Making Difficult Decisions Easy

Decision making used to be torturous. I was afraid I would make a bad decision. I was afraid I would make a decision that others wouldn’t like. I was so afraid to make the “wrong” decision that I would procrastinate and not make any decision. But, no decision is a decision and inevitably, I had to face the music.

Now, however, decision making is easy, in fact, it often seems effortless. No longer afraid of making a bad decision, I do my research, come to terms with the conflicting interests, and then trust my decision.

How did this happen, you ask, and what do I do?

How did I move from torture to ease? The experience of second guessing and being stuck was so unpleasant when I was in my early twenties that I committed myself to finding a way out.

The way out happened to be a “way through” rather than “out.” I realized that my difficulty making decisions came from fears about myself that manifested in various aspects of me arguing about different solutions. “What if this happens, how will you deal with it?” “What if that happens? You’ll feel like a fool or a failure.” Those hypothetical circumstances (which were all negative) and the concomitant fears kept me stuck. However, when I learned the “way through,” i.e. how to negotiate with these conflicting parts, I found that I could come up with a solution that allowed me to move forward.

The conflict and fear dissipated as I realized that I could trust myself to pick up the pieces if the decision turned out to be less than I wanted. When I realized that I could cope with whatever happened, it was easier to implement the solution that emerged from all the aspects of me that had been in conflict.

I realize that some people make impulsive decisions rather than procrastinating. Both are manifestations of a similar struggle. For all of us humans who struggle with decision making, I mapped out a simple way of looking inwardly to discover the impediments that are in the way and to dissolve or at least resolve them.

That process of self-discovery informs how you can move forward with making decisions. You can apply it to a model for decision making that I created and for now, am calling the, “Mindful Decision Making Approach” or MDMA. This 6 step model begins with defining the problem and stating your goals and ends with the moment of choice when you commit. I’ve already added an addendum that evaluates your decision and helps you use what you learned for future decisions.

I’m excited to bring this work out publicly, which I’ll do at the California Institute for Integral Studies this November. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, I hope you’ll join me. If you live out of the area or are unable to attend, let me know of your interest and I’ll keep you in the loop as I share this body of work publicly.

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith is the founder and president of Rewire Leadership Institute®. A master facilitator, consultant, teacher, and coach, she has created and facilitated personal growth, team development and organizational change seminars, coached executives and teams, facilitated strategic planning and high visibility meetings, and supported culture change for over four decades. Judith works with a diverse range of companies from government agencies, non-profit, Fortune Global 500, to small and mid-sized family owned businesses including such organizations as NASA, Seaflow, Total Oil, Restoration Hardware, San Antonio Water System, and Culver Company.

Superb at supporting individuals, pairs, and teams in developing the skills necessary to realize their full potential, Judith helps executives, managers, and staff gain the ability to respond flexibly and rapidly to their changing environment. Through extensive experience and research, she utilizes a number of different approaches including the FIRO theory, systems theory, cybernetics, neuroscience, cognitive, positive, and success psychology.

As one of the world’s leading experts on the FIRO theory, she trains consultants internationally. A consultant’s consultant, Judith mentors facilitators, coaches, therapists and other professionals in the integration of the FIRO theory in their work. From 1981 until 2004, she worked closely with Dr. Will Schutz, the creator of FIRO theory. Independently, Judith developed FIRO Theory Profiling, which has been lauded as the first innovation in the FIRO theory instruments aside from Dr. Schutz’ own developments. She continues to develop courses that synthesize her studies and experience and are based in FIRO theory.

Starting in her teenage years, Judith has been a pioneer in her passion for authenticity, clear communication, and positive change. She is lauded for her ability to see others’ potential and help them realize it—be they individuals, pairs, teams, or organizations. Judith’s zest for life, appreciation for others, and generosity of spirit inspires those with whom she works.

An honor’s student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Judith’s desire and passion to learn about authenticity motivated her to move her studies to The Institute for Creative and Artistic Development (ICAD) in Oakland, California. As the youngest student in their teacher training program, she created and graduated with an undergraduate degree that focused on authenticity through California State University, Sonoma. Continuing on her quest to study authenticity and creativity, Judith began taking courses at California State University, Hayward where she also created and graduated with a unique Master’s degree that focused on communication, transformation, and the creative arts.

Interested in systems and change, Judith began experimenting with her innovative action-oriented approach to assess and intervene with families, groups, and organizations. Through this work, she became a much sought-after instructor, training masters and doctoral students in her seminal work. As chair of a psychology program focused on Creative Arts Therapies at Antioch University, San Francisco, she developed curriculum and continued to serve as guest faculty and lecturer at universities nationwide.

In addition to leading Rewire Leadership, Judith and her husband, Daniel Ellenberg, co-founded Relationships That Work®, where she serves as Vice President. She and Daniel co-authored Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership, which applies the principles of Rewire Leadership Institute® to romantic relationships. Recently, they co-authored a chapter in Mastering the Art of Success: Volume 8. With Matt White, Judith recently co-authored Leading with Courage.

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