Do you find it sometimes difficult to make decisions? Have you ever been thinking that on one hand you would like to do something…but on another hand, there might be a better option?
Today one of my clients looked very stressed when he arrived at our session; He was buying a flat and had to choose between two possible options. Lots of money was involved and naturally he found it very difficult to make the right decision.
My first step in those situations is to find out what stops people from making a decision; to elicit some limiting beliefs or potential deep engrained patterns. And most of the time, as it was the case with this client, the reason they struggle is the fear of making a mistake and having to face the consequences.
So here are a few tips I use to help myself and my clients in those situations:
1.Pros and Cons: The traditional approach of making two columns for each choice you’re contemplating: one for the pros and one for the cons. Writing it down might already help you getting some clarity about why you’re hesitating.
2. An opportunity to learn: Rather than worrying about making a mistake before and then worrying about having made a mistake after, you could choose a different approach: You could remember that mistakes are inevitably parts of our lives and also represent an opportunity to grow and learn. Perhaps the choice you’re about to make will turn out not to be the best one in the long run. But in the meantime and whilst you don’t know fully the outcome just yet, you will have learnt some valuable information that will allow you to make more informed choices in the future.
3.Future pace: Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Take yourself into the future, having chosen your first option. What does that look like? How does it feel to have made this choice? What opportunities did that bring in your life? Now, come back to the present and do the same with your second option. Which one do you feel more comfortable with?
4.Descartes quadrant: Being French and having studied mathematics, I can’t help using the wonderful NLP tool that Descartes quadrant is.
It looks like this:
• In the first quadrant, ask yourself: what happens if I do it?
• In the second quadrant, ask: what doesn’t happen if I do it?
• In the third quadrant, ask: what happens if I don’t do it?
• In the fourth one, ask: what doesn’t happen if I don’t do it?
For example my client answered the following whilst contemplating buying the flat on the top floor:
• What happens if I do it? I get a wonderful view
• What doesn’t happen if I do it? I can’t save money as this one is more expensive than the other one
• What happens if I don’t do it? I have money to buy a car
• What doesn’t happen if I don’t do it? I’m not going to be able to have barbecues on the roof
And according to his hierarchy of criteria and values, he managed to decide what was the most important for him and make his choice congruently. Even though the process is simple, I’ve found that whilst writing down the answers people tend to get a strong sense of what they actually really want to do.
5. And finally, listen to your gut instinct Most of the time there’s a feeling deep down that guides you towards the right decision. Locate this feeling in your body, where do you feel it the most? What texture is it? What image or colour is associated with it? In which direction does it move?
It can be very useful to learn to recognise it for the future to help you know what’s right for you. I must say I make almost all my decisions based on my gut instinct! what about you? what is your strategy to make decisions?