Thursday, November 5, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

One of the things that I always tell people is not to make decisions, especially really important, life-changing decisions when you are emotional. Sometimes you are forced to, of course, but if possible, always make decisions from a calm and collected place.

In making decisions, here are some things to consider:

1) I am a big believer in getting feedback from those in my life that I trust. We all need to develop at least two or three relationships with people who we know love us and want the best for us. Those who love us enough to be honest with us. My preference is to get feedback from someone who has a close relationship with God and knows and lives by His word.

Getting feedback helps you to see a different perspective. If you were to tell a particular situation to a group of ten people, everyone would have a slightly different take on it. That is a GOOD thing, because we often have tunnel vision in seeing the things we face in our lives. Getting feedback from others gives us a broader perspective and it also may generate solutions that we haven't even thought of before!

2) Don't make decisions hastily. Take your time. If you are making a decision from a place of urgency ("we must file bankruptcy today" or "we have to move to Indiana NOW") then you probably are not working with a clear head. Realize that the vast majority of the decisions that we make don't have to be made TODAY, and if we are having an urgent feeling we are much more likely to make a decision we will regret.

Of course, there are times when we have to decide immediately. All I am saying is to be very careful in rushing to a decision in the midst of a crisis. Whenever possible, take your time and think carefully.

3) Look for all the alternatives in making a decision. Talk with people, both friends and professionals. Ask for information and advice. You will much more likely make a good choice if you are armed with as much information as possible.

4) Ask yourself if the choice you are considering lines up with your moral code, ethical standards, and religious beliefs. In my case, I check my thinking against what the Bible says. If I am not thinking/acting in accordance with my core beliefs, it will be something I will regret down the road.

Be true to good morals, ethics and spiritual beliefs, and you will much more likely not deal with regret or guilt. When we violate our core values, it has a ripple effect that can last years.

5) Ask yourself if the situation you find yourself in is a pattern in your life. If so, take measures to break the pattern, but also to respond to the situation in a different way than you have in the past. Changing your response can be the first step towards breaking the pattern.

These are tough times. Make decisions carefully!