How to Make Big Decisions

Over the past few weeks, I have received three calls I had never experienced before. They were each from an industry leader in marketing, recruiting and PD whom I’d known for more than twenty years. They called to ask me if they should take the buyout package their firms were offering. None of these women, who are all in their 50s, had been asked to leave, but the offer to take a lucrative package and leave their roles and firms they had been with an average of 15 years was on the table.

I also had a call last week from a brilliant college student, a friend of my son’s from camp who attended one of the best high schools in NYC. She wanted my advice on taking a year off from an elite college that was offering most classes online in the fall to teach English in China. When I asked her what the hardest part of making this decision was, she said it was getting off track and being behind her peers in terms of graduating.

When I coach someone through an important decision like this one, I see my role as doing two things:

  1. Asking questions to help them uncover their truths. For example, I asked the three senior leaders, “What will be the hardest thing for you to leave?” In this case, all three said the team they had built.
  2. Listening for what they intuitively think is right for them. I believe that deep down inside we all know what’s right for us, it’s accessing and trusting that instinct that is often blocked by all the “shoulds.” When I listen with my body and mind, I can oftentimes hear others’ truths. Their voice goes up a few octaves and their words flow when they access that part of themselves. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of my role to witness this!

I share these examples of making a big decision with you and urge you to not just make a pros and cons list, but to listen to your gut. Yes, it’s good to consult others to make sure you are thinking about how your decision will impact your life, but I have observed over and over again that we usually know what’s right for us when it comes to big decisions. The hardest part is trusting ourselves. Have you ever ignored your gut and did what seemed like the rational thing to do? How did that work out for you?

There are so many things we don’t have control over today. I urge you to cultivate your connection to your own “inner knowingness” and trust yourself when it comes to big decisions. If you want to run it by me, I am here to listen to what you already know!

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