How to make decisions when emotions are running high

Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Career Change, Handling major change, True Courage - Big Leap

how to make decisions when emotions are running high

How to make decisions when emotions are running high

Decisions! Life is full of them.

The big, key, kicker decisions that we have to make are often emotional: leaving a job, starting a business, ending a relationship.  You have to decide whether to embark on what will be a difficult, or at least uncertain, journey into a different life.

When you start making changes there are more tricky choices and tricky decisions.

Take divorce as an example. Which lawyer to use. Whether to use a lawyer at all. How much to stay in touch with your ex. Practical decisions around divorce include where to live, who will look after the kids and how the finances can be organised, on a day-today basis , while you are divorcing.

Eventually at the end of the tunnel you get to make choices about your future, rather than your past. At this point, there can be a jumping off into a totally different life. And you get to choose your own life.

Other major life changes, such as changing career, starting a business, selling a business or retirement can also have a large emotional component.

So here are some pointers for helping you with your (emotionally rich) decisions:

Sort your laundry listSort things out and decide on priorities

Many sheets have to be washed but they don’t all go in the same load. Similarly when your life role is changing, many decisions have to be made, but they all don’t need to be made now.

Write down your laundry list of options (without sorting, this is just a brain dump of stuff), then decide on the priority decision for today.


Avoid last straws

Don’t make decisions when you are very tired, angry, upset. In these states you just don’t see things clearly. If you are tired it’s tempting to make the easy decision but that might not be the best one to make.

If you are angry or tearful it will be impossible to see all the factors of the decision making process. Your anger or distress will make the decision for you – a ‘That’s the last straw’ decision made in haste often doesn’t work.


Give yourself time – but calendar it

Recognise that good decision-making takes time.take time for decisions You need time to sit down and at least do a list of pros and cons. Or a more sophisticated matrix that lists all the factors that matter to you with a relative weighting for each.

This stuff is work, because in this process you are having to make decisions about the decision! (A complex process I work though with my clients, so they don’t endlessly get wrapped up in the process of deciding about deciding).


Don’t be a Lone Ranger

Don't do it all your decision making on your ownYou can ask other people’s opinion and get their point of view. You should do this at an age-appropriate level with your children. If you are asking others you may just get their opinion, not real advice, but that’s OK, you can process that too.

Be especially aware of ignoring advice that points out all of the snags in what you want to do. It’s annoying to be reminded of the snags but you should at least prepare for them in your transition plan, so this kind of advice, irritating though it is, can be very useful to you.




Be future focused

Be really clear about the outcome you want.For good decision making be future focused If you want more money, more freedom, more choice, define what that means for you.

This should include relationships, work life balance, contribution, fun and more.

The clearer you can be about what the future means for you, the clearer your future path will be.