Most of us have never been taught to make wise decisions in our work or personal lives. Could you benefit from using a system that combines logical thinking with intuition? Ask yourself these empowering questions adapted from Dr. Spencer Johnson's book: YES or NO.
1. What do I really need from this decision?
Distinguish between a want which is a WISH and a NEED which is a necessity. You may want a luxurious home, but may need a peaceful haven. You may want to buy a variety of inexpensive shoes, but you may need good quality Ferragamos to keep your feet from hurting. Successful people get their true needs met. When we pursue what we think we want, we feel empty even after we have it. Be sure to focus clearly on what will actually fulfill your needs and avoid being distracted by everything else.
2. What are my options?
Asking this question puts you in a resourceful state to allow yourself to find effective solutions. Be open to having new thoughts flow into your consciousness. If you hear yourself saying: I have no options..., recognize that you are simply not aware of them right now. Inform yourself of options by gathering information, talking with others of working with a coach. A good example about the importance of getting information before making a decision is the classic story about Henry Ford. He took three regional managers to dinner and afterwards decided which one to select to be his national manager. When the successful candidate later asked Ford why he had been chosen, he replied: All of you were successful at selling, but you were the only one who tasted his food before salting it. I like a person who gets information before making a decision. What opportunities have you missed by not first getting the information needed before reaching a decision?
3. Take each option and ask: Then what would probably happen?
Use your logical mind to narrow down your options to two or three. Then, use your imagination to focus in great detail on what would happen it you acted upon this choice. See what unfolds and feel the consequences as if you have already experienced this decision. Take it well into the future by asking: then what?...at least two more times
4. Have I thought it through completely?
Take time to be aware of the worst case/best case scenarios and what you would do in either case. How would that be for you? The result of even one decision has a domino effect on ourselves and others. Our lives are shaped by our decisions every day.
5. What does my decision reveal about my beliefs?
It's been said that we are what we believe. Your core beliefs form your self-image--your identity. They define how you feel about yourself and influence your decisions through your subconscious. Beliefs are largely choices we've make long ago and have forgotten. Your decisions mirror your personal thoughts and feelings; they reveal (to yourself and others) how you really view yourself and the world. By looking at the pattern of your past decisions you can identify limiting beliefs that are getting in the way of your wise decision-making. If you are not able to see your own truth, ask what they see or get a coach to help.
6. How does this decision fit my purpose or personal mission?
If you have declared to live your life from a place of integrity, for example, ask yourself: Does this decision I'm about to make cause me to make a deposit in my personal integrity account? Check for congruence between what you say you believe and what you actually do. Being clear about who you are and what you stand for allows you to make better decisions.
Your intuition is your personal guide to help you sense what is right for you. To access it, determine how you feel about the decision. For most people, the best way to do this is to sit quietly, close your eyes and go within. Open to your body's wisdom. Do you feel calm or anxious? If you feel stressed or confused as a result of focusing on this decision, it's your inner wisdom letting you know this is probably not right for you now. On the other hand, if you feel lighter, peaceful or inspired, this is your validation to proceed. Think back to a time you made a successful decision and remember how that felt. Let your intuition be your teacher.
8. Am I setting my ego aside and listening to my Higher Power?
By accessing your intuition, you have learned what is inside of you; now for further guidance, especially for critical decisions, you need to go beyond yourself to make sure your ego isn't interfering. This step is a very private and personal one and you must decide for yourself how best to do this. Some people pray, meditate or commune with nature. I ask my Higher Power for guidance and then keep still to listen what comes to me.
9. Do I really expect a positive outcome?
Often we unwittingly sabotage our own success. We do this with positive intent to protect ourselves from fear, pain or disappointment should it not turn out. We know now that our dominant thoughts influence with events we experience and that it is better to act AS IF the desired outcome is already assured. The key word here is expect, not want. You may want to win the lottery, but you may not expect to be a multi-million dollar winner.
10. What would I do if I deserved better?
Some undermine their efforts due to a hidden belief that they don't deserve more. To see if this is true for you, look at your life. Do you find that you stop at a certain level of success? Do you have an internal thermostat that causes you to cool down whenever you go beyond your comfort zone? Most of us resist this idea that we don't let ourselves have anymore than we really believe we deserve. If you believe in your decision, then act on it!
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