Uncertainty, curiosity and decision-making

The goosebumps, the shivers. The pleasure and the discomfort. And often, a bit of both. Uncertainty and curiosity and how you relate to them are key to every decision making process. And, for that matter, to a happy, engaged and fulfilled life.

So, what is the link to decisions: Some things are just too vast to comprehend or hold in your rational mind. Depending on how deep you drill, even something like “soup or salad” can become quite complex indeed.

For the big decisions that matter: Allow the situation to actually touch you. Tune into the context of your decision. Don’t go hiding out immediately in your rational mind, in the cells of an Excel model. In the face of uncertainty and complexity, it can be very tempting to start narrowing things down very quickly to get out of the discomfort. Stay with it. Resist for a while and keep on breathing. See what comes up (the curiosity bit). And then stay with it some more (a minute can feel quite long – it isn’t) and see what else comes up.

When difficult decisions need making, the first thing is rarely the best one. If it was that simple, you would have already worked it out on a soggy cocktail napkin for themselves. Resist trying to jump to conclusions too quickly. Stay with the curiosity. What if? But what about …? I wonder…?

Want to go deeper?
Check out the values worksheet here.
Or buy the whole book.
Or ping me about coaching

Stillness and deep listening

What do you really want? Like, deep-down really? If-you-knew-you-couldn’t-fail really? If-I-could-start-over-again really? We often don’t take the time nor space to listen to what is inside ourselves. This requires some stepping back, removing yourself from your normal routines, from the kind of conversations you are always having.

And just sitting with it. As Rilke said, “live the question”. Sitting with the discomfort. The not being able to explain (yet). The end of your rational problem solving capabilities – this is not that kind of a problem. This is not that kind of a question. And you know it. You just don’t know what to do with it yet, and now you feel you somehow have to do something.

Doing is one thing. Being is the other. We have tons of to do lists – very few of us have a “to be” list. Start with that. Make some space. See what comes up. Go for a walk. Sit and breathe. Listen to music. Go look at some art. Get a massage or do something to get you back into your own body. But don’t fill that void too quickly with more “stuff”. Sit with it. This is a key part of how something new emerges.

Be gentle with yourself. You are entering new territory and that might feel awkward. “But nothing is happening”. “What a waste of time”. You are learning something new, you are being different. Like everything, that might take practice or quite a bit of “unlearning” from your super busy day to day.

Make that space. Start paying attention to what comes up. Take notes, draw, create, record a voice-memo of your stream of consciousness. Just do it and capture it. At some point, this will coagulate into themes, or an insight will pop up. This then gives you the next bit to start exploring further.


Want to go deeper?
Check out the values worksheet here.
Or get the book.
Or ping me for coaching

(yep, the first iteration of this was written in 2018. We used to take flights then…  I still love the picture for the overview)