Help a Reader Out: How Do You Make Decisions?

Earlier this week a reader wrote to me with the following question that shouted "bring it to the people!" - particularly since I'm a Libra - known to be indecisive. I'll share some of my tips, then I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Jenny - could you write about decision making? I'm probably the most indecisive person on the planet.  I've realized that maybe this is stemming from a much deeper problem − like an unwillingness to commit to something.  It usually causes me to stress out about things that I wish I didn't.  It can range from a huge life decision "Should I graduate early?" or "Does God exist?" to "What should I make for dinner today?" or "How does this outfit look?"  How do people make these decisions and why can't i do it?!


6 of my Decision-Making Strategies (to kick-off the brainstorming):

  1. Get crystal clear on your values and goals. These are your compass to keep you on track and point you in the right direction.
  2. Ask yourself broad but direct questions: What do I really want? What is important to me about that? What do I know in my gut to be true?
  3. As Martha Beck would say, focus on what feels "shackles off" versus "shackles on." As you weigh your decision, picture yourself playing out each version. Think about what feels freeing versus suffocating. What excites you most? What factors are you considering based on fear versus based on your true values and desires? (For more: see Steering by Starlight book notes)
  4. Consult trusted advisers - but not too many, too early or too often. Consulting a few close advisers (friends, family or co-workers) on important decisions can give you a sounding-board for when you're stuck. The best advisors can help you think through each aspect of a decision from a neutral place. Just be careful not to rely on them too heavily or you will end up creating so much noise that you drown out your own gut instincts.
  5. Get quiet so you can hear yourself think. Give yourself space to reflect - I do my best thinking/processing while running, swimming, writing and driving. What works best for you?
  6. Trust: trust your gut and that the right decision will become clear when you're ready. One day you will wake up and just know. The decision will make itself at exactly the right time. Until then, try to relax a little bit.

Your turn: any advice for Jenna on how you make decisions or on how you commit to those decisions with confidence? I'm really looking forward to hearing from all of you - I have no doubt that your combined wisdom will be far more valuable than anything I could come up with on my own!