Head or Heart
Do you make decisions with your head or your heart? For most of my clients their decision making process lies clearly in one of these two spaces-they are either emotional in the decision or they are logical in the decision. But what if we could honor both of these processes as we navigate through the toughest decisions we have to make? Debbie Ford in “The Right Questions” provides a framework for deciding that honors and unites both perspectives so that we can holistically make decisions that are life affirming and not life derailing.
The first question we need to ask ourselves when making a difficult decision is “will this choice propel me toward an inspiring future or will it keep me stuck in the past?” It seems pretty straight forward-am I willing to release those beliefs and ideas that keep me stuck in the past so that I can live into my future or will I remain frozen by fear? We often become so attached to what we know that moving into the unknown can be immobilizing. One of my favorite expressions is that you cannot create your tomorrow with your today mind. What that means is that one cannot even begin to imagine all of the wonderful and amazing opportunities that await us when we let go of our fears and our stuckedness in our today. Joseph Campbell said “you must give up the live you planned to live in order to live so as to have the life that is waiting for us”. What is waiting for you to live into?
The next question is “Will this choice bring me long-term fulfillment or will it bring me short-term gratification?” Our culture conditions us to be fixated on the immediate to get our needs met. Think of all of the decisions we make daily in which this is true; eating, saving for retirement, watching TV, etc. When we invest simply in our now and not in our future, we are giving away one of our most valuable resources-our ability to create fully our future. Despite all of the promises of today that we witnesses on TV and other advertising venues, we do have the ability to self-determine whether the behavior is a good fit for our future.
The third question is “am I standing in my power or am I trying to please another?” This is a big question as sometimes it is hard to separate other interests from the decisions we are about to make. While many of our decisions do involve others and other should rightly be consulted about the decisions we are going to make that impact them, the focus here is on pleasing someone else. This is a lose-lose proposition. When we make choices that simply please others, our spirit is not in the choice and others know it. Instead, think of ways to make the decision win-win.
The fourth question “Am I looking for what’s right or am I looking for what’s wrong?” speaks to the inherent bias we have when making decisions. I often advise clients that no matter what the decision we have our own biases about what we want to happen. Typically, people think about what they are moving into as all good or all bad. When this happens, we are prevented from seeing the potential in the decision and are not able to truly evaluate the decision in terms of advantages and disadvantages. The earlier we can unearth our biases and reflect on the decision from a position of total honesty, the quicker we can make a truly balanced decision.
The final question for this month’s blog is “will this choice add to my life force or will it rob me of energy?” Energy robbers are choices we make that drain us and do not align with what matters most. Aligning our choices with what matters most means that we have determined what has the highest value in our lives. It also requires that we are completely honest with ourselves about what behaviors lead us into our best selves and which do not. Taking the time to notice what energizes us and drains us is an essential step in ensuring that we are not robbing ourselves of energy.
What kinds of activities bring you joy? What kinds of foods rob you of energy? Who in your life brings excitement to the relationship? These are great questions for making sure that you are not living from a position of weakened energy.
We make decisions daily that have both immediate and future impact on our lives. Hopefully these first five questions have given you ideas to think about as you engage in your own decision making process. Next month, I will cover the remaining five questions!
To your Success!