Life Coach and author Martha Beck wrote about decision making recently in O Magazine. We asked local Life Coach and Myers-Briggs expert, Elise Touchette, from Shine A Light Coaching, to give us her take on the article and her tips on making decisions. Here's what she had to say.
Decision making doesn't come easy to everyone. Some people are constantly driving towards decisions. When this trait is overdone, these folks can make decisions without taking in enough information and/or without considering how the decision impacts their future.
Others want to keep their options open and try to avoid making decisions until they feel they "have to". When taken to the extreme, these folks become imprisoned by their lack of decisions and may experience stress or anxiety as a result. They fear that by making decisions, they are losing opportunities. In her article, Beck calls them "opportunity misers". You could also think of them as opportunity hoarders. Just like a person who hoards physical items can become imprisoned in their home, opportunity hoarders can be imprisoned by indecision.
So how do opportunity misers finally move forward? It takes a mix of intellect and instinct to move forward. You need to look at the situation logically, but you also need to be tuned into your instincts which are fueled by your values and goals.
Tuning into your instincts often means tuning into your body. Beck outlines one way to do this in her article. By reflecting on past decisions (good and bad) and how they felt in your body, you can fine tune your body compass in order to help you check your instincts and use them to inform the decisions that are in front of you.
You also need to tune into present realities. You need to look at where you are in your life and ask yourself if you feel like you are living a meaningful life. If you are, then maybe you don't need to make a decision right now. But if you are feeling miserable, then some sort of action needs to be taken.
In that case, make a decision and move forward in the smallest way possible and see how that feels when you check in with your body compass. If it doesn't feel good, make a different decision and take another small step.
Another way to decide is to use a model for a useful decision making process based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It looks a little something like this:
1. Define the problem - look at the facts
2. Consider all the possibilities - look at the larger picture
3. Weigh the consequences - apply logic
4. Weigh the alternatives - consider people and values
Once you have all of this information, then you can move forward with your decision.
Here's the catch: nobody naturally makes decisions this way. Each person has a natural tendency to do one or two of those steps really well and either ditches the rest or uses the other steps to support a decision they have already made.
However, if you do your best to use this model to gather all of this information first, you will be more likely to make a more sound decision that is also aligned with your values and goals.
How you make decisions is just one component of your personality. Understanding all aspects of who you are and how you prefer to operate in the world will help with decision making, communication, relationships, time management, and nearly anything else you can think of.
So, if you are living a meaningless, unfulfilled life, it's time to decide to do something about it.
Elise Touchette is a certified Life Coach and Myers-Briggs trainer. She helps people understand their innate preferences for taking information, making decisions, where they direct their energy/attention and how they manage their lives. By pairing this information with clarity around their values, she helps them create lives and careers that are more fulfilling and meaningful.
To read the original Martha Beck article click here.
If you'd like to take the personality quiz, click here.
Or you can visit Elise at her website by clicking here.