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Decisions With Impact

Making Big Decisions

Certainly there are daily dilemmas you manage all the time. How do you handle the weightier decisions that have an even greater impact on your life? Following are several approaches you can use.

Allow yourself some discerning time. Acknowledge that you are going to take some time to consider things thoughtfully. It's a simple yet important step that lightens up the pressure enough to hear yourself think.

Reference past decisions you've made that have turned out well. What was the process you went through? Where in your body did you feel it when you made that wise decision (your solar plexus, your heart, your mind)? When are you at your clearest?

Make a four-column pros and cons list. List the pros and cons for both taking the particular action and not taking it. Ask yourself: What is appealing to me about this option? What is unappealing or something I consider a trade-off? Rather than the total number of pros and cons, sometimes one important factor may make the decision clear. Explore your options.

Using the process of elimination is a time tested approach and a good one. On the other hand, sometimes it helps to expand your options. I once described a decision I was making to a friend and told her I was choosing between A, B, or C. She said, "Those sound like good options... or maybe it will be D." Although I had just summarized my rationale, she helped me open to a new possibility which in fact is the option I chose.

Fast Forward.

If it was five years from now and the perfect situation, what would it look like? From that vantage point, look back and advise yourself what to do now.

Coin Toss.

I'm not suggesting you let your important decision depend on the flip of a coin. Rather, this technique can serve to bring you in touch with how you really feel about the situation. Notice if you are rooting for one option over the other while the coin is in the air. Be aware of your gut reaction when it lands.

Try it on. Imagine that you have made the decision toward which you are leaning. Live with it for a few days. Does it feel right? This is similar to the biblical story of Gideon "putting out a fleece," waiting for an endorsement from God before proceeding (Judges: 6).

Trust yourself.

In actuality, you may have already decided. All that's called for here is to let go of the wrestling and have the courage to move forward.

Being Content with Your Decisions

Whether your decision is based on your mind, gut, or heart, all of these are worthy factors. Your decisions do not have to be perfect in order for you to be content with them. Trust your instincts and make the decision that brings you the most peace.