Making Decisions

Sometimes, clients will come to me to help make “an important decision.”

Over the years, I’ve discovered and developed a protocol for making decisions, that seems to benefits folks.1 Often, their issue is a relationship matter, as many counseling issues are relationship-oriented. However, what I offer here is a structure for many other issues as well – Job or employment issues, car buying decisions, vacation choices, or bathroom paint colors.

Making a Decision – Three distinct parts

Part One – Research

This first part is time spent gathering data. The sources can include one’s own experience, advice from friends, online advice, libraries, books, podcasts, workshops, counseling, spiritual resources, relatives, and exes – the list can be extensive. There’s your native knowledge, wisdom, and even your imagination and dreams—the more critical the decision, the more comprehensive the research. Even the opinions of contrarians or even ‘enemies’ can be helpful.

But there’s a danger that when you are in the research phase, you’re also trying to decide. As much as possible, keep research separate from actually deciding – or you’ll be tempted to go crazy with the process.

Part Two – Making The Decision

When you know you have gathered sufficient data, then it’s TIME TO DECIDE.  Setting a specific time for the Decision (like ‘tomorrow night’ or ‘this weekend’) may be helpful.  The actual decision-making may take only fifteen seconds, or ten minutes, or a weekend, or….  You decide a time to decide. “Now I am ready.”

This may not be easy if being decisive isn’t your strong suit. But it’s important not to sabotage the process here – dare do decide to decide anyway. Even if it takes one of your wiser children to say ITTDD (it’s time to decide, dammit!)

“Coin Toss Divination” – Ratification

Now can be a good time to do what I call “ratifying decision you make.”  Somewhere along the line, I discovered “coin-toss divination.”  This is not your usual binary ‘let the coin decide for me’ exercise.  That would be unworthy after all the effort you’ve already put into this.2

What you want here is to ‘ratify’ your decision, to check that what you’ve now consciously decided also fits in accord with your subconscious mind, or your deeper (or better) self.3

Here’s how it goes. You’re going to flip a coin.4 You can also do this in your imagination so the imaginary coin is caught on the back of your other hand. Now, the moment it lands, uncover it, and in the first fifth of a second – (that is, before you have time to think), direct your inner attention to whether you are pleased or disappointed (yes or no). That’s your subconscious mind ratifying or disagreeing with your initial decision. And you will know your actual best decision in that first fifth of a second. I’ve never known that to fail me. Your decision has been accomplished.

Part Three – Committing to Your Decision

Once (all of yourself ) has decided (#2), you now consciously commit to the decision – No more second thoughts, doubts, or second-guessing.  And you can be trusted by others – which is a matter of high respect. It’s been long said “A man’s word is his honor.” (Translate that to it fits across the greater board.)

You are fully ready to GO for it.

Pay Attention


1. This isn’t originally my design, though I’ve forgotten where it came from as I’ve used it over the years.

2  This can be useful when you ‘just can’t decide,’ and it’s not exactly a super important decision, like whether to order cherry or apple pie from the menu.

3  This is similar to a pattern I’ve learned from my Native American friends about tribal decision-making. The tribe’s men gather in Council to make decisions for the People (tribe). Then, the decision is given to the women of the tribe to ‘ratify’ their work. If the women don’t ratify the decision, it’s sent back to the men in Council or a given that the women are correct (I’m not sure of the finer details of their pattern).

4  These days, some folks don’t carry any coins.  More often, you’ve got a plastic credit card – so flip it up and let it fall on the table or floor, and see which side is ‘up’ (yes or no).