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8 Techniques to Dissolve Dilemmas and Make Better Decisions

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making better decisions

Have you ever been stuck and not know what to do in life? Are you staying up late trying to run the scenarios through your head? Are you caught in an endless argument with you, yourself and your other self?

Maybe it has to do with your job, maybe with your finances, maybe with your business or even your relationships. Dilemmas can be small like deciding what to wear, or they can be big like deciding whether to sell the company or declare bankruptcy.

You’ve got a headache trying to resolve your dilemmas, and you won’t get any answers if you are still stuck in the same way of thinking. All you need is a different approach.

Here are 8 techniques to dissolve your dilemmas and make deliberate decisions:

1. Ask yourself: “What am I aiming to accomplish?”

When you aren’t clear with your destination, any road will lead you there. What are you aiming to accomplish? When you are clear with what you want to accomplish, your mind and actions have more direction and impact. You need to be honest with yourself. “I aim to prove someone wrong” is very different from “I aim to do the right thing that will serve my clients best.”

2. Ask yourself: “What is the worst that can happen? What’s needed to recover?”

Sometimes we blow things out of proportion. We are so filled with FEAR – False Expectations Appearing Real. When you come back to reality, in truth, what really is the worst that can happen? In the remote chance this worst scenario happens, what will need to be done to recover from this scenario? Given the risks, if this is something you are willing to go through, then go for it!

“Don’t spend a lot of time imagining the worst-case scenario. It rarely goes down as you imagine it will. And if by some fluke it does, you will have lived it twice.” – Michael J. Fox

3. Make a Provisional Decision

You will never have ALL the information you will ever need. Courage is making a decision with the information you have at the time. Move forward by taking that one step … and be okay re-calibrating later.

Jack Canfield says that when a plane takes flight, it is off-course 99% of the time. Despite this, the plane is able to move forward. This is due to the pilot understanding there is enough space to re-calibrate the flight to reach the destination safely.

4. Consider the 7th Generation

You can get too caught up with your own concerns, and yet, some decisions involve not just you. It may have a lasting impact for many more people, and many generations to come. How about other people who are affected by the decision. What is the impact to them?

Moreover, what could be the impact on their children and grandchildren? There is a “7th Generation” philosophy to think beyond your current concerns. How will today’s decision affect the 7th Generation? Considering this will help you make a decision that goes well beyond your current concerns.

5. What would your Adviser do?

When you’re too close to the dilemma, you’re too caught up with our own muddled perspective. You need to take the perspective of a neutral respected party who has less emotional attachment to the situation.

Who is one person you respect and you look up to? Let’s call that person your Adviser. This Adviser can be a person you know personally – a teacher you admired, an uncle you look up to, or a mentor at work. The Adviser can be someone you know from a distance: Ellen Degeneres, Martin Luther King, Wayne Dyer, Steve Jobs. You get the picture.

If you take your Adviser’s perspective, what would your adviser say about your situation/dilemma? How would your adviser approach this challenge differently? Think about it.

Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” – Brene Brown

6. Your Younger self, Your Older self – what would they tell you?

As we grow older, more negative beliefs creep into our mind because of trauma, a bad experience, or rejection. Sometimes we need to listen to the child we used to be. This idealistic, courageous child who could do anything if he put his heart into it. What would that brave child tell you?

How about your 80-year-old self? Imagine yourself at the age of 80? What would you be doing, how would you be living? How would your 80-year-old self approach your dilemma? What would he want you to have been brave about? What would he want you to be caring or loving about?

7. Be Your Best Self

Go to the time when you are being your best self, and imagine yourself there. Where would you be? Would you be travelling the world? Would you be creating something in your studio? Would you be in front of an audience?

Imagine being your best self for a moment. As you’re being your best self, how would you as your best self approach this dilemma? How differently would you see this problem, how differently would you create a solution and decide?

8. Come from Love

Sometimes decisions are made out of fear or ego. Decide to come from Love because good decisions are made from good information, yet great decisions are made from love. What is the most loving thing to do for yourself,  your loved ones and for other people impacted by the decision. In addition, think about the long term effects of this decision.

What is the most loving way to make decisions? Make them from love, and after you’ve made a decision, take action. Go!

How do you dissolve your dilemmas? Share your techniques by commenting below.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Edwin S. Soriano, Executive Life Coach, Trainer, Author of "You Can Be Happy Again" book. Over the past ten years, I've helped thousands of people create positive change,  permanent transformations in their life. We do this through life coaching, training, books and online content. I help CEOs, Entrepreneurs and business leaders develop their people as a key strategy for growing their business. Learn more at www.edwinsoriano.com and www.winningcoaching.net .

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jarvee

    Sep 11, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Thank you Edwin for sharing these techniques, I like your approach. But we shouldn’t be harsh on yourself all the time. Decisions, goals and persistence are important, but we should also sometimes take a break, be present and not always think long term in order to be able to make decisions from love and not based on pressure.

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

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Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

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3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

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Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

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Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

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“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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