How to Make a Decision

Julia Manzerova /

A little while ago I had someone share a Texas saying with me:


“If you spend too much time with one foot in your past and the other foot in your future, you’re effectively pooping on your present.”


I’ve been mulling this over. It remind me of another phrase I think I picked up from a Po’ Folks restaurant menu: “If you ride the fence, you’re bound to get some splinters.”


My world is very action oriented. (Even when I want it to slow down to a turtle’s pace!) Both these phrases stick with me because they’re motivating, the message is for movement:


Take hold of today with both hands and experience it! Come to grips with who you are and decide which hills you’re willing to die upon!


I want to encourage you to consider your own life.


Are you inadvertently “pooping”on something valuable today because you’re reminiscing about yesterday or daydreaming about tomorrow? Is there a decision you know you should be making but have pushed off?


If you answer is “yes” to either of those questions… why don’t you do something about that?


Here are three tips that help me when I’m considering a change:


1. Decide if the move you’re making fits your values. Value-based decision-making can’t happen with the snap of your fingers. It takes time sitting with yourself, quietly, figuring out what motivates you and makes your pulse quicken. Do a simple exercise on your circles of influence. In your life, what do you have direct control over? What do you have control over if you have help? What is completely outside your control? Then consider – do the things I have control over play out in a balanced way in my decisions? If not, start changing.


2. Seek wisdom. My standard rule of thumb is to consult three people who are able to offer wise counsel about the decision facing me. Don’t just choose the cheerleaders in your life who will rubber stamp any decision you make. Talk to the people who challenge you, frustrate you, and are hands down on your team. When you see a pattern emerging from their counsel, you can see the path emerge in front of you.


3. Give yourself a realistic timeline. Before you make the decision, spend some time thinking about the logical consequences of the decision. For example, if you decide to quit your job, write yourself a note talking why you’re making the change and about the emotions you may feel – elation, loneliness from loss of community, satisfaction, failure, disappointment, financial insecurity, etc. It’s important to write yourself a note so when you feel these things you have a check point to reassure yourself. “See, I knew I would feel this way!” is a powerful tool! Give yourself the space to work through the transition and put that in your note, too. When we’re in the thick of the change we lose sight of our larger motivation.


Do you have any changes you need to make to value your present?


This post was originally published February 21, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!



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