Our life is made of our choices and decisions.
There are plenty to make, and plenty of ways to make them (probably more than 108).
In this article, I would like to share a few ways of making choices and decisions. I do not make a distinction between these two notions for the sake of simplicity, even if there is one.
In this article, I will present the most conventional methods.
If you have an important decision to make, you can pick one way, and see where it takes you.
If it is not enough, pick another and move forward.
You will see when you feel complete.
I. Don’t sweat the Small Stuff
For the small stuff in life, you want to automate and routinize as much as you can
We only have a limited amount of “decision units” each day. You can think about it as psychic energy that we can allocate to decision making. If you have to choose each morning whether you get up or not, how many times you let your alarm clock ring before you get up, what clothes you will wear, and between 12 varieties of cereals, 2 types of milk and what you will do today, by 9am you will be drained already by decision fatigue and the day has not even started yet (wait till you open Whatsapp, or social media if that is not done already, and you will have your breakdown).
Instead, what you want is to create a simple, yet powerful Routine that works for you aligned with your goals and intentions, so you can keep your precious decision-making units for the important stuff. For instance, I usually don’t open my Whatsapp until the afternoon, once I have accomplished my important work. Most of the time, my phone is on plane mode, and I might open Facebook 1x/month (if not less). Emails are opened at the end of the morning, or in the afternoon, unless I have an intentional email to write or I intentionally need information from an email to do an important task in the morning.
Then, you want to place your top priorities first in your calendar. I like to tackle my solo work and writing in the mornings, because they depend on my willpower only, and not on other people. That builds self-confidence. I keep my coaching sessions and meetings and social activities for the afternoon, once I have taken care of my solo priorities.
If you would like to know more about powerful routines, you can check out my article on Routines that changed my life.
II. Coaching 101
A Spanish coach and author, Raimon Samsó, that I discovered during my stay in Barcelona, has five helpful questions to help you make a decision, from his book 100 preguntas que cambiaran tu vida:
- Does this decision bring me energy or drain me of energy?
- Am I choosing freely, or constrained by any fear?
- Is what am I choosing leading me to excellence or mediocrity?
- Does this offer me durable satisfaction, or a transitory satisfaction?
- Am I choosing from fear or from love?
III. An app for decision making
There are many ways of making decisions, and many tools for helping you do that.
One powerful tool to help you think about your decision is called Twiice. It allows you to think your decision through, and acts like an online coach. I find it super helpful. What I like about it is that it integrates the emotional parts, as well as very rational elements, gut feelings, and planning as well as researching various options. Check it out here.
IV. Asking someone who knows you well
Another option is to ask some people who know us well for feedback. That can help some times.
At other moments, it might not be helpful, because some of the people in our surroundings love us so much, that they want to keep us safe.
If you happen to work with a coach, your coach might be your #1 go-to person to help you reflect on your decision. An average coach will give you advice, a good coach will help you gain more perspective on your situation, a great coach will ask you a question so powerful that it will make your decision so trivial in relationship to the potentialities that lie ahead of you. You might burst into laughter thinking:
“Ahahah, I thought I was about to make that decision and my life depended on it, but now I remember what is truly important in my Life and in my Mission.”
V. The Advice Process
In the Advice Process, you will ask two kinds of people to give their input on a decision you have to make:
- The people who will be affected by this decision.
- Experts who might have great perspectives to offer you
The beauty of the Advice Process is that you do not have to take their opinion into account. You simply have to listen to them. Then you get to filter out what seems relevant and what does not. It is not consensus, nor a majority seeking process.
VI. Asking someone who you don’t know – but who you intuitively trust
One thing that works is also to ask a person who you don’t know but whom you can trust for advice or feedback. I did that recently:
I was walking down the street, thinking about some dilemma I was facing (which later gave rise to the writing of this article). I noticed a woman selling lovely wire handicraft, and I stopped by to look at her items and chat with her. She had a really good vibe, and I asked her about her story, as I noticed she had a bit of an accent. She had come to Barcelona from Switzerland, and had been here for some time. Then, for some reason, I let her know that I had a dilemma. She said: what if you put your hands on your heart, and listened to what it has to tell you?
I did it, and I knew. I thanked her and bought an item that symbolized this moment.
Asking people you don’t know, who don’t have anything to do with your situation can sometimes be a great option.
Next week, I’ll post more unorthodox and spiritual ways for decision making.
In the meantime, if you have an important decision to make and would like some feedback, feel free to send me a Private Message.