Do you know how to use your gut instinct in tandem with your analytical mind for powerful and efficient decision-making? I learned a simple and effective technique a few years ago after I nearly drove myself nuts trying to make a tough decision using only my brain.
If you’ve ever found yourself spinning in circles trying to come to a decision via statistics, lists and spreadsheets, you may have noticed that your mind is only half of your choice-making toolkit. Gut instinct is the other half. If you’re only using one of these halves, you are cutting yourself off from making the best and quickest decisions.
And you do want to use everything you’ve got to make the best decisions that serve you, right?
Here’s a 3-step strategy I use to access my gut instinct and make a tough choice in a snap. I learned it years ago, and use it to this day.
Back in 1998 when I decided to go to business school, I was accepted to two universities: Queens, which happened to be all the way across the continent, and U of C, which was in town, close to my family and friends. Each had pros and cons. Queen’s cost more but had a better reputation. U of C was cost-effective but kept me close to home.
I poured over course catalogues, compared curriculum and professors. I digested every piece of information available about tuition and housing costs. I made comparative spreadsheets, but I could not for the life of me make up my mind. It drove me crazy.
At the time I was working full-time for a corporation which had an employee assistance program where you could phone a 1-800 number to meet with a psychologist. I made an appointment, walked into her office and said, “I’m losing my mind. You have to help me make a decision.” I gave her all the statistics and ran over all the information so she could “help me make a logical choice.”
She stopped me mid-sentence. “Cristi, stop analyzing, stop thinking,” she said. “Close your eyes. Breathe.”
I did, and felt my mind settle.
She continued, “Imagine yourself at Queen’s. Imagine yourself walking down the streets, through the hallways, going to that university.”
I had never been there, but I imagined the images of the campus I’d seen in brochures.
“How does it feel?” she asked.
“Close your eyes again. Imagine yourself as a student at U of C. Now how does that feel?”
I opened my eyes and said, “It feels like I will always wonder what would have happened if I’d gone to Queen’s.”
Done. Decision made. Five minutes flat, and I’d been agonizing for a month. Hello Queen’s. And it was the best decision of my life. Going with the best was more expensive and Worth. Every. Penny.
When faced with choices, especially choices that are life-changing, do all your analysis. Know all the facts. But at the end of the day, there’s a gut check that needs to happen. This three-step process connects the dots between knowledge and instinct that will help you move forward faster:
1. Close Your Eyes
2. Imagine Yourself Living One of the Options
3. Check in: How does it Feel?
4. Repeat Steps 1-3 for other Options
What would happen if you blended your gut instinct and your intellect to make powerful decisions? Simple. You would make more powerful decisions that serve you better.
Brought to you by Cristi Cooke, creator of the Pillars of Genius™ Method.