4 weeks. The key is to write without censoring any of your true feelings…so if you’re concerned about privacy, journal on a password protected word document. Write in “stream of consciousness mode”. Write anything comes up – anything at all – fears, feelings, pros, cons, etc.
- >Ask for input from friends and family who really know you, have your best interests at heart and want to see you happy. Asking for advice is a great way to look at all angles and viewpoints – especially if your friends/family are spacious. Talking to those close to you allows you to explore your concerns. Even just hearing yourself say things out loud can give you more clarity – and it releases the pressure of trying to figure everything out in your head.
Your friends and family can also play the “devil’s advocate” and/or point out patterns they’ve noticed over the years. Therapists or counselors are great additions/alternatives as well. Of course, remember that any advice you hear is useful “input”, but what is most important, is to listen to your inner voice and do what is right for you. No one knows the whole situation or what is exactly right for you, except for you.
- “10 minutes, 10 weeks, 10 years” – Suzy Welch’s decision making formula from her book “10-10-10.” How will you feel about your decision (try your decisions on for size) in 10 minutes, 10 weeks and in 10 years? I love this formula.
- Listen to your body. This is one of my absolute favorites and my own personal “litmus test”. Our body always knows. How do you feel about the decision (again, try it on for size). Relief? Tightness in the body? Nausea? Lightness? Do you feel a sense of contraction, or a sense of expansion? What is your gut feeling? When I feel excited but nervous about something – that’s GOOD. When I feel dread and contraction – not so good. Expansion version contraction.
- Notice your dreams. Dreams are very powerful because they contain important clues about our real feelings – subconscious thoughts that may not yet have come to the surface during our waking moments. To help you remember your dreams, keep a notebook and pen by your bed and write down your dreams as soon you wake up. I’ve even had friend’s dreams about be me be extremely informative…and if you believe that we’re all connected (as I do), it makes sense that a friend’s dream can also inform us.
- What would your “higher self” say to you? If you were advising someone else, if you were THEIR coach, and you knew everything about the situation, what would you say? What is the “healthier decision” for you? What decision feels like it would be more honoring of you? Which would invoke more self-care, would take care of you and honor your own journey the most? Remember that this decision is for NOW, and you can change your mind in the future – it might be perfect for you 4 months down the line.
- Give yourself space to decide. While I’m a big believer in “Going Towards the Roar” (facing whatever you are scared of), sometimes space around a decision (instead of a “knee-jerk” reaction) allows you time to really know (feel) what the best decision is for you. Spend silent time in nature or sit and breathe/meditate. This is probably the truest way to really know what is the right decision for you (along with how your body feels). When you are alone and still – your real feelings can come to the surface because they aren’t drowned out by distractions or noise. Allow yourself to know what is right for you, what honors yourself, your life, your truth and others.
Know that you do have the answers inside. It’s sounds so cliché, but you always do. You and your body know… and if you allow yourself time to FEEL your way to your decision, you will make the right one, for you, at this time.
I’d love to hear from you now. Which one of the 7 strategies will you use when faced with decision making? Let me know in the comments!
Trust yourself, trust your body…
Be Happy… Be Vibrant…