Creative Decision-Making and You
There are countless ways to achieve effective decision-making out there. We’re all familiar with the legacy pros and cons lists. Another one I’ve used is AXIS from the Collaborative Problem Solving Institute, for Collaborative Ideation practices: Advantages, Extras, Inhibitors, Solutions. Whatever structure is used, it is often brain-driven. This can be purposeful. From a logical standpoint and in business, structures and processes make great sense especially when there are high stakes and multiple people involved.
But what about when we’re confronting individual decision-making? More than logic is at play. Our emotions and intuition kick into gear to the extent we can lose our objectivity. In some cases, emotions can be so strong they override logic and then we’re stuck in what feels like a dreadful eyeglass prescription.
How do we ensure we’re making wise choices that honour our inner most selves when faced with options that can greatly impact our personal and professional paths?
With thanks to a few mentors who introduced me to these over the years, here are four inspiring, creative ways of informing big, personal and professional decision-making.
- Step into who you are. Before you get to confronting your big decisions, how might you first reflect on your purpose, your future vision, your values, your innate strengths? This work is foundational to finding alignment with big decisions such as a new job, accepting a promotion, a new career path, moving countries for a loved one – all big commitments. If we skip over this work, we often come back to the same place of feeling stuck, only more time has passed.
- Head, heart and gut check. Head is logic, heart is feeling, gut is intuition. What happens when you reflect on your options in each of those three zones? Write your thoughts down. And if you have a few options, start to look at the themes and see what new clarity emerges.
- Go where your energy dials up. When you think about your options, which ones excite, inspire, and invigorate you? Which ones simply don’t? What are you learning about yourself in the process and where you want to go?
- Love who you are when you’re with people. In what ways are you able to express your genuine and authentic self in this new opportunity presenting itself? When you think of a sense of “fit” in this new space, do you feel a sense of belonging and confidence in who you are and what you bring? We often have a sense for this within minutes of being with people and it can guide us when we tune in and listen to it.
There’s a thought-provoking Buddhist expression, “The trouble is, we think we have time”. Why not make the most of yours by making decisions that feel right for you and a future you design vs fall into?
Today I enjoy the honour, privilege and fulfillment of a second career as a leadership coach with big gratitude for positive influences like these and more. Making the jump mid-life remains one of the biggest most daunting – yet BEST decisions of my lifetime. And yes, I used every possible decision-making tool I could get my paws on, including 1-4 above. It was when I opened myself up to new pathways for other ways of knowing that transcended logic – such as heart, intuition and energy – that clarity emerged.
Thanks to Lily Seto for first introducing me to the value of tuning into the head, heart and gut, to Bruce McLeod for encouraging me to pause and reflect on my energy field in context and to a dear family friend years ago, Julie Lovitt for the nugget of gold on self-love.
May you step into big decision-making with creativity and fervor!