🤷♀️ Why do people get stuck when making a decision?
That’s a really good question, and there may be many answers to it! This is why I find it helpful to take a systematic and structured approach to the decision-making thought process. At every stage self-awareness is as necessary as the content that surfaces when thinking through a decision. Many obstacles and hindrances to decision-making often and subtly surface up into the light but can then be excused by the irrational self. In these moments, it can be a challenge to have clear perception.
Whether you are making a life-changing decision about your relationships, your career, your life goals yourself or your wellbeing, here is my 7 step personal decision-making approach for clarity. I hope it will save you time, stress and ultimately heartache, when trying think through your decision!
Step 1: Define your situation
This is where it begins!
The more self-knowledgeable you are, the faster you will pass through this stage. Here, you’ll get to weigh up the significance of this decision you’re making against who you are, what you stand for, where you’re heading, and decide whether this decision needs to be taken now.
If you are a person of faith, then you will also want to bring God into this entire journey.
Self-Coaching questions for step 1
What is/are… [aka Define]:
- the significance of this decision?
- your needs?
- your priorities?
- your wants?
- your vision, mission & values?
- the implications if you do not make a decision about this?
- the ideal decision?
- the timing of your decision?
Step 2: Clarify what you’re making a decision about
Clarifying what the driving and resisting forces of this decision are, what is influencing the decision and how much power those influences have over you and your decision, as well as gaining insight into your decision-making strengths and weaknesses will help clarify what your decision is really about.
Self-Coaching questions for step 2
- how does this decision align with your values?
- how does this decision align with your goals & vision?
- how does this decision align with your purpose & mission?
- what are your decision-making strengths and weaknesses?
- what are the driving forces in your decision?
- what are the resisting forces in your decision?
- what are the influencing factors in your decision?
- what gaps are there in your knowledge, skills, competencies and experience re this decision?
- who is/are influencing this decision?
Step 3: Identify outcomes of your decision
This activity will help you to separate what are assumed, and what are certain outcomes of your decision. Broken down into short, medium and long term outcomes, this step will help you to reflect on your emotional and psychological commitment to those outcomes.
You’ll also gain some insight into your change readiness.
Self-Coaching questions for step 3
Identify the short, medium and long term outcomes with:
- what will this decisions’ impact be on your physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological health?
- how will it affect the people directly involved in your life?
- what it will mean for the regular routine you live by or your daily activities?
- what are the material considerations of your outcomes (e.g. possessions & value of them)?
- what are the financial considerations of your outcomes (e.g. regular income, savings, investments, retirement)?
- what are the career & job considerations of your outcomes?
Step 4: Consider the options, alternatives, consequences & opportunities of the decision
Here is where you identify all the risks in your decision, as well as the impact of this decision to your and others before actually committing to it.
Self-Coaching questions for step 4
- what are the pros and cons?
- what are the risks? How to mitigate them?
- what are the positive and negative impacts?
- where can opportunities be found?
- how will it cost you in time & personal resources?
- what sacrifices will be required?
- what would you ideal choice be if you had to choose?
Step 5: Understand any emotions behind your decision
Your heart is greatly influenced by your past experiences, your desires, your passions, your pains, your personality, and a myriad of other factors and qualities.
Here is an opportunity to check the balance between your emotions and your rationale, moving forward without looking back in regret.
Self-Coaching questions for step 4
- what pressures may this decision be feeding on?
- what needs may this decision be feeding on?
- how can I be more balanced (head vs heart)?
- what emotions are influencing here?
- what are my fears?
- where might I be experiencing limiting beliefs?
- how will my feelings change after this decision?
- how are my past experiences influencing my emotions & feelings?
- when am I likely to change my mind because of others’ feelings?
Step 6: Capture other viewpoints & objective opinions
There is GREAT VALUE in seeking counsel.
Seek the opinion of those:
- immediately involved in this decision
- indirectly involved in this decision
- experienced in this area
- whose wisdom you appreciate & respect
- in the ‘helping’ professions
Self-Coaching questions for step 6
- what do the people most involved in this decision have to say?
- what do people indirectly involved in this decision have to say?
- what do people with experience of this decision have to say?
- what do people whose wisdom you appreciate and respect have to say?
- what do professionals from the ‘helping’ professions have to say?
Step 7: Prepare & commit yourself to your decision
Often, limiting beliefs and self-sabotage about a decision happen before the very moment of committing to a decision. This is unlikely to happen if you’ve gone through the previous 6 steps to decision-making clarity. You will know what actions are needed to move forward confidently and courageously.
Self-Coaching questions for step 7
Prepare & Commit:
- what are my critical activities moving forward?
- what personal preferences do I have?
- how can I exercise greater freedom of heart?
- where do I need to exercise more resilience?
- where do I need to exercise more courage?
- what are my coping strategies?
- how often should I review my progress and approach?
- what does my task list look like?
Need an objective opinion to walk through the above with?
Depending on your situation (particularly the time limitation) and the gravity of the decision you have to make, you may be interested in an intensive breakthrough coaching session to get to decision-making clarity quickly, and for putting a sketch plan in place.
Intensive Breakthrough Coaching Session for decision-making clarity (2.5 hrs)
What is included in your session?
- Initial email outlining your preparation for the session
- Any relevant tools or materials required for activities in your session
- Face to face to face session in West London OR video meeting call (prices vary by location & added onto base price. Video meetings via Zoom are no extra cost.)
- Follow up email with reflections from the session and suggested actions
My intensive breakthrough coaching session is great value at a base price of £325. For this amount you will gain:
- peace of mind and of heart that you have made the most informed and thought-through decision you could possibly have made
- clarity on 99.9% of elements, factors, influences and options worth considering
- an impeccably designed set of action points / plan to make any changes smoothly based on who you are and where you’re heading
- greater knowledge of your blindspots and choke points, with an increased desire to manage those
- confidence because you’ll have cleared mental and emotional obstacles preventing you from moving forward
- enhanced or maintained good quality relationships (personal or professional)
- holistic & well-balanced perspective, energy and momentum
- avoidance of more time and money spent down the line from a decision that ultimately cost you more than you could afford
- relief from stress and heartache that would have been an outcome of a poorly-made decision