Need to make a decision? Not sure where to start?
I just friend-coached someone through this kind of situation.
Let me give you a hypothetical example:

Suppose Jody says, I just got the possibility to take on an additional project! I’m not sure whether to take it or not.

First, I’d ask Jody, “What is the goal you want to get to?”
Jody: “I want to have a balanced life and feel that my career is moving forward.”
“Great, what are you thinking about doing to get to that goal?”
Jody: “I’m thinking of taking on this additional project – or not taking it on.”

“What’s the best thing that could happen if you take on this project?”
Jody: “It would move my career forward. I’d learn some that I don’t know now. I’d work with a new set of people.”

“What’s the worst thing that could happen if you take on this proejct?”
Jody: “I could have less time for friends and for sanity.”

“What’s the worst thing that would happen if you don’t take on the project?”
Jody: “I could not get offered other projects because people will see that I’m busy.”

“What’s the best thing that would happen if you don’t take on the project?”
Jody: “I could have a lot more time.”

“So, how do you feel? Do you want to take on the project?”
Usually, Jody will have a sense at this point.

Five Questions:

1) What is the goal of the action you may take or not take?
2) What’s the BEST thing that can happen if you DO this?
3) What’s the WORST thing that can happen if you DO this?
4) What’s the BEST thing that can happen if you DON’T do this?
5) What’s the WORST thing that can happen if you DON’T do this?

(You can ask 2-5 in any order). Then, consider that to get to your goal, reading back what you’ve said to these answers, what does your gut tell you is the right thing to do?

Finally, the hesitations you had in #3 and #5…. can you find a way to take the decision you want to take and still address those hesitations?

Try it.
Let me know how it goes!


2 Comments

  1. Doug
    Posted Wednesday August 29, 2007 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Senia – Simple. Straightforward. High-impact. I intend to give this a try.

    It reminds me of a combination of Challenging Beliefs and Putting It In Perspective skills from our resilience training. Nice work!

  2. Posted Wednesday August 29, 2007 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Doug, you have a wonderful point! It is like the skill of Putting it in Perspective! Especially the part of “Ok, what’s the hardest part that I don’t want to deal with, and how can I handle that or approach that?”

    Thanks very much for giving this method that color, Doug.

    I started using this method after a friend heard a similar thing described on NPR one day. I make sure I emphasize the “what is your goal part?” at the beginning and the “how can you address those things that you don’t like?” at the end, and it seems to roll up like a compact method all together. Thanks.