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A Filter for Decision Making: 4 Questions to Ask When Making a Decision

I can’t not look at my life and evaluate it. From my marriage to my kids to my job to my personal development, I seem to constantly evaluate my life, where I am at and where I want it be in 1, 3, 5 years. This in and of itself is a great trait to have. But I used to make decisions and plans without the appropriate filter.

I didn’t understand my priorities.

I had not established, or identified, my core values.

This led to decisions that were not inherently bad in and of themselves, but did not move me in the direction I truly wanted to be moving in.

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A great example is our last car purchase. I had a Honda Accord which we owned outright, but we didn’t have a SUV or truck as my husband had a car for work. Did we need to spend the money on the SUV at that moment? No, we probably could have waited a year or two and saved more money.  The decision wasn’t bad, as it is a great vehicle and has served us well, but it did not allow us to save the money we should have been saving.

How Often Do You…

How often do you make a decision based out of fear?

How about potential financial incentive without consideration of the time commitment involved?

What about what seems like the quick, easy fix?

I know I have.

A few years ago I changed how I made decisions. I came up with a filter based upon my priorities and core values.

What are Priorities and Core Values?

Priorities:

Your priorities are the people or things in your life that you find the most value in. What you deem most important in your life. Some people value money over relationships. Some value their family. My priorities are pretty simple. I place a high value on people and relationships. My people will always trump, well, pretty much anything.

Your priorities may include your spouse, kids, clean eating, exercise, margin, or personal development, to name a few.

Core values:

Your core values are the fundamental beliefs you hold. They are the guiding principles that dictate behavior and action. Knowing your core values allows you to make quick, swift decisions with clear future direction.

Core values can include integrity, honest, hard work, commitment, and perseverance.

So how do you develop a filter for making decisions?

Here are 4 questions to ask when making a decision:

1. Do you have all the information you need to make the decision?

To be able to make the best decision possible, you must ask questions. You must have as many answers in front of you as possible. Having the concrete information will allow you to line it up to your priorities and values.

2. Does this opportunity keep my priorities in the correct order?

If you say yes to this opportunity in front of you, does it enable you to keep the most important people and things in your life the main thing?

3. Does this opportunity help me uphold my core values?

If the opportunity before you goes against who you are, then your answer is clear. If a core value is integrity and the organization shows a lack of integrity from the beginning, it is best you pass on the opportunity. Most of the time, it isn’t as clear. If you know your core values, you can compare the opportunity before you and make the best decision.

If the opportunity before you goes against who you are, then your answer is clear. Click To Tweet

4. Does this help me in the next step in my…career, family, self-development?

If the answer is no to the question above, then the answer has to be no for the decision, or opportunity, before you.

In Conclusion

Since I started making decisions based upon my priorities and core values, I know almost immediately if the answer is yes or no. Professionally, if it does not help me move towards my short term and long term goals, then the answer has to be no, even if the opportunity is enticing. Even if it’s shiny. Because often the things we say yes to, even if it doesn’t fall into your priorities or core values, have some sort of appeal for the here and now that is hard to say no to.

What is a decision you made recently? Did you filter it through your priorities and core values?

Here’s to the Journey!

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