Making Gut-Wrenching Decisions—Part 2: How to Help Yourself Make Better Decisions

Get ready! I’m about to share with you the strategies I use to make gut-wrenching decisions not so gut-wrenching! To help mitigate any of that nasty fear, indecisiveness, and overall suffering that comes with making tough choices.

The first tactic might come as a surprise for all you go-getters out there, but it only means that it’s even more crucial for you to understand….

1) It’s Time to Lower the Bar!

While I know that it’s awesome to have standards and expectations, sometimes we set the bar so high that we will entirely avoid taking any steps toward what we want under the premise of it being “unrealistic”. Many times, this is just a manifestation of our own fears and insecurities.

I’ve found that the best way to work with this fear-based thinking is to make the conscious effort to reduce your expectations by 10%.

This is not to say that you should completely disregard what you truly desire– you can still maintain the full integrity of your goal, but also cut yourself some slack and take off some of the paralyzing pressure.

2) Ask yourself, Am I looking to be saved?

Many times we will delay action through the false hope that someone will show up to save us, or an opportunity will just magically fall into our lap…

This is all so that we don’t have to confront our own authority and actually empower ourselves to change the trajectory of the current situation.

This manifests when you say things to yourself like,

If my partner would just learn how to communicate better, everything would be easier.

If the new hire already understood our system, we wouldn’t have to train them.

If my boss would just give me better direction, I wouldn’t waste so much time and I’d perform a lot better.

The most important thing you can do to combat fear is to take responsibility for your situation rather than placing the blame on external sources or factors.

Make a conscious effort to shift your situation. Remember that even if you don’t 100% meet your expectations, you will 100% benefit from doing the work and going through the motions of being your own game-changer!

3) Try A Decision Out! Take Your Choice For a Joy-ride!

If you’re not sure whether the decision you’re debating between is a good fit for you, why not try living as if you’ve already made a choice?

Begin to embody what living with your partner is like, as if you’re already married. Do you feel more excitement? More stable? Or does it make you feel suffocated?

Act as if you just hired that new team member by giving your current hire a fresh round of training and guidance… Did that help them improve? Or should you seek to train someone else?

Go to your job and live as if you’ve already set an end date. Apply for new jobs, or start creating your own means of income, as if you were already unemployed. How does it feel?

Often we resolve ourselves to being stuck in the back and forth of indecisiveness, and completely disregard the momentum and beautiful opportunity that springs up when we finally just choose to act. For better or for worse, you are always learning, there is always something to takeaway from your actions.

Which leads into the final strategy…

4) Choose Something and Put Your Whole Life Behind It!

At the end of the day you will stand to gain from choosing something and not looking back. Very few choices are truly permanent. You can always look for another job. Getting divorced or being single isn’t the end of the world. Hiring people or delaying for 90 days won’t kill you.

The reality is that you really won’t know what it’s like on the other side of a choice until you make the decision and go through with it.

After all, the choice is only gut-wrenching while holding yourself back from making a decision.

Usually we get caught up in gut-wrenching choices because of the (often negative) story we tell ourselves about who we’ll be or what our world will look like after taking action.

If I choose to break up, I’m a failure at relationships.
If I let this person go, I’m admitting they were a bad hire or even worse I’m disloyal to our team.
If I leave my job, I’m flighty and unreliable.

While these notions may seem trivial at best, they can really take hold of you on a subconscious level, and paralyze you from acting in your own best interest.

It’s why we benefit from asking ourselves, “What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?”

Because it invites us to move beyond our fear and into a realm of what is truly possible. To take a chance on ourselves.

It takes courage to face your fears and make a gut-wrenching decision, but it’s the only thing that will actually help you move forward.

And hey, at the end of the day, you’ll have 35,000 more decisions to make tomorrow… So in the grand scheme of things, it’s only going to be a small drop in the ocean of choices.

What will you choose?

If you’d like to discuss the topic further, please do not hesitate to apply for a call with me and we can break down the inner workings of decision-making on a more personal level!

Happy decision-making!


Making Gut-Wrenching Decisions—Part 1: What Makes A Decision Difficult?

Have you ever considered just how many choices you make in your average day?

Think about it for a moment… Try to take a wild guess.

I think it’s safe to say that unless you just guessed somewhere in the tens of THOUSANDS, whatever number you may have come up with is likely pretty low compared to the reality of it.

In fact, some research has shown that the average human makes a whopping 35,000 decisions in one day!

Now that number may seem ridiculous… But if you consider the fact that apart from deciding to read this right now, it’s possible that you’ve also just taken a sip of coffee, or shifted the position you’re seated in. Maybe you just scratched an itch on your body, or checked the time.

It’s apparent that of the tens of thousands of choices we are presumed to make on any given day, a large portion of those are seemingly unconscious decisions. Even of the conscious decisions that we make, many of them are inconsequential (such as deciding to shower first thing in the morning rather than before you go to bed).

It’s these types of decisions that are usually pretty easy to make without giving much thought to why we’ve chosen what we did.

So why is it that we can get so caught up in making certain choices when we spend literally all hours of the day “exercising” our decision-making muscle??

This got me thinking…

Oftentimes these more difficult choices are accompanied with an almost visceral feeling, something you can actually sense in the pit of your stomach.

These are the gut-wrenching decisions. They’re the kind of choices that when laid out before us (and not properly acted upon) will keep us up during all hours of the night… The kind of decisions that can even stand to haunt us for months to come.

What makes this kind of decision-making so much more gut-wrenching than all the rest?

Well, the more time I spent considering this, the more I realized how these difficult choices have a special combination of factors.

The first and most important factor being that–

1) Gut-wrenching Decisions are Extremely Impactful

What makes these choices stand out from all the rest, is how they seemingly have the power to shift the trajectory of our lives in significant ways.

It’s decisions like,

How to decide where to go to college…
What city and program is the right fit for me?

How to decide between two jobs…
Do I leave my job to find something better, or do I embrace the job I have now and try to make the best of it?

How to decide whether to stay with a partner…
Should I marry this person that I’ve been with for years now, or should we break up?

These choices are hard because they lead to a future that’s unknown no matter what you end up deciding to do.

Which leads into factor #2…

2) The Information You Have Surrounding This Decision is Limited

Even the more notable and “big” life choices become a lot easier when you are able to do some research and get insight into why you would choose one option over another.

It’s why choosing what car you want to buy, (while difficult) is rarely gut-wrenching. In this situation, you have the ability to not only set a budget, but then also read through endless amounts of reviews. You are able to both analyze risk, as well as think it over.

What makes gut-wrenching decisions stand out from all the rest, is how they are usually very difficult (if not impossible) to research or predict.

Sure this new job you came across looks great on paper, but isn’t that what you said about your last job?

Okay so you’ve recognized that this new hire isn’t living up to your expectations, but nor did your last hire, so why put the time and effort into hiring someone new if they could just as easily lead to disappointment?

Gut-wrenching decisions ask you to make a guess about the future in a time and place when you are truly unable to know how things will turn out.

Which leads into the final important factor:

3) You’re Not Sure of What You Want (or you are, but you’re not sure if it’s realistic)

The final factor in a gut-wrenching choice stems from the ambiguity of what you desire.

It could be that you’re weighing over whether or not the last hire is being poorly managed or if they just are not a good fit?

Maybe you’re not sure if your doubts about your current partner are stemming from a fear of commitment that requires a leap of faith… Or if these doubts are actually coming up because of a real red flag that you will regret dismissing?

Almost all gut-wrenching decisions make you question what you think is possible.

Should I make the time to do a candidate search just to see who else might apply for the position?

Maybe if I break up with this person I could find someone even better suited to what I want in a partner?

Maybe, maybe, maybe.

All of this indecisiveness is coming up for two very real reasons:

You don’t know what you want.

Or you know what you want, but you don’t know if what you want is unrealistic.

Okay, but now that we’ve identified all of the turmoil and resistance that comes with these (seemingly) life-altering decisions… What can actually be done about it?

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I reveal the simple steps to Making Better Life Decisions from now, going forward! Happy decision-making!


The Desire To Die — Explained

I remember at one point last year in the isolation of the pandemic where the grief of my failed relationship and the acute sense of isolation felt unbearable.

There was one night where I rubbed my eyes and stared at this horrible racing game I had been playing for hours. My mouth felt stick and dry from the sugary cereal I’d been eating. Part of me wanted to trawl the internet for porn, but I knew that on some level would only give me a few moments of relief.

I wanted to sleep and forget about everything, but as soon as I’d tried to close my eyes the thoughts and feelings came flooding back.

I felt hopeless, life felt meaningless, and I wasn’t sure why I wanted to keep going.

This feeling of not being able to bear my life, emotions, and everything else that was happening was a familiar one. It was something I felt a fair amount of times in high school and even more in college.

For a long time I used pot to cope with these feelings to various levels of success. When I lived in the monastery the feelings were still there. I took it (just like everything else) into meditation and to interviews with the teachers. But despite years of meditation this feeling still existed in me.

It’s the feeling of not knowing how to go on.

It’s taken me a few years to recognize it, but this feeling almost always arises at the tectonic edge of two parts.

One part is an old way of being in the world. Some people call this part a survival mechanism, an old belief system, or a breakdown. I call it historical gravity.

It’s like this phantom limb that keeps grasping for some comfort it can no longer have.

The other part is the new way of being. Some people call this an essence, a higher self, or a breakthrough. I call it spiritual momentum.

When my historical gravity and spiritual momentum meet, it can feel like I’m getting squeezed in the middle. Very often the version of myself in that moment knows I have to keep going, knows that something needs to shift, knows I need to let go, but that same part of me also doesn’t know how to keep going, is unwilling and unable to shift, and feels like letting go will mean losing everything it ever cared about.

The pressure of this moment when it arrives is intense. It’s a moment that will make anyone long for escape. It’s this kind of moment that can drive a relapse into drugs, the reaching for meaningless sex, and even the desire to die.

If you don’t know how to go on, but you can’t stay where you are, what else is there to do?


The other thing I’ve learned is that this moment also has a lie at the center. The lie at the center of this moment is that it will last forever.

You will be forever caught between an unstoppable force and an immovable object.

Your survival mechanisms are trying to keep the old you alive, but that you can’t live in the environment you’re in anymore. And I think it’s why some people choose to jump out of a building (life) that’s on fire (in the midst of a tectonic call to change).

The problem is that the lie of this moment convinces us there’s no escape. And what I’ve learned is that there is ALWAYS an escape and that escape is found by sliding down the chute of time.

While these moments feel endless they always shift given time.

One plate (hopefully the future/more conscious plate) slides on top of the other. And the other plate (hopefully the past/less conscious plate) presses into the earth and gets turned into molten energy.

THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS !!! I know it may not seem like it’s going to. And trust me I’ve been CONVINCED that it won’t but it always does. This is the process of transformation, of deep and meaningful growth in life, but it rests entirely on a combination of two things:Pressure and time.

The feeling of total crisis, of spiritual death, that’s the pressure. So all you really need it to add time to the equation and you’ll be fine. Your life will shift, you will be able to become the thing life is demanding of you to become. It takes some time, but it will happen.


Don’t Confuse Accountability With Morality or Self-Worth

Distinctions on Accountability

Having worked with leaders from all walks of life and industries one topic that often brings a mix of desire and fear is accountability. High achievers CRAVE someone holding them accountable and those who lack confidence or fear they won’t stand up to scrutiny want to avoid it at all costs.

The challenge is that our relationship to accountability is linked to a fear of failure, criticism, and the constant feeling that we’re never getting enough done. But accountability isn’t about feeling bad about yourself, it’s about having an honest and powerful relationship with your word. It’s about getting invaluable feedback about what is and isn’t working in your life.

But getting there isn’t easy for most people so here is the first of five distinctions on accountability that can help you be true to your word, be honest about your level of commitment, and improve your integrity with others.

Read part one.
Read part two.

Part 3: Don’t Confuse Accountability With Morality or Self-Worth

Most people admit that accountability works wonders for getting things done, especially the things that are the hardest to do, and yet most people still resist being held accountable. The reason is simple, when we don’t do something we commit to, we look bad, and people don’t like to look bad.

Part of why accountability works is that there’s some mental and social pressure that helps counterbalance the resistance you feel to doing hard work.

The far end of this spectrum is seeing failure to do hard work as a moral failing. Basically confusing “I failed” with “I suck”. Yes you may have failed. You may have even failed because of some laziness or torpor, but thinking you suck helps no one, ever.

Accountability is a measure of performance. That’s it. The car either does or doesn’t go 60 miles an hour in 10 seconds. Morality is not measured that way.

We don’t think a car is evil because it has a bad spark plug. We see that it’s got a problem that we need to address if we want to improve the performance.

Accountability should be the same way. The focus is on how to improve performance. Whether someone is a good or bad person should never be in question. If you get into this as a team you’ve got problems, if you get into this as an individual stop it! Get back to the performance and remember that Mother Teresa could never have beaten Usain Bolt in a race, but that doesn’t make her a worse person.


Life Is All About Being in a State of Constant Failure.

If you’re living well, if you have a purpose that challenges you, if you have a partner you find sexy, wild, and alluring, you will be constantly failing. Not because you aren’t good enough, smart enough, or likable enough.

You will be failing because you will be continuously pushed by your life, your purpose, and your partner to grow, evolve, change, and become more of who you are at your core.

This pull from life to draw you out is never ending. It shifts shapes. It changes directions. It is a Rubik’s cube that rearranges its own colors.

The mistake most of us make is that we think that success is the goal. It isn’t.
Success is a momentary illusory escape from life. It doesn’t last. Nothing does.

Instead, the goal of life is to be fully at rest and sufficient in the midst of constant failure. To know you are good enough, worthy, incredible, unlike any being that has ever lived, and you are failing.

When you find the sufficiency of failure, you will also find the path to peace.