How to Make a Tough Decision

When my daughter was little, like seven or eight years old, she came to me with this question:

Mom, what’s a broken list?
Me: A what?
A bro – ken list.
Me: Ah! A Pro/Con list!

I explained to her how sometimes when you’re struggling to make a decision, it’s helpful to write out all the reasons FOR (pro) a particular decision, and all the reasons AGAINST (con) that decision.

She looked a little confused and said, “Wouldn’t it be easier to just listen to your heart?” – and snaps her fingers. (That was a proud-mom moment for me.)

Sure, listening to your heart and gut is a useful way to get guidance on making a tough decision. But when the Pro/Con list is showing you the data otherwise, it can be a scary path to take.

I remember when I finally made the decision to leave my corporate career and move to Africa to “work in nature conservation”. I was sitting on the sofa in my apartment in Chicago, going back and forth and back and forth. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Should I? Shouldn’t I?

I finally got sick and tired of the argument going on in my brain that I decided to say YES to each option. I would try on each option as if it was the thing I was going to do. I would feel in my body how it felt, and hopefully get a little more direction from how each one would make me feel.

‘I’m moving to Africa. I’m resigning from my job, selling my car, getting rid of all my stuff, packing my suitcase, moving to Windhoek, Namibia and pursuing my passion of nature conservation.’

It felt scary. It felt exciting. It made no sense. It felt so wonderful and expansive….

‘I’m staying in my job. I’m staying in Chicago. I’m re-committing to my career and the new promotion I just got. I’m not moving to Africa.

That made me feel dizzy. I felt scared. I felt sad and disappointed. I felt so much constriction in my body.

Now, I had already done a Pro/Con list long before this sofa exercise (“Reasons to move to Africa”). And all the data pointed unequivocally to staying put and re-committing to the 10-year career that I had already invested in.

There were HEAPS more practical reasons to stay in the familiar, to keep doing what was “working”. There were only two or three reasons in the Pro column: It feels exciting. It feels like it’s calling me. I love it.

But after doing this little “Feeling Yes/Feeling No” exercise, my body (and soul) took those couple seconds of indulging in the two different scenarios to give me an unequivocal answer of pure guidance: GO.

It was an instant breakthrough.

I resigned. I packed my bags. I went. I didn’t become a nature conservationist (although I ended up marrying a man who would become one). In fact, it would be the Feeling Yes/Feeling No technique that would steer me away from nature conservation and guide me straight into my career as a creativity and prosperity coach. It made absolutely no “sense” at the time. But it makes all the sense in the world now.

And listen, if I had made the decision to stay in Chicago in my corporate job based on the Pro/Con data, I would have made that work. It would have just been a different path…with different feelings.

So, if you’re struggling to make a tough decision, write out a Pro-Con list. It makes the brain very happy.

Then sit on your couch and give yourself a couple minutes to FEEL each side of the decision to DO or NOT DO what you’re trying to figure out.

You can then decide which technique’s advice you’re going to follow. But at least you know where all parts of you stand.

I wish you peace in whichever decision you make.

If you need help sorting out all the pieces of a big decision, or you’re feeling stuck or scared to move towards something that’s calling your soul, book a 75-minute Breakthrough Session with me and get the tools and guidance you need to move forward into the success you dream of.

If you're struggling to make a tough decision, write out a Pro-Con list. It makes the brain very happy. Then give your heart a couple minutes to FEEL each side of the decision to DO or NOT DO what you're trying to figure out. You can then decide which technique's advice you’ll follow. But at least you’ll know where all parts of you stand.Click To Tweet

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