Saturday, December 16, 2017

How to make better decisions – 3 lessons

June 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Observe

I woke up last week Monday morning feeling exhausted, aching neck and burning eyes – no surprise since this had been my 3rd night in a row of 3 hours of sleep.  You see, I had attended a Balanced Scorecard Boot Camp in Ottawa last month.  Part of the program is to sit an online certification exam, which was scheduled for June 12/13.  I had been “burning the midnight oil” each night, wondering how in the world I did this for my 6 years of university … and survived!


Up at 3.30 a.m. that Monday morning I just couldn’t focus.  Sitting at my desk I glanced to my left and my Vision Statement caught my eye “To be a catalyst in changing the way we live and work, so that we do so with joy”.  WHAT????  How totally out of alignment I was with this Vision.  How could I be promoting this and be so out of integrity in terms of my own behaviour?  Even more ironic was that I was studying the Balanced Scorecard, a strategy tool built on the precept that the key to becoming a high performing organization is to align your strategy with your vision.  Clearly, with my vision and strategy out of whack, there was no way I would be “high performing”.


So I took a breath, and a step back.  I checked the next exam date – August 9.  I checked my calendar – that week was free.  I looked at my list of things to do in the current week and things that were important but wouldn’t get done if I did the exam.  And I thought of the weekend just past – all the fun things I had postponed or denied in order to prepare for the exam.


And in that moment, I decided.  I entered “BSC exam” on my August 9 calendar.  The moment I did that, my body relaxed.  And my week opened to being one of ease, grace and joy.


As I reflect on this experience, I muse on three lessons about making decisions:

  1. Listen to your body!  Yes, your body has important information to tell you about the decisions and actions you take in your life.  Your brain is not the only organ involved in making decisions – your entire body is engaged. Physical tension indicates stress, being out of the flow of integrity.  Pain, nervousness, irritability tell you that it’s time to stop and take a look.   We speak lightly about “gut feelings”, and “knowing in our hearts”.  These are serious messages our bodies are sending us about the rightness of our decisions.  Listen to every cell.
  2. Be aware and careful about the boxes you put yourself into.  I was the one who made the commitment for the exam.  I didn’t have to.  I put myself into that box.  I put limits and boundaries on my actions.  Often, we think it’s other people who are making demands on us – we need to test that assumption and make sure.
  3. Keep the big picture in mind.  Remember to ask: “Are my decisions and actions in alignment with my vision”?  (Of course, you need to have a vision – so if you don’t, craft one NOW!  And post it where you will see it everyday!).  You do not make decisions without context.  Often our context is our history, what someone else wants us to do or some desired short term benefit.  We are barely conscious of our context and so make decisions in a daze.  Be conscious of your context and then CHOOSE the context in which you will make the best decision.  If you are out of alignment consider how you will change direction and get back into integrity.   And do so quickly – there is no value to being misaligned, unless you enjoy the negative feelings it generates.


Every moment we are called to make decisions. That is the nature of being human.  We live our best lives, do our best work when we make conscious decisions that are aligned with our highest intentions.  Making conscious decisions require that we observe our bodies and our thoughts and are clear on our context.  It requires vigilance, honesty and presence.


5 Responses to “How to make better decisions – 3 lessons”
  1. Donovan says:

    … It requires vigilance (practice) , honesty and presence. I swore i was in a yoga class. Lessons from the mat……

  2. Cherryl says:

    Really great advice MO! Too many people are burning out doing things that they don’t even really want…

  3. Diana C. says:

    I love this Marguerite.
    You are absolutely correct.
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. R Christene King says:

    Marguerite, your statement is so true: “We live our best lives, do our best work when we make conscious decisions that are aligned with our highest intentions. Making conscious decisions require that we observe our bodies and our thoughts and are clear on our context. It requires vigilance, honesty and presence.” Thanx for the reminder. I have been so out of integrity.

  5. Marguerite Orane says:

    Thanks for the comment Christene – so happy to have been of help. Good thing about being out of integrity – you can get back in, in a moment