I’m a Libra which basically means I suck at making decisions. I hate it when people ask me what kind of food I want to order in. Too many options! I’ll be happy with whatever. Someone should just decide for me thankyouverymuch.
If you ever catch me in a yarn shop, you’ll probably find me standing in the corner, arms piled high with yarn with a happy/paralyzed look on my face as I try to decide which skeins will come home with me. It’s a drawn-out affair often ending in me spending way too much coin.
That said, I’m much better at making decisions when it comes to business. Why? Partially because I’ve figured out that there’s a part of me that knows way better than my fence-sitting brain, and partially because of the fantastic brain of a former US president. Read on…
ONE: MAKING RESONANT DECISIONS
A very cool thing happened one day recently when I had a bunch of new consults. After every one I felt like I was high, and by the end of the day I felt totally exhausted. (in a good is-it-beer-o’clock-yet way)
It was way beyond a rational connection with each of the people I spoke with – it was a feeling I got. A sense of fit that was so clear it was like a ball of warmth in my chest.
I realized this was happening in a lot of areas in my life. Sometimes I would feel all Hell No and other times I would feel fireworks going off in my cells.
At the risk of sounding woo-woo, I started to make most decisions based on the way my body feels.
You know how it is.
Some things feel just a little bit off. You can’t place your finger on it, but…there’s some weird feeling…like if your stomach had a head it would be slowly shaking it back and forth.
Some things come across your plate and you feel your heart drop or your shoulders get heavy.
And sometimes you feel like you’ve got FizzPop in your brain.
It’s not surprising really. Your gut (or Second Brain) has 100 million neurons in it. (It’s science. I wouldn’t make that up.)
Problem is, we’re really good at responding positively to the good feelings and ignoring or mistrusting the meh feelings.
Charlie Hoehn in his interview on The Unmistakeable Creative talks about this exact thing.
So, Bulletproof Strategy #1 is: make decisions based on how your body feels. Trust that nagging feeling. And on the flip side, trust what energizes you. Commit to this.
TWO: MAKING SMART DECISIONS
You know how someone tells you something and you’re like, “Of course! That’s common sense!” Well, when I went through Seth Godin’s altMBA in late 2015 he reintroduced me to a decision-making tool that I’d seen a million times, but it just hadn’t clicked.
Enter, the Eisenhower Matrix.
Look, I’m not one to use specific tools or graphs. My default mental setting is fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants. But I can also vouch for the incredible and undeniable importance of creating good habits.
You don’t need to consult this sheet every time you make decisions. But let me invite you to try one thing: spend the next two weeks cross-referencing your to-do list every morning with this matrix.
Then, prioritize accordingly.
If you don’t see a significant difference in your daily progress, I will buy you a beer or a kombucha (you choose) next time I’m in your town.
Here’s the thing – once you get in the habit of assessing things based on Urgent vs Important, it becomes second nature. You slowly and steadily build the habit of working smart, while leaving your procrastination days in the dust.
Trust me on this.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but when you get in the habit you’ll be shipping more (and better) work than you ever have before.
So, Bulletproof Strategy #2 is: when stuck, use Eisenhower’s matrix.
Got some other ideas on how to make smart decisions? Pop them in the comments below.