Making decisions about your life direction are often difficult. There is rarely a clear cut yes or now answer to that. Additionally, deciding to do something will often lead to change, and change can be difficult. Below are eight questions you can ask yourself before you make a decision.
- Does this opportunity fit with my strengths?
Is this something I will be able to do? It is important to bear in mind that you do not have to be competent using your strengths. Competence comes with use. It is enough to know you have the ability to work with this opportunity.
- Does this opportunity fit with my skills?
Skills are different to strengths. Skills are where we have learned to complete a task. Strengths are more about what things we can do well. When taking an opportunity it is helpful to consider whether your skills will allow you to work with that opportunity.
- Have my life experiences prepared me for this opportunity?
Everything you do or experience in life is useful for you in the future. There is always something to learn from life’s experiences and utilising that learning into new opportunities is important. Never underestimate the usefulness of your experiences.
- What do people I trust most say about it?
When in doubt it can be helpful to ask someone you trust. Their answer can guide you, but should not be the sole reason you accept or reject an opportunity.
- If I say yes what will it mean saying no to?
Saying yes to an opportunity means change. Change means there are things you will not be able to do any more. It is important to consider that and decide if you are willing to stop doing some things.
- If I say no what will it mean saying yes to?
While deciding what you will have to stop if you say yes, it is important to also consider what you may be able to do if you say no. Sometimes, the deliberation process around whether to accept an opportunity can reveal areas of your current life that you can change instead. All these options are very useful.
- When I look back in 10 years, will this be the story I want to share?
This one speaks for itself. Considering what your future attitude to this opportunity is can be helpful in deciding what to do. Think about it. If you say no, do you think you will regret that decision in 10 years?
- What does my gut instinct say?
Ultimately, your decision is about what your gut instinct or your body tells you is right. Gut instinct can override the previous steps. It can be difficult in life to listen to your gut instinct. So often in childhood, children are taught to do what they are told and forced to override their inner voice telling them no. Many adults have learned to mistrust their gut instinct. Yet that instinct is your brain telling you things you may not consciously be aware of. Something about your opportunity may be telling your subconscious brain that the situation looks dangerous. Your body may be trying to tell you to say no to the opportunity. But your conscious mind may be telling you all the reasons why you should say yes and to override that reluctance to say yes.
Finally, there are no right or wrong answers in decision making. You may make a decision you believe is the right one and it doesn’t work out. But that is not necessarily a disaster. You have learned from the experience and you will have greater skills and experience to use when making the next decision. Never underestimate the learning power of decisions that didn’t work out well.