We make decisions everyday. Clothes to wear, food to eat, etc. Many of these seem automatic and possibly unconscious.Aligned decision making is a way to optimize this process for a more fulfilling life.
So, I ask you – what are the considerations you base your decisions on?
What is your filter?
This is very important. And this is the difference between habitual decision and aligned decision.
The world today is noisy. It is filled with instant gratification (and delivery!), always-on information, channels, 24-hour storefronts and fast food to name a few. This hectic abundance encourages us to respond at the same degree of speed:
Immediately. To Everything.
This leads to a very reactive, interrupt-driven existence. Not only is this unproductive, it is soul-sucking and exhausting, and chips away at our confidence in making decisions in the first place. 🌀 Can you relate?
Even communications these days have lost their boundaries, what once was a pager has now become the phone that everyone carries. Mail replaced by email and housed on the computer we carry in our pocket/purse. 24/7 availability can create pressure – when we allow it.
Decisions are so important. They help us to move forward, define our life and enjoyment of it. They shape who we are and the experiences we have. Decision means “to cut” – to let go of all of the other options and move ahead on the one we’ve chosen.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, defines Decision as : A conclusion or judgment reached after consideration
Today we’re talking about the quality of your decision making. Decision with a conscious filter, with alignment to what’s most important to you, can open up opportunities, experiences, relationships that are congruent with your ideals, your best life, your fullest life. And with this brings growth, fulfillment and space to enjoy it along the way.
The Energy Economy of Decision Making: What You Need To Know
Deciding takes up energy from the organ in our body that utilizes about 20% of our overall daily energy – the Brain. Mental energy is a finite resource and studies show that there are only so many resources available for processing decisions each day.
Have you noticed at the end of the day, the ability to choose healthy options over convenience can be more difficult? Or that strategy meeting at the end of the day that really takes a toll? (want to know more about our natural rhythms and cycles – check out When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing).
Another way to help with the processing of decisions is to know what is most important to you. Where to align your decisions.
5 Steps to Aligned Decision Making
1. What is a decision? Are you really making one?
Decision means to “cut” away all of the options and choose one. Are you on the fence? Have you really decided?
More about that here
2. What is important is rarely urgent. Check yourself.
Fear and urgency can cloud your perception by limiting it right off the bat.
If you are in either of these places, step back, relax.
When you are more calm, see #4 and #5.
This is a practice in responding v. reacting.
3. Pay attention to what it feels like. (Come to your senses)
Do you listen to your body when you make an important decision? It is often more swift and consistent. Ever felt your stomach turn? Or felt it all just “click into place”? Pay attention to ALL of you.
4. Know what you want.
You can have it all if you don’t do it all.
A full life requires saying no.
And knowing what to say no to is really rooted in knowing what to say YES to.
What are your top 3 / What is most important to you?
Is it more important to have time or money?
Does quality or quantity drive you?
So you look at what’s most important in all areas of your life (well-being, relationships, personal development, finances, fun, career/vocation)?
At what cost? What is the cost of making this decision?
In 2002, I moved 1500 miles to a new state and home all in the span of one month. I had been living in Minnesota, working in high-tech. Growing up in California, Minnesota winters had been quite shocking, and at the end of the third one, I decided to look at options. I began with my top 3:
- I owned a home, and would like to continue to own my home I lived in. (top 3)
- I loved the work I was doing and would like to continue to work in the field. (top 3)
- I wanted to continue with the lifestyle I had – to be able to save and vacation. (top 3)
- I didn’t have children (yet) so specifics and calendars were pretty flexible and could move quickly.
- I wanted to live on the water. (stretch / dream)
I was focused on getting back to California. I noticed that two of my top 3 weren’t currently possible – owning my home, and continuing to have the lifestyle I enjoyed. I was stuck. One night at dinner my boyfriend said, “hey what about Virginia, there are lots of areas on the water there and you’ll be close to family.”
The moment he said it, it all “clicked into place” and I felt a hell yes. I called my sister who already lived in Virginia, immediately and said, “Guess what? We’re moving your way.”
It checked all the boxes. It made sense. It was aligned. AND within 4 weeks, I’d sold the house in Minnesota (4 hours). Bought a waterfront property/home in a beautiful town in the Northern Neck of Virginia, took my job with me, and was assigned the Maryland, Virginia, DC area customers who I could now visit in person.
Do you have your top 3?
5. Put some space into your decisions.
Don’t know where to begin on a particular decision – begin with discovery through Cartesian questions (à la René Descartes (1596-1650), a French philosopher and mathematician):
- What will happen if I do this?
- What will happen if I don’t do this?
- What won’t happen if I do this?
- What won’t happen if I don’t do this?
Taking the time and attention to answer these for yourself will allow space for new perspectives and allow you to “turn” the subject in many directions, bringing clarity you may have overlooked in a reactive, rushed, decision.
Extra credit here -> review them with a trusted mentor or a trusted, objective friend who can listen without telling you what to do. Often when you can hear yourself say what you’ve found, you can gain even more insight and clarity.
Reflecting on the Journey of Decision Making
Moving from just making decisions to making conscious, aligned decisions can be a game-changer in ALL areas of your life.
When we’re aligned, it allows us to see all of the opportunities and resources that can help us along the way. I encourage you to practice these methods with your next decision. We’re always in transition and when we can take charge of our decision instead of allowing pressure, urgency, or other’s agendas to shape them, you’ll find a more fulfilled life.
It’s so important to have an ear, a person, a friend, accountability partner, coach, mentor to talk – THROUGH the options without being offered an opinion.
If you don’t have this in your life, find it. If you need help – you can start here.