I recently wrote about the book 10-10-10 by Suzy Welch and how her process for decision making helped me during a time of tough choices. One of the biggest challenges with difficult decisions is in acting with authenticity. You want to own your choices and feel like you're not making them to please someone else. How do you do this? You must find alignment in three areas in order to ensure your decisions are genuine and support your purpose.
The first is your mind – what do you think you should do? Of the three questions, this one is the easiest. We live in a culture that encourages us to voice our opinions, and it normally doesn't take much time to figure out what we think we or anyone else should do. If we are clear with ourselves first and understand what choice needs to be made, we will be clear with others.
The second is your will – what do you want to do? There is a difference between what we think we should do and what we want to do, but unfortunately they don't always align. What we think is typically almost a knee-jerk reaction, but what we want is a little more personal because it takes into account things like pride, ego, and selfishness. Sometimes we need to vent to someone else to fully understand what we want and hear another viewpoint. But in the end, we must own it. Without buying into your own wants you will never truly want your decision and commitment will be a bear to sustain.
The last area is probably the toughest to identify but also the most important to making and owning a decision as it provides objective clarity. It focuses on your heart –what are you called to do? Answering this question involves your purpose. We move through life every day making choices that don't necessarily involve our calling. It is when we're faced with a tough choice that we must understand our purpose and how it plays into the decision. When we made the choice to move to Florida it forced me to understand that my purpose is to be a husband and father, which is more important than running a business unit in my company. I thought we should move, over time I began to want to move, and finally I knew we were called to move.
The next time you're faced with a decision, whether it's life altering or not, see if your mind, will, and heart line up and if it's something you think, want, and are called to do. Answering the questions will promote clarity and ownership while helping to move the ball down the field.