How do you make decisions? Do you know? It may be the single most important choice you make. It's the master decision which determines all the others.
Expert decision makers lead extraordinary lives. They create remarkable results. They become exceptional leaders. They have an outsized impact in the world. They make the most of each day. And they receive tremendous rewards.
Yet few of us are ever taught how to make great decisions.
Think about it. How do you make your decisions? Do you weigh the pros and cons? Listen to your gut? Flip a coin? Phone a friend? Do you throw yourself into a grinding process of trial and error? Or do you hang back, hoping that someone else will make your decisions for you?
If you're reading this article, you've almost certainly learned how to make good decisions. Heck, you're alive, breathing and reading -- and that says something.
But great decisions? Where was the college course on that? Where exactly were we supposed to learn this all important skill?
The tool you're about to learn is the surest, most reliable, most trustworthy technology for making great decisions that I'm aware of. It's been the secret to my own successes, and to many of the successes of my clients. Jack Canfield called it "one of the most simple and powerful technologies I've ever seen for making great decisions in life... from one of the great leaders and coaches in the field."
I share this, not to talk about me or my importance, but to help you take this tool seriously, so that you will take it, try it out, and test it to see how well it works for you.
This technology is based on the recognition that there are multiple voices in our heads, including the voice of intuition, the voice of reason, and the voice of fear, as well as the discovery that in the absence of a real and present danger, the voice of fear is an almost perfect indicator of which way to go -- as long as you got the opposite way.
Here's the tool.
The surest way to make a great decision is to look for the choice that evokes these three internal responses: The voice of intuition lights up, the voice of reason checks it out and approves it, and the voice of fear says, "Hell No! Run away!"
Whenever your three voices say, Yes Yes Hell No! -- go forward. You're making a great decision. You're on your soul's path.
Great choices are both inspiring and scary. They cause your intuition to light up and your heart to sing. At the same time, they bring up your fears. And the bigger the opportunity, the louder and trickier the voice of fear becomes.
The key is to listen for the three voices, discern which is which, and respond accordingly.
For example, three of the most important Big Decisions in my life were my choices to move to California, to leave my career in Silicon Valley for six years of full time growth and healing, and to open my heart to the love of my life.
In all three cases, my voice of intuition said "Yes!" When I thought about going to graduate school in California, my heart lit up. Each time I explored the idea of doing more healing work, it felt like I was coming home. And each time I was able to actually feel the love that was in my heart for Nicole, I lit up like a Christmas tree.
In all three situations, my voice of reason confirmed my choice. Berkeley was one of four schools tied for the No. 1 ranking in computer science. In leaving Silicon Valley, I both had enough money to do so, and I'd realized that I absolutely had to do this inner work if I was to be capable of creating the loving family that was so important to me. And with Nicole, our list of core values and priorities matched up in remarkable ways.
Then with all three choices, my voice of fear screamed out a big, fat "Hell No!" In applying to only the two California schools, there was a very real risk that I'd be rejected by both. And if I was accepted, it meant leaving behind a very safe and comfortable environment, for something that was profoundly new and unknown.
Leaving behind my career as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur was terrifying. At that point, I could have easily raised millions for another startup. I was interviewing for executive positions at public technology companies. I was on the fast track to wealth beyond my dreams. Growing up in Illinois, my goal had been to eventually make $60,000 a year as an engineer. Now it seemed like I had received the winning ticket for the lottery, and was thinking of throwing it all away.
Yet even with all the inner work I did, opening my heart to Nicole was the scariest choice of them all. It evoked deep, unconscious, almost death level fears. It caused me to sabotage our courtship repeatedly. It made it excruciatingly difficult to hear my intuition. It was like the mother of all final exams.
If it hadn't been for a series of last minute, outside interventions, I would have backed away from this tool, sabotaged my dreams, and walked away from the love of my life. Three times.
As I regularly tell my wife and daughters, their love is the great miracle of my life.
So how can we help you learn this life changing tool?
It all starts by connecting with a dream or a dilemma: a Big Win you want to create or a Big Decision you want to make. Then the next step is to connect with your fears, because it's usually easiest to start with the loudest voice first.
Which choices scare you? What are all the reasons you might not want to do something? Let the voice of fear have its say. You don't need to fight it or make it wrong. You don't need to flee from it or pretend it's not there. And you don't need to feed it or focus on it and give it energy. Instead, just listen.
When you try to fight, flee, or feed your fears, they only get stronger. Yet when you embrace them, they begin to drop away.
The voice of fear is here to serve you the best way it knows how. Its purpose isn't to stop you from moving forward: it's to warn you of potential dangers. Listen directly to this voice and give it a chance to speak as the voice of fear, rather than it needing to masquerade as something else. Once you've listened, it tends to quiet down and let you get on with life. It also becomes much easier to detect. As you learn to listen to the voice of fear and meet it with both acceptance and courage, it gets softer. It stops needing to be so clever. It can actually become your friend.
The next step is to hear the voice of intuition. This is much easier to do once you've talked to your fears and listened for every "Hell No!" you can find. To connect with your intuition, feel into the different options. Imagine yourself making a choice and then notice what sensations show up in your body. What lights you up? What inspires you? What makes your heart sing? Is there a balancing "Yes" for the original "Hell No!"? If you're not clear about this voice yet, don't worry. I'll give you plenty of tools for deepening your understanding of it.
Once you've connected to the voices of fear and intuition, then it's time to bring in the voice of reason. In making great decisions the voice of reason plays three roles. Its first job is to provide a sanity check. Moving out of our comfort zone is scary. It often feels like a dive into the great unknown. Reason's first job is to verify that you're not dealing with a real and present danger. While it may feel like a cliff, is it an actual cliff? This doesn't mean waiting until you know how things are going to work out. It's not about trying to control the outcome. It's about looking for choices that are both inspiring and scary, and then checking to make sure that they're also sane.
Its second job is to prioritize your choices. As you start to master this tool, you'll find yourself discovering more and more Yes Yes Hell No! opportunities. Which ones are most important? Which ones are aligned with your deepest values and highest priorities?
The voice of reason's third job is to ground your decisions and help you move forward in the most efficient and effective way. Once you've decided what you want to do, reason's job is to help you decide how to do it. Rather than taking no risks or crazy ones, how can you craft a path that, while it may feel scary, is also safe?
Growth is scary, but it doesn't have to be dangerous. It bears repeating that a path can be both inspiring, scary and safe. Instead of looking at things from an all-or-nothing perspective, the voice of reason is a great tool for creating stair steps of growth and success. Armed with courage and wisdom, you can train on the one meter diving board and then move to the three and ten meter boards before you start looking for the big cliffs.
This article was created as an excerpt from Yes Yes Hell No! The Little Book for Making Big Decisions. To eliminate your insecurities, transform your fears, and develop total trust in your ability to make big decisions, purchase the book on Amazon or download the first five chapters for free. Image source: pixabay.com