Selling a business, embarking on a radical new project, moving house, change in a relationship – these are all stressful circumstances requiring decisions. We may even wonder when considering them – Is it worth it? Losing sleep, agitation, anxiety, and moodiness are all possible symptoms of the stress that manifests in our lives. I know this – leaving a previous relationship created deeply affecting footprints in my mind. And it can become debilitating – especially when our emotions runneth over. At the times we are in this state it doesn’t seem fair and we can get into a why me, what if loop. Loop…Sometimes it can feel like a noose.
At home, we’ve had the noose of big decisions hanging over us recently. The stress hadn’t yet become unbearable. It was on the rise and we wanted to head it off at the pass. On the surface there was no alternative – we had to go ahead with it. Making a decision determines a future. When there is money involved it’s always easy to run the figures and make a decision based on what will be the best return on investment (ROI).
When you’re a partnership you tend to pick up emotional signals from your nearest and dearest. We’d run the figures and produced a cost analysis. When it’s an integral feature of your life there other aspects that will benefit from crunching numbers. These numbers tell a different story. They tell us the cost not only from a financial perspective but also from physical, mental, emotional and spiritual perspectives. By taking each of these and creating a dialogue around them we are more easily able to understand how they are affecting the decisions we need to make. Remaining open in the conversation and not allowing walls we may have previously erected in our minds to colour any notions that arise can lead us to ideas we may not have considered before. These ultimately change the evaluation we make purely on the financial aspects.
It helps to have a pen and paper handy when going through this exercise. By writing ideas down we can connect what is in our minds with something tangible. The concepts we are contemplating may be dismissed as sentimental so write them down anyway as the physical act of writing grounds them in a sense of reality. We begin to realize these decisions are more than just monetary and may involve finding a more profound reason for their emergence. This contemplation could be likened to a brainstorm. Well, maybe the mental and financial aspects. For the emotional, physical, and spiritual a deep heartful breeze would be more conducive to the discovery of the factors affecting our decision. Charting them makes them visible and we decide which hold more weight in our hearts. Get them written down as you go. Create a chart for maintaining the status quo and then another for the new possibilities you are envisioning. Then split both into advantages and disadvantages.
The process of charting reminds me of the music charts – what’s number 1, what’s in the top 10, top 40 and so on. Once you’ve charted the ideas important to your decisions you can weigh the spiritual & emotional in your hearts, the mental and financial in your minds. You probably won’t make it to a top 40 but, certainly you’ll come up with at least 10. Then assign a number between 1(least important) and 10(most important) to each idea. Soon you’ll know which advantages and disadvantages hold the most weight for you.
As you count up the numbers the decisions may become immediately apparent or they may not. You may have more advantages than disadvantages and the weight you attach to them may have given you a total that doesn’t make a decision definite. If that’s the case you can turn the final numbers into percentages to give you a better idea. This may make the decision much easier. Up to this point, we’ve focused mainly on the separate pros and cons and weighted them individually. It is a good idea to sit back and ponder both the status quo and the new possibility and all the different aspects together as a whole. There may be more insights to gain here that may colour a final decision. And if there is more than one person involved in this then more diverse insights can be gleaned.
Think outside the square when making a decision – look at it from all sides. The more sides you look at it from the better the picture you get. Do the numbers from each perspective. You do the numbers right the more clarity you get. Numbers don’t lie. There is a sense of control over the decision. I know when I’ve made some decisions in the past especially when I was sitting on a dilemma I felt like I might as well have tossed the dice or flipped a coin. Somehow that seemed frivolous and didn’t really honour the seriousness of what was being considered.
Anyway being a geek once we’d used this process to help us with the outcome I just had to jump into a spreadsheet and put it together to make it easier in the future. It seems fortuitous that we’re on the cusp of the New Year as this process seems tailor-made for considering resolutions in this physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, 360-degree fashion. The Power Grid seemed a good name for it as gives a sense of control to any decision making process. And it can open the user up to other objectives. Another use that struck me as I created it was as a prioritisation tool, especially for planning a day, an event, a project – anything with an expected result. I’m sure you’ll come up with other uses for it as well.
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