OK everyone asks for advice or suggestions from time to time. Whether it’s a case of gathering information, or being able to prove that, “my idea is best” we seek formal advisory groups, mastermind sessions, best friends and blogs.  And from time to time, I’ll admit, it would be nice to just have someone make the decision for you.  But, then again, do you really want to be told what to do?

Here are three quick decision making strategies with action steps.

1. Shift your consciousness (like that is a small feat!)  There is a famous saying attributed to Einstein, “you can’t solve the problem with the same thoughts that created it.”

Our ability to mute our hard-wired reactions by pausing is what differentiates us from animals, reports Frank Parnoy for The New York Times. In work ranging from Malcom Gladwell’s Blink to Google’s Chade-Meng Tan’s,  Search Inside Yourself, the research extols the benefits of the conscious pause where we think about reactions first.

Probably why we see natural, non-invasive techniques such as meditation, guided visualization, etc. gaining more prominence not only in the medical world for more pronounced healing, but as a development tool in the business world; from super wall street star Ray Dalio to commercial success Russell Simmons.

Since we bring our body, mind and spirit to work – instead of ignoring the abundance of medical research, I am curious to see how it benefits everyday life.  In recent research from the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Psychiatry (Epel E., Daubenmier J., et al.) there are salutary findings of the benefits of mindfulness approaches on cognitive stress and slowing cellular aging!!  (I don’t know, does that information make you feel more or less stressed?!)

Suggested Action Step:  Consider starting a small practice like 10 minutes a day.  Limit expectations.  Inspiration may be found in meditation, focusing techniques, reflective reading, etc.  On my resources page (http://sageexplorer.com/resources) you’ll find free videos and a bibliography to view.

 

2. Change the order of your questions.  Instead of starting out with, “what should I do” begin with “who do I want to be?”  This steps incorporates your core values and goals into the decision process.  At the end of the day, how do you want to feel about yourself and your handling of the situation?  What is your perception of the different possible outcomes?

Suggested Action Step:  Ask these questions before you start to tackle the actual dilemma. Keeping a journal or day book is very helpful here.  Patterns can be observed that may otherwise remain undiscovered.

Renown coach, Jim Rohn, professed to never be without his journal.  James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D. has facilitated multiple research programs describing the positive effects of journal writing on health.

 

3. I’m sharing this final tip from the study of Motivational Interviewing.   Most of us have taken out dozens of pages of notebook paper and filled one column with ‘I Should’  and the other column with ‘I Shouldn’t.’  I’m going to share an example on how to expand this technique.

Suggested Action Step: Make four columns.  For example, you are wondering if you should let a particular person know you are interested in leaving your current job.  Under ‘I Should’ make a column titled ‘Positive’ and another for ‘Negative.’  Do the same under the ‘I Shouldn’t’ column.

Now you’ll have a deeper view point of your desires and concerns.

Best,

Beth Tunis