How To Make Better Decisions
Ep. 221
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One of the skills I see people struggling with the most–and one I struggled with for years–is making decisions. And the reason people struggle is because they’re focused on the wrong thing. You’re focused on guaranteeing the outcome you want which is impossible. Instead, I want you to focus on the reasons you’re making the decision. When your clear on what your reasons are and you actually like them, it becomes a lot easier to make decisions. 

I dive deeper into why knowing your reasons is the most important step and how it can change decision making for you in this episode.

Show Transcript
Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode. I'm so excited to have you here. I wanna talk about making decisions on today's episode because this comes up a lot in coaching and there's so many of us who are stuck in an indecision for so long, constantly ruminating back and forth and listen to last week's episode. You heard me talk about how I made the decision to open up a membership and close down my other group for now and all of the fear and doubt that goes in there. And part of what I wanna talk to you about was, you know, this idea that there's ever a time that you're quote unquote sure or certain or don't have doubt. Which doesn't exist. Which is why so many of us end up wasting year after year just waiting, hoping that there's gonna be some time when we all of a sudden feel certain and that typically doesn't ever come. And even when it does come, oftentimes it's a fake certainty. Right? I talked about that with respect to like I was certain that I was supposed to go to law school and that turned out to be wrong. A lot of people are certain when they get married and then they're not when they're getting divorced, right? So this idea that there's ever certainty or that there's ever a quote unquote right decision is this illusion that keeps so many of us stuck for so long, so terrified to take any step. And I want you to know that not making a decision is a decision. Like you're always making a decision. It's just whether you're making the decision consciously and you're deciding to move forward or whether you're just sitting in this unconscious confused state. And what we do when we make a decision consciously to decide, by the way I think is like the Latin root of that word is to kill off which means like you kill off other options. While that might sound harsh, actually, there's so much beauty in that because so many of us spend so much of our mental energy just constantly going over options over and over again. And when you make a decision one way or another, you can free yourself up from so much mental anguish and finally move forward, right. And try and experiment and fail and pivot and try again and get on with the process. And yet, so many of us make not making a decision the decision, right? So it's like if I choose not to end this relationship, I'm still choosing to be in this relationship. If I choose not to quit my job or not to go after the career, I'm choosing to stay in the job that I'm in. You're still choosing something. You just tend to choose it by default. And what I wanna talk to you about today is how I want you to look at making decisions going forward when you know you don't have certainty, when you don't know how it's gonna end. So what I want you to look at is the reason for the decision, right? The reason behind why you're making the decision, most of us are focused on the end results. You're looking ahead, right? You're looking at like if I make this decision and all goes well, which it never does, but all goes according to this plan that I have and it works out exactly the way that I want, where does that end result get me and will I like it? And what is the probability that all goes well? And that all goes the way that I want? That's sort of like what we do in our decision matrix is like how certain is this? Is it gonna get me the result I want? And what I want you to do is look behind the decision, right? Not in front of it, what's gonna happen, but what's driving it. What's behind the decision pushing it forward? Why do I wanna make this decision? Okay. Because here's the thing, you just don't know how it's going to turn out. Like I just said, like so many of you are listening to this podcast because you made a decision to go into a career that you no longer wanna be in. Right? When you made that decision, you likely had reasons for it. And I don't know if you know what those reasons were and that's where I want you to start focusing on. Cause I think a lot of times, we're not very clear what our reasons for the decisions are. And that's where not only do you have control, but where that's where the gold is. Okay? So here's the thing, you have to be brutally honest with yourself in this portion. You can lie to other people but you can't lie to yourself. I mean, you can, but you shouldn't. Right. You can tell all the other people what all the reasons are why you're doing something but deep down, a lot of us have a knowing of why we're doing something really, right. If we get quiet enough, if we sit with ourselves long enough, if we ask the right questions, which is why coaching is so important cuz I think coaching can help you really get clear on what is the reasons I'm making this decision. But you can start seeing like let's say, this wasn't my situation but let's just say, I mean, some of it was I guess. Let's say my decision to go to law school. If my reason for going to law school was because I wanted to make my parents happy or because I wanted to impress people or because I wanna make lots of money, those may not be reasons why I wanna make a decision. Maybe they are. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with wanting to make lots of money or any of that. But I have to look at like is this why I wanna do something? And I want you to think about it because a lot of times when we're making a change or even if we're choosing to stay, even if we're making the decision not to make a change, a lot of the reasons are I don't want people to be mad at me or to judge me. I don't wanna disappoint my parents or, you know, someone's my friends or everyone thinks I have a great job and I should just stay. It's easier. I'm scared. I don't wanna fail. If those are the reasons why you're staying somewhere, they might not be the best reasons. You might decide that's not what you wanna do. Right. But if the reasons were like it's because I wanna grow. I wanna try something new. I wanna see what I'm made of. I wanna be vulnerable. Let's say like for the decision to get married or be in a relationship or a partnership, it's like yeah, I'm willing to open myself up to maybe having my heart broken. But that's because I want to practice being vulnerable and letting love in and having all these other amazing things. I wanna open myself up to that. Because when you look at that equation, when you look at why you're making the decision, oftentimes what actually happens, that result, doesn't matter as much. Obviously, you still want the result. That's why you're going after it. Right. But when I said this on the last episode, if you listen, I talked about how I really looked at when I was deciding whether to open this membership or whether to keep the old coaching program. When I started seeing like okay, keeping it as it is, the reasons for that is like it's easy, it's doable. I don't have to do more work. I don't have to face potential failure. And again, I'm not saying that those aren't good reasons sometimes. Sometimes maybe you want that. You just want a season of life where you want things to be easy and you want it to be manageable. Right. I get a lot of people who like want to stay at a career or go to a job that's easier for them, like a step below where they're at or whatever or with a skill that they don't really have to use a lot of their brain power. And it's like it's just easier. Okay. Do you like that reason? When I started looking at my my coaching program and looking that and then seeing like what would be the reasons for me to try this membership? And it was because it was more aligned with what my audience needed and it would force me to grow as a marketer. And it would force me to grow as a business person. And it was more aligned with my own values and what I wanted to like put out in the world and it would help me learn how to sell better. And I would serve more people and I would have more to talk about and I would get better at failure and I would get better at uncomfortable emotions. And I would get past the story that I have that like I'm lazy and I don't wanna work or whatever. When I started looking at that, I'm like oh, the person I become on the other side of this I like more with the membership than I do the group program. What I'm asking myself to do, who I'm asking myself to become, is the person I want to be by making this decision. So at the end of the day, whatever happens with the membership, doesn't matter as much as who I will become in doing it, right. When I look at like if I wanna have a life, like we all have these ideas. When you think about like, actually I want you to do this right now as an exercise. Homework. Think about the words that you want to describe your life, when you're 80 90. When you're looking back, what are three to five words that you want to describe you and describe your life? And that's a really good exercise to kind of keep those words with you and to constantly ask yourself like am I living up to these words? Am I doing this stuff right? Maybe it's loving. Maybe it's generous. Maybe it's brave, courageous, whatever the words are. Look, we have these lofty goals or we have these aspirational things we wanna live up to. But then we don't really, when push comes to shove or when we have the opportunity to do things, we hide behind our fear cuz it's easier. And again, if you've been around here, you know I have nothing against ease. I try to make my life as easy as possible. Y'all know I'm all about rest. I'm all about not hustling. I'm all about like figuring out what season you are, giving yourself what you need. So I'm in no way saying like taking the easy way is ever wrong, I just want you to real like know what you want in your life right now. Where's the next level that you wanna go to? What's the next chapter you wanna try to get to? And for me with this situation, it became very obvious that what I wanted to do and what I wanted to build and who I wanted to become were on the other side of doing this new program. And so I was willing to deal with all of the negative stuff, the negative ramifications, the failures, the doubt, the uncertainty, the discomfort, the more work, all of that other stuff, because I was very clear on what my reasons were for doing it. So I wasn't surprised when all of a sudden it's like a lot more work or when it wasn't all rainbows and butterflies or when there's hiccups. I'm like yeah, this is where I learn how to be my best self. This is the part where I become a better business person. This is the part where I learn how to bring my vision to life. And so I see for so many people when I coach you on your decision to let's say quit or stay at your job, I hear things like I'm gonna leave this job. I don't think I'm cut out for this. I don't think I'm good enough to do this. Right. I can't figure this out. That's not a good reason to leave somewhere. That's something you need to work on is why are you telling yourself that? Right? Because if your lack of self-confidence or your lack of self-trust or your kind of perfectionist tendencies or your really mean inner critic is the reason you're running from something, that's just gonna come with you to the next place. Or like we talked about I don't like a boss that gives me too much work or whatever, if if it's something outside of you a lot of times. I covered that in the series with like toxic coworkers and toxic bosses. Typically, it's not a great reason just because you're not going to solve for that problem. You're gonna go somewhere else and have another issue. So if your reasons for quitting or wanting to leave this are because, you know, you don't think you're good enough or you don't know how to handle the stress. And again, I'm not saying like sometimes there might be burnout, there might be a harmful situation you wanna leave. You can always do whatever it is you wanna do. You don't need anyone's permission. But when I try to sit down and think about okay, I can't know how this is gonna turn out. How do I wanna make this decision? I go to my reasons for it. And I try to clean those up. I try to get to the bottom of like what where's this thought coming from, right? And if my decision then becomes I wanna quit because I want a new experience, because I want growth, cuz I want adventure even, I wanna work with new people, I want to see a different part of the world, I wanna do this thing because it gives me something. It lets me grow. That is where my growth is. Then it doesn't matter as much what happens with the result, right? I've given this analogy uh a bunch but it's like let's say running a marathon. Sure, you wanna hit the goal, right? Because there's that celebration and people are sort of like you have people in your community that are seeing you do this and there's dopamine that gets released and it's all great. But the point of it isn't to run 26.2 miles, nobody actually cares that you ran 26.2 miles. And I I'm sure that it's a feat, one, that I will not be trying. The point of it is to become a person that runs 26.2 miles. Right? The it is a person who takes the time to go through a very strenuous and difficult training program that most people won't do. A person that's willing to not give in to the immediate pleasure of buffering and sitting on the couch and watching TV and scrolling their phone but gets up and goes for a run when they don't want to. A person who can push through, even when there's blisters on their feet and they don't feel good. It's like the mental fortitude that you have to keep yourself for four months or six months or however long it takes to train for a marathon. And then the culmination of that, the goal of that, becomes running this race. But the real point of it is who you become. The real point of it is like who you what you had to do, the sacrifices you had to make, the person you had to become in pursuit of that. If you don't actually run that marathon, let's say you trained for six months and this actually happened to my brother-in-law, but he is like a firefighter, ultra-athlete. So he wasn't training that hard but he was training for a marathon. And then he, I don't remember if he got COVID or he like hurt himself the weekend before the marathon, which is very disappointing. Right. And yes, you could be disappointed and you can process that disappointment but it didn't matter. Like it's like not like everybody, you know, his wife and kids would be at the end at the finish line and he would cross it. And I'm sure it would've been fine and fun but like he would've moved on. He would've moved on to the next goal. The point was like could he dedicate this amount of time to train for this race? It's the same thing when you start thinking of your decisions that way. Like part of a lot of what I try to like talk about on this podcast and I try to teach you guys about about how failure's inevitable and it's a part of the journey. And of course, you're gonna try new things and not succeed. And I think people hear me but don't actually get it because they've been trained to never fail. And so I think we still get so stuck in making a decision because we're so terrified of failing. When you start changing what you're focusing on, when you start realizing that like oh, what happens with the decision doesn't actually matter all that much cause I'll figure it out, right? I'll pivot. I'll try something else. If this job isn't it, I'll figure out where it is. I'll evaluate what I like, what I don't like and I'll get closer to the person that I want to be. I'll get closer to figuring out what lights me up. I'll get closer to becoming the person that goes after their dreams. I'll get closer to the person that finds their dream career. Might not be with this one. But as I make each decision and I don't stay stuck in confusion and overwhelm for the rest of my life and I actually do something, I learn the skills I need to create the life that I want. Right. I become the person that does these things. It's always the person that you become and the pursuit of those goals rather than the actual goals. And when you're looking at it from like a decision-making standpoint, the person you become is determined by the reasons why you're making that decision. And so you might be wondering like how do I do this? Part of it is really getting clear on what those decisions are and that can you can do that through journaling. You can do that through asking yourself questions. It's honestly why I think coaching is really powerful because I think oftentimes, we don't see our own blind spots. We can't really see why we're doing certain things and it's easier for someone else to point out. And so this is like a really good space. Coaching is a good space to kind of just flesh out not whether like can I come up with a perfect plan that's never going to fail but can I start figuring out like why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep staying at this job that I don't wanna be at? What's the reasons for me not leaving? Right. And when I know my reasons, then it becomes easier to make a plan. If my reason is financially, I can't leave. Okay. That's a pretty good reason if it's really based on the numbers. Then I can start figuring out how much do I need to save? How long will it take me? What's my runway, right? Then I can get moving. Then I can stop telling myself like should I stay or should I go? Then I have a plan. Maybe I stay for a year and then I figure out where I'm gonna go next. And in that time I can figure out what else is coming up for me, right? Why am I staying? Like why am I scared? So this is what we do in The Quitter Club. Doors are closed now but they will open up to the public. So if this is something that you want help with, you can go get on the wait list at And you can bring your things to coaching and we can figure out why you are or aren't doing the things you wanna be doing. But in the meantime, I want you to just take out a piece of paper and just write out why am I doing this? Write all of the reasons, see what comes up. In the beginning, it might be surface level but as you keep going, you might start realizing what all those reasons are. Right? Ask yourself a lot of questions. Why do I think that I need to do this? Why do I worried that I'm gonna disappoint people? Why does it matter if other people don't agree with my decision? Why do I care if I fail at this? Like keep digging until you get to like the real root of why what you're scared of, what you're going after, what you're chasing, what you think this decision's gonna do for you, why you think you need that, right? And the more you get clear that clearer the decision becomes for you. Not because there won't be failure or there won't be obstacles or you won't have to pivot or you won't have to make a decision but just because it'll become clear which one is gonna serve you to become the person that you want. So focus on the reason behind your decision and not the actual result. And it will make decision-making so much easier. Alright, my friends, I hope this was helpful. And I will see you next week for another episode.

Hey, if you’re looking for more in-depth help with your career, whether that's dealing with all of the stress, worry and anxiety that's leading to burnout in your current career or figuring out what your dream career is and actually going after it, I want you to join me in The Quitter Club. It is where we quit what is no longer working like perfectionism, people-pleasing, imposter syndrome. And we start working on what does and we start taking action towards the career and the life that you actually want. We will take the concepts that we talk about on the podcast and apply them to your life. And you will get the coaching, tools and support that you need to actually make some real change. So go to and get on the wait list. Doors are closed right now but that they will be open soon.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.