Get Un-Stuck: 4 Step Decision Making

A few years ago, I was in the paint isle at a Home Depot and asked a store associate what the difference was between three seemingly similar types of spray paint. He said, “good, better, best,” and directed my attention to other isles to prove the product strategy is true throughout the store. The experience stuck with me.

As we navigate life, we make the best decisions possible with the options and information available to us. Often these are small decisions, like ordering takeout for dinner versus preparing something healthier; or going for a morning run versus catching up on sleep.

But if we are what we repeatedly do, then the substance of our life is really just a collection of small, seemingly trivial decisions. This also means the small choices are our training ground for bigger, more important decisions. You know, the ones that sound more like: should I stay with my partner because overall he’s a good person and it’s easier than breaking up.

Here’s the real kicker, when we are complacent or avoidant, we’re really just choosing to stick with what we have already. Sometimes that’s ok, but usually we’re not making the choice that would be best for us because we’re scared of making the “wrong” decision or we get completely overwhelmed by the big picture.

The next time you’re feeling stuck or grappling with a decision try this:

  1. Identify all the options.
  2. Understand the risks and benefits of each.
  3. Trust your gut.
  4. Pay attention to what happens and how you feel after you choose.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned and try to share with my clients is: there are no mistakes.

Each of us is always, at every moment, having the experience we need to have in order to learn and grow because our current experience is really just the result of our past actions and choices.

That doesn’t mean we don’t screw things up, trip over rocks or hurt people we love. But, it is kind of incredible news because it means we can choose to create a different experience if we don’t like the one we’re having.

By experiencing pain, regret and heart break we learn to how to get it right, we learn to love our imperfect selves, and we learn how to love and appreciate the people (ie. teachers) who support us along the way.

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