Are you making decisions that are right for you? Here are six tips to help you with successful decision making.

decision-makingHave you ever wondered if you are making the right decision? Maybe it’s about buying your first house or leaving one employment for another.  Depending upon the type of decision you need to make and the choices available, you might feel overwhelmed in the process and not know which way to turn.  So how can you be reassured that you have made the right decision when it affects a major aspect of your life?

Here are six tips to help you make the decision right for you.

6 Tips for Making Decisions

  1. What is important and valuable to you?What you value may not be of much importance to someone else. Know what you value most and hold it close to you.  Try using a simple decision making tool, such as listing the pros and cons of each choice.  If it’s a new job that you are considering, this would mean listing the pros (what you value) and cons of staying in our current job and then listing the pros and cons of taking the new job.  Weight each of the pros and cons by assigning a score between one and five. Follow your instincts as you tally up the pros and then the cons for each choice.
  2. Don’t lose focus of your future. Many people tend to make choices based on life as it is right now instead of looking to the future. Does your choice and its outcomes align with the goals that you have set for yourself in the future? Decisions need to be ecological.  In other words they need to take into consideration every aspect of your life and that includes your future.
  3. Have you considered all of the alternatives and different scenarios? When you start to think of alternatives you just might consider a different outcome. By including alternatives it introduces the freedom of choice.
  4. Give yourself time decide. Depending on when the decision needs to be made tell yourself that you’ll decide in an hour, in three days, or in a week from now or whatever time is reasonable under the circumstances.  Pick a time or date and decide not to decide until then.  Then use the time to collect the necessary information you need to help you make your decision, but remember you aren’t making a decision until the specified time.  This is very powerful and allows you to make the decision on your own timeline. In the meanwhile, take a walk in the county, go for a run, meditate or do whatever activity that allows you to connect with yourself to be still inside.  This is where you will find the answer.
  5. How important is this decision and are you willing to work on it?Don’t get caught up with how important a choice is, instead think about the positive impact it will have on your life.  If the choice doesn’t have a positive outcome, is it really the right choice for you?  Return to tip number 3 and think about the alternatives.  This might also be a good time for you to call your coach to help you identify a few alternatives and work through the decision making process.
  6. Don’t forget to use your intuition. Listen to your gut feeling.  Let it guide you.  Life is made up of a series of choices and choices are based on one of two things: love or fear. On the surface they might look different, but if you take the time to get to the core of your decision making you will find they are generally driven by a feeling of insecurity, loss, regrets of the past (fear) or by the desire to make a difference, to contribute, or to help another (love).

When making decisions what’s important is that they brings out the best in you and allow you to be best that you can possibly be. The choices you make today not only define who you are in the present – they determine your world game in the future.

Leading by Example – Here is an example of how I stepped out of my comfort zone in a practical way

Life begins1

If you read my last blog you know it was about “stepping outside of your comfort zone”.  When we refer to taking that “big step” we conjure up the idea of it being something significant – like a career change or leaving our employment to further our education.  It also applies to our day-to-day activities and so I’d like to share with you one of my recent experiences as a way of affirming the message in my previous blog.

You may already know that I am a motorcyclist and have been for the past five years.  With each passing year it plays a bigger part of my life and translates into miles and miles of enjoyment.  Last year I treated myself to a pre-retirement gift and purchased a new Harley Davidson Electra Glide Classic.  I had intended on buying it after I retire from my role as an Executive Director in government, which is still about a year away, but a colleague when hearing about my plans asked a valid question.   “Why wait for retirement?”  She suggested I should be asking “why not now?”  She was right.  My new motorcycle has heightened my riding experience and I have no regrets in having made the investment earlier.

Of course, with it comes the responsibility of regular maintenance which is essential to its continued performance and for retaining its value.  If you are familiar with the Harley Davidson motorcycle there are three oils that need to be changed.  Yes, three of them!  And with my increased mileage the oils need to be changed frequently.  I wondered to myself what it might take for me to be able to do this on my own.  After all, I did work in a service station when I was a teenager.  Admittedly, that was a very long time ago and if I’m honest, the thought made my heart pound!  This was clearly outside of my comfort zone.  It’s an expensive machine and if I was going to do it, I had to get it right.

I thought about my recent blog and the question of all questions came to mind:  Who was I to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone if I wasn’t prepared to do the same?

As I mentioned, I certainly felt like this was out of my comfort zone.  In fact, it was way outside of it.  So, I did what any sensible person would do…I Googled it – an initial step in my research.  I started by watching a few YouTube videos and came across one that was clear and easy to follow.  It was detailed and covered the entire process step-by-step.  As well, I asked questions of folks who serviced their own motorcycles.  In other words, I spoke with people who were experienced.  As well, I sent the video to a friend whose opinion I value a great deal.  He agreed, the video was good and in his estimation this was something I was capable of doing.

From there, I did a cost/benefit analysis and itemized what I would need to do the job.  Besides the oil and filter, there were things like an oil filter wrench, a torque wrench for the derby cover to prevent stripping the bolts, a pan to catch the used oil and a funnel for adding the new.  The initial outlay was about the same as I would pay for an oil change at the dealer.  When I started to look around I found a torque wrench on sale.  It was a big ticket item and as a result increasing my return on investment.  In the mid to long-term, there were definite savings to be realized by me servicing my own motorcycle.

Before attempting this undertaking (yes my heart was still pounding), I arranged to have one of my trusted motorcycle friends come over and coach me through the processes.  I wanted to make sure that if I had questions there would be someone experienced on hand.  That morning I also watched the video again to make sure I had a clear picture of what I was going to be doing, minimizing the risk.  I went through the entire process methodically, arranging the tools, keeping my work space organized, and double checking each step thoroughly.

I’ve pleased to say that it went very well and it felt great!  I was proud of myself for having taken it on and for completing it successfully.  By stepping outside of my comfort zone in a small but meaningful way I accomplished something that was of value to me; and by sharing it here with you and on Facebook with other riders, especially women riders who might want to do the same, my experience may be benefiting others on a number of different fronts.

The message I want to reiterate here is that if you get clear on what it is that you want to do, regardless of its size or scope – providing it’s within your control – by taking a few simple steps to research it thoroughly, speak with those who have experience or knowledge in the field, undertake a cost/benefit analysis while managing the risks, along with being supported by a trustworthy mentor and coach, the probability of a successful outcome is high!  What’s also of importance is getting out there and leading by example.  It takes courage and builds healthy leadership muscle – perhaps the subject of another blog 🙂

I encourage you to give it a try and put the process to the test – take on something that moves you beyond your comfort zone even if it’s in a small way.  I heard it said that’s where life beings – feel the fear and do it anyway!

I’m interested in hearing back from you – post a comment to let me know how it goes.

Do you have a dream and don’t know how to make it happen? Here is a simple SMART way to make it happen!


I remember dreaming about riding a motorcycle across the country and admiring others who were out there doing it.  I got lucky and was inspired by a friend.  He rode up on a “new to him” 750cc Honda Shadow.  I was impressed and in complete awe.  At that point this story could have gone either way.  I could have dismissed it.  After all he was a guy and that’s what guys do.  Then again if he could do it why couldn’t I?  Yes, admittedly, I am a woman.  Luckily, that didn’t enter into the picture. 

When I started asking him questions I became interested in his strategy.  He had bought a used scooter and rode it for a month before buying the motorcycle.  I liked the idea of starting small.  As it turned out, he lent me his scooter.  I took a ministry approved riding course and after riding the scooter for two months I purchased my first motorcycle – a 250cc Honda Rebel that topped out at 80km.  Regardless, I felt like Janice Joplin!  I’ve upgraded three times since then and four years later I purchased a new Harley Davidson cruiser.  Last year I rode some of the most challenging roads in North America, including Deals Gap, also known as Tail of the Dragon – google it.

The message here is that if you have a dream follow your heart.  You can make it happen – incrementally.  Here are a few simple steps to realize your goals in a way that’s SMART:

  1. First you need to get clear and be Specific about what it is you want.    Step into your desire and imagine it.  Yes, feel it.
  2. Develop a plan that has concrete Measurable steps that leads you towards your desired outcome.
  3. Remember that each step needs to be Achievable.  They don’t need to big but you need to be able to make them happen!  They need to be within your control.
  4. Your plan, along with the outcome needs to be Realistic.  No, I couldn’t have ridden the Harley Davidson five years ago, or at least not without hurting myself!
  5. A plan that is Timely is critical to success.  Depending on what’s going on, other factors will need to be considered.  Timing is an important consideration.  I retire next year so a motorcycle trip across the country fits perfectly into my plans!

On reflections, I can see that most dreams are not realized overnight – not even with motorcycling.  There were days when I lacked confidence and needed coaching and support from more experienced riders.  I’m sure you’ve hear it before “If your dream doesn’t scare you it’s not big enough!”

Next year I’m riding south across the US, into Colorado and Utah where the roads are out of this world, up the west coast, into northern BC – yes the Alaska Highway is part of my route – and back home to Ottawa through Montana, South Dakota and the mid-west.  It’s an estimated 26,000 km.  It’s a big dream and I intend on making it happen, one route at a time!

And what about you – Isn’t it time to make your dream a reality?  

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