It’s hard to capture the power of a right decision ‘in theory’, so I thought I’d share some true stories with you of people who have recently seen their lives turn around, from learning how to do this.
True Story 1: Getting back to business
Sam’s last business venture flopped, leaving him pretty nervous about starting up something new. But as the bills were piling higher and higher, he realized that he couldn’t spend any more time nursing his bruises, and he had to get back to earning some money, some how. He had a few viable ideas that he’d been tossing around, and was coming closer to taking the initial steps required to kick things off – except every time he settled down to work on the business plan, he’d get such a bad attack of the shakes that he’d had to stop and go for a walk to clear his head, or take his mind off work some other way.
This continued for a couple of weeks, until he realized that the decision to start up another business was stressing him out so badly, he was literally going into ‘freeze’ mode, where his mind was blanking and his anxiety was taking over.
If this was his reaction, maybe going back into business wasn’t a good idea, and he should just try and find a regular job, instead? But a regular job didn’t give him anywhere near the same chance of earning good money, and working his own hours, like he’d been used to doing.
So what was the right decision?
As part of my methodology, I explained to Sam that his emotional brain was the part setting of the anxiety and shakes, and it had to be dealt with before any real, rational decision could be reached.
He did some easy ‘calming’ exercises to bring the blood back to his forebrain, and get him out of the fight-flight-freeze response that was being triggered each time he thought about going back into business. Then, he learnt how to have a conversation with his emotional brain, to find out what the anxiety was all about.
Long story short, Sam’s emotional brain wanted reassurance that he wasn’t going to run out of money while wasting his time chasing after a pipe dream. Once Sam realized that he had to set firm milestones this time round, and call it quits early on and go and find regular employment if he wasn’t reaching his target income by a set date, his emotional brain was reassured enough for us to move on to the next part of the decision: should he go for the business idea he now had on the table?
This is where the mind-mapping techniques he’d learnt as part of my methodology came into its own, and Sam mapped out his options in a rational way, and came to the conclusion that he needed to do a lot more homework to feel things out, before committing any big amounts of time or cash to the project.
He came up with a bunch of action points to take forward, that would help him make an informed decision on whether that particular business seemed a good option, and most importantly of all, he’d gained some crucial self-awareness about what was causing his anxiety and emotional paralysis, and how to overcome it.
Emma had recently gone through a nasty divorce where her wealthy husband had hired the best lawyer he could find, and wiped the floor with her. Emma was left with nothing, and had developed an abiding loathing for anyone or anything that reminded her of her husband, his family, or their old life together.
Although she had a good job and grown up children still in the same city, she wanted a change of scene, and was seriously contemplating making a new start, and going somewhere completely different.
But she was very torn about the decision, and was full of confusion, doubt and guilt about whether she was doing the right thing, both for herself, and for her grown up kids.
On the face of it, the decision seemed pretty simple: list all the pros and cons of the different cities she was considering and then see which one came out on top and go for it. But when there’s such a strong emotional component involved in making the decision, the rational brain actually goes offline, and you’re left with your emotional brain in the driving seat – which can often cause a lot of problems, especially if it’s making some irrational assumptions.
The first part of the process with Emma was to set out the cities she was considering moving to, and to rank them according to her own priorities for what she was looking for. Once city came out a clear winner – but Emma was clearly still unhappy with the choice, and hadn’t bought into it emotionally at all.
So what was really going on?
Again, part of my methodology is to teach people how to listen to and acknowledge their emotional brain, which is usually operating under their radar. As a result of that process, Emma discovered that a huge amount of her decision was being driven by anger, and a wish to somehow ‘get back’ at her husband and everything he represented.
By the end of the decision-making process, Emma had realized that she actually needed a break to recuperate, not a permanent move, and was feeling much more at peace and calm about taking a few months off to try somewhere new.
As a result, she was much happier about trying out the original ‘no-brainer’ choice for a new location, and was feeling much less guilty about her decision, because now she could see it was actually a necessary part of her healing process, and not just a knee-jerk reaction designed to teach her ex husband a lesson.
If you’re working solely on the assumptions made by your rational brain, you’ll often FEEL anxious, guilty, scared, uncertain or angry about the decisions you’re making. But if you’re going solely with your gut, your often missing out a whole bunch of necessary information and details that ensure that your decisions are realistic, workable and sensible. So you need to figure out how to get both parts of your decision-making faculties working together, and that’s what my methodology does.
I have a bunch more case studies to share with you, and I’ve included many of them in my new ‘How to Make the Right Decision, Every Single Time’ online course, which will be available online for $75.
In the next post, I’ll tell you more about how this methodology actually works, and how it can really help you, with your big life decisions. Stay tuned….