John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C

One of the biggest challenges I see people struggle with is making effective decisions. In addition to the choice they make, I am interested in understanding the method of how they evaluate their options. What is their decision making process?

Some have none. They are just 'winging it' so to speak. Others experience analysis paralysis. They are either immobilized by fear of making a wrong choice or are attempting to make the perfect one. If this describes you I would start by asking, "What is your most feared outcome if you make a bad decision." In almost every instance when I ask this the answer is, "I don't know." The second most frequent response is, "I guess nothing."

Identifying the end of the line fear

The first answer I can deal with. The second one drives me crazy. "What the heck do you mean," I ask. There has to be something. You're standing there frozen in fear. As I help the person dig a little more, there first response is usually what I would call an intermediate fear, such as, "I'll fail," or "I'll go broke." These are not their ultimate fear but are fears associated with their core fear.

A core fear is the end of the line fear - the last stop. The place we most dread ending up. What I have found is outside of death and dismemberment all fears reduce to three: being trapped and helpless; alone and isolated; and feeling and believing we are unworthy and unlovable.

Frozen in time

If you are frozen in indecision, what is happening is there is a time in your history where you experienced one or all three of these emotional states and had to dissociate from them, which resulted in leaving them unresolved. Now a part of you is terrified to ever end up in that state again because a part of you never made it out of that place on an emotional level. The solution is to process this emotionally with support and free yourself. You will then be able to become a more decisive decision maker.

In addition to overcoming fear of making choices, there are two other aspects I would like to emphasize: learning how to integrate your intuitive voice; and the ability to pivot, or adjust, when needed.

Tuning into your intuitiveness

To achieve the first of these two qualities requires a regular practice of learning how to listen to yourself. This requires presence and self-awareness. As I so often do, I would recommend a regular, brief practice of mindfulness. This could consist of mindfulness meditation, yoga, taking a mindful walk, or any activity that requires focused attention.

Many of you may have never received guidance in how to tune into this capacity. Maybe, you were instructed not to trust it or, even worse, were criticized or shamed when you attempted to share it. If this is the case, find someone in your life who can provide guidance and encouragement in your efforts in this area. In my experience, most people's intuitive voice, although not infallible, is pretty spot on. You just need some instruction in how to hear it and trust it.

How self-worth allows you to pivot more rapidly

The other quality I mentioned is the ability to pivot when needed. In addition to insight, I believe what most enables one to do this is having a strong sense of one's worth and value. So many individuals fail because their ego, which is a compensation for a lack of true worth, makes it difficult for them to acknowledge mistakes and enact the necessary changes when needed.

The most talented and intelligent individuals in the world make bad decisions at times. In many situations, there are just too many variables to factor in. When you have good self-worth, you're fine with acknowledging it was the wrong choice or someone else is better in a particular area. When you can free yourself from the unrealistic demand of trying to make perfect decisions, now you can really get going. The formula is choose, evaluate, and adjust.

Achieving the capacity to make courageous choices

To summarize, decisions determine destiny. To make good decisions and develop the capability to act on them, conquer your core fears, get in tune with your intuitive voice and integrate it into your decision making process, and continue to develop a strong sense of self that allows you to act without perfection and pivot effortlessly. This will provide you with the capacity to make courageous choices and create the life you were destined to live.


John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.

John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance. 

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