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Navigating the decision making crossroads

Updated: May 13

How more intuitive decision making can help you get unstuck.
A woman looking confused

Your gut feeling can be a valuable clue when faced with a decision and can help us make better choices by guiding us towards those aligned with our values and goals.

Like an alarm system, our body and intuition can give us the answer (and help protect us) if we tune into it, even when our brain is struggling to know what to do. Let’s test it…..

✨ When you think about decisions you made most easily, how did they feel?……..I’d guess that they felt instinctive, natural, comfortable, even energising? These likely align well with your values.

💥 And what about the ones which were difficult or felt hard? Did they take longer, keep you up at night or give you a feeling in the pit of your stomach? These likely conflict with your values or goals.

It’s easy to lead with the rational brain and overcomplicate with cognitive distortions, or views, or expectations from others such as:

•  “I have to or should be doing this”

• “It will all go wrong if I don’t do this”

• “I will be a failure if I don’t do this”

For some, a logical and analytical basis for decision making (head) works really well, it takes the emotion and subjectivity out which can help clear the clutter. But for others, it can cause overwhelm and encourage avoidance from sitting with how you really feel (heart). It can drown out the ability to listen to your gut and how the decision makes your body feel. The brain could be overcompensating by going into overdrive and being overly busy, simply to avoid dealing with the discomfort of the real underlying emotions. You almost risk thinking your feelings. Long term this can be a path to burnout, where you become so overwhelmed that your body imposes a hard stop just to protect itself. 

How many of us get swept along with just doing the do, doing what we’ve always done, or doing things because we don’t know how to say no - even if we know it doesn’t feel right? This is an example of living in our brains and tuning out of our bodies. Living life out of alignment can make us feel disconnected from ourselves, it can cause us to feel in conflict and ultimately it creates the very turmoil which makes navigating decisions hard.

So, what can be done about it? Well, what if you allowed yourself to stop and pause, to take a breath and to ask yourself one key question - “does this actually support the life I’m trying to create?” You can then shift from doing things because you think you should, or because you don’t know how to say no, to making it simply about alignment, purpose and how you really feel about it. 

So the next time you’re faced with a difficult decision try this:

➡️ take a deep breath, clear your mind of all thoughts and tune into your body

➡️ ask yourself ‘what do I want to do?,’ ‘how do I really feel about this?’

➡️ notice that feeling, sit with it, allow it to swell up 

➡️ try an alternative decision and do the same - how does it feel?

The aim is to relearn what decisions feel like to recalibrate your navigation system. So it can guide you in making more aligned decisions. If you’re struggling with a decision or need help trusting your gut, get in touch to understand how coaching can help. As a qualified career and life coach, I can skilfully support you to understanding who you really are and how to make more values aligned decisions. Get in touch to find out more, or to book one of my coaching programmes.

 Explore my self-paced digital workbooks below as a great precursor to coaching.

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