The 5 elements of decision-making


If we want to continually make better decisions throughout our lives, it’s important to dissect how we make choices. Decision-making shapes us as we choose to move forward—or even when we choose to sit back—marking every twist and turn along life’s journey.

There are five specific elements of decision-making, each one building upon the other. The summation of these elements is a sound decision grounded in both intellectual and intuitive integrity.

Here are the elements of every decision:

1. Feel or sense an intersection. You know you are at an intersection when you have more than one option to choose from. Sometimes the intersection is obvious. But sometimes the intersection is much more subtle. Whatever intersection you encounter, be aware that you will need to make a decision to be able to move forward.

2. Look at the catalyst that brought you to this intersection. Think back to the catalyst from Step One of the process. What happened that brought to light the fact that you were headed for a change? There may be some details that underscored how a particular moment or experience seemed different and more than just ordinary.

3. Evaluate your options and the implications of each option. Understand your options and what would happen if you moved in each possible direction. This is something called role-playing. Think about what your life would look like, what would change, what would happen as a result. We can never know the future, but we can imagine how different decisions might produce different outcomes.

4. Write out your next steps. Once you decide to move in a particular direction, it’s important to understand exactly what your next steps will be. Writing these down helps make your decision real rather than just a debate within your brain. It will also be what you can lean on until your head catches up with your intuition.

5. Come to a conclusion. At some point, you have to make the choice. If you stand at the intersection too long, the options might change. If you fail to move forward, you’ll have to wait for the next intersection. If you choose to move, then you’ll continue through the formation process and will be ready to step forward with clarity, confidence, and conviction.

These five decision-making elements describe how we make decisions as well as how our lives are formed by the decisions we make. That’s why it is so important to be engaged in the process!

Are you currently in the process of making a big decision? What step are you in right now? What step in the decision-making process do you find most difficult?