How to Make Big Decisions
Are you thinking about making a big decision, but you’re hesitating for any reason or you think it’s hard?
Recently, I've had a few clients come to me with some big decisions they have to make. Some of them are about their career and some are about moving. Since they’re about different areas of life, it made me think about the trouble with big decisions and how we come to this place of having to make a decision on a new career, where to live, or a relationship.
It's overwhelming wondering, “What decision do I make?” or “Do I make this or that decision?” You often have only two options. But sometimes, there are so many decisions, and then each of those choices comes with dozens of options which makes decision-making so hard.
Today, I'm going to talk about the three stages to making these big decisions. Then I'll share a little bit about how to do well at each stage.
Stage 1: Change Stage
When you have a big decision, it is often putting you in the first stage, which is the change stage. For example, you are looking for your first job, you've just left a job, you were fired from a job, laid off from a job, or you're thinking about what new career you should have.
You may have lots of emotions like grief, disappointment, anger, frustration, or if you are moving into a career change, there might be some excitement, overwhelm, fear, or feeling like, “Finally, I'm here. Finally, I get to make the decision for myself.”
Check in first with your emotions: “How do I feel here? What is the change I've experienced” Then give yourself some time to be in this stage because if you're holding resentment, anger, fear or whatever it may be, you might have to work through that before getting into the next two stages, or at least to keep this stage and these feelings in mind as you go into the next two stages.
For example, if you got laid off or were fired from a job, you might have that anger. You also might have hesitation in “Am I good enough for this next career?” What we really want to do is make sure you're self-aware in this stage so you can really feel and know what's happening to yourself, and then honor it. This might mean you do some sort of ritual or ceremony to show you are leaving that behind and moving forward.
I often talk with clients, and we decide on something like writing a letter and then ripping it up and burning it. I encourage you to do this in a space that is safe and free to do it or in a fireplace. If you can, some people will then take the ashes and pour them in water. A really cool idea came up once about going out in low tide and writing a message in the sand and then having the waves come and wash it away and maybe be witness to that.
If you're going to do one of these cleansing or letting go ceremonies or rituals, then I encourage you to have something fun to enjoy after. One example of this is if it’s summer and you decide to do it at the beach, maybe you go into the water as the fun part at the end or you have a barbecue at the beach with your friends after.
Another thing you could do is go to the spa and be treated to some self-care. Maybe it's a massage, acupuncture, a facial, some time in the sauna so that there is some taking care of self that happens afterwards.
In this change stage where you have some feelings, some strong feelings, just make sure you give yourself some time to intentionally do something to help you release them. Maybe you get some counseling, you know yourself best.
Once you've dealt with the feelings and emotions, give yourself some space because if you were working really hard, then you need a little bit of a break, take that much-needed break and recharge because no one wants to make a big decision, feeling tired, or feeling hesitant or feeling scared.
Stage 2: Exploration Stage
The next stage is the exploration stage. I can remember when a man came to me, he had just sold a business (with his two friends) that brought them 75 million to split. At the time that I was talking to him, he didn't know what he wanted to do with his life in his early 30s. With all that money he could do whatever he wanted. He was feeling pressure because he just had a major win and a big success. He felt pressure to take on another business or to invest the money in something.
I said to him in a session, “You're in the exploration stage. There is no way that you can make that big decision right now. You need to find the information.”
In the exploration time, you have complete permission to just check things out, to learn, to research, to do information interviews with people who have a career you want or who've done what you want to do.
While this is happening, I want you to make sure that you're exploring ideal options. Not things that have you settling. If you say, “Oh, that seems ok for me.” or “I think I can do that.” We need to be thinking about what's ideal. Brainstorm without the thought of reality. Brainstorm without that idea of, “How am I going to make this happen?” Ditch all the how-tos and listen up for any limiting beliefs, saboteurs, negative self-talk, or anything that pops up that is going to inhibit you from coming up with all the ideas.
A lot of times in this stage when I'm helping my clients brainstorm, they have blinders on. They're not seeing options to the side of them. Sometimes they've got an opportunity so close to them that they don't see it. They're trying to look for something bigger, better, or different when they have the most ideal answer right in front of them.
It's really a good idea in the exploration stage to have someone else that you're talking with about it. It can be a coach or a counselor. It’s still important to do research and information interviews, but having someone to sit with you to make sure you’re looking at what's ideal is crucial. They will make sure you don’t succumb to those limiting beliefs.
Exploration is just that. It's time to explore different options. When I did this stage just recently with some clients, I asked, “What are all the ideas or the options you have for this decision? Okay, now, let's look at each one. How does it look? How does it feel? How much do you like it?”
Getting those ideas from them, getting the truth of where they're at with it, and at the same time I'm listening for limiting beliefs and resonance (positive energy). It helps us to get to a place to make a good decision. It sounds like this, “I've got four options. These two aren't for me right now. They're maybe a long-term plan. The first two can help me get where I want to be. Which is the best choice?”
I always look at the Wheel of Life as well. Sometimes my business clients say, “Oh, if I'm coming to you for business coaching, why am I looking at my wheel of life?” Well, the key thing with any decision you make, we want to make sure is in alignment with what's ideal for your future and what's ideal for every single area of your life.
For example, in your business, if you want to do something quite physical that demands a lot of traveling from you, yet in another area of life, you really want to have a child or you want to move away from family, which is causing you to then lose your built-in support system, is that going to be good and help you or hinder you in doing that job that is very physical or doing that career that has you travel a lot?
You always want to make sure that different areas of life are still honored while you go forward and take action on these big decisions that you have to make.
Stage 3: Action
This is the third stage: action. You’ll now want to take action on some of the options. It might not be the decision you end up with, but you have to take some action towards it to figure that out.
When you have options A, B, C, and D, if B is the choice, what's the first step that you can take? The first step might be:
You need to think about:
Again, having someone on your side at this stage is really helpful because in talking about the action, they're going to help you to come up with what really is the first action. There might be 10 actions that you could take, but one of them is the right one for now.
You also want to choose the one that is 150% something you're going to do because if it's not 150% that you're going to do it, then it's too big, it's overwhelming, or the limiting beliefs will come into play.
In making big decisions, there are three stages: Change Stage, Exploration Stage, and Action Stage. If the action stage tells you, “Oh, option B was actually not the best option. Maybe I want to try a different option now or I want to go back through the stages, you're allowed to do that. Just because you made that decision in November, and you realize by January, you made the wrong decision, you don't need to continue with it if it's not the right one.”
It's not always about picking right the first time. It's seeing where you're off course to where you really want to be, and then making the decision to come back to something that is better. Since we can make a new discovery later on, with more insight, more knowledge, more skill potentially, more connections, more of a network, we only then realize, “Oh, this isn't the right one for me.” You have the experience of it, so you then get to remake your decision based on this new exploration stage or information that you've come up with.
I hope that you will ask yourself, “Where am I in making a decision? Am I still in the place of needing to make changes and changing my emotion? Am I in that place of exploration? Or am I ready to take action? I do encourage you if you have the Dynamic You book to look at the five stages of change that I explained about in there. It'll also help you to know which stage you are in so you know how to move through those five stages of change.
P.S. Here’s a decision you might need to make at the moment, deciding to register for the Dynamic Women Online Summit 2023! We’ll be pulling back the curtain to share how to be a more dynamic woman, and how to optimize opportunities, so you can reach your goals more easily and quickly. Grab your FREE or VIP tickets today!
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