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Big decisions are complicated. A tangled knot of hopes, fears, possibilities, and questions. Of course, like everyone you are influenced by the topical issues or prevailing opinion, peer pressure, and pre-existing notions you’ve picked up in life. This recipe may help you make decisions in a considered, more objective way.
Serves – people at all levels in an organisation
Preparation – understanding the issues surrounding the decision that needs to be made
Time taken – approximately 2 weeks, but more for complex matters
- the problem
- good listener or friend
- “future self”
- core values
- expert (optional)
- life coach (optional)
- Take responsibility for your decision. When you are facing something important, don’t just go with the flow. Don’t just react blindly. Stop, think, and then choose your path.
- First, consider the problem. Try and clarify in your own mind what it is; try to describe it to a good listener or friend or write it down. A good technique is to pretend an imaginary friend has the problem, then advise them. Look at the situation from different perspectives. It is important to get to the nub of the problem
- Then ask yourself – what do you want? What are you trying to achieve (your goals)? What do you want to avoid? What would your “future self” advise you to do? If you could use a time machine to speak with yourself twenty years in the future, what questions would you ask? What answers would you receive?
- Then ask what can you do? What choices do you really have? These are your options create at least three alternatives. Don’t settle for the first choice that comes to mind. Your decision can only be as good as your best alternative. Ask “Does this decision make sense?” Check your logic with someone who sees things differently. Consider your choices in light of your core values. Only make decisions that fit in with these values, otherwise you may get “cold feet” later.
- Recognize what is in your control, and what is not. Focus on the former. You can’t stop the rain, but you can use an umbrella.
- And finally, predictions. What might happen? After you act, what might the future hold? The consequences of some decisions are easier to predict than others. There are uncertainties and potential outcomes.
- If your decision is on a technical issue consult an expert (doctor, lawyer et al). For general support with life decisions you might want to consider a life coach.
- This won’t guarantee your decisions will be good ones. Eventualities are often not predictable, such is life. However, maybe this approach will increase your chances of a successful outcome.