7 Questions To Ask When Making Big Decisions

So, I received a call from my mom tonight that she has received some calls from some of you asking what is wrong with me because I have not written in nearly a month. Well, I had no idea you all were reading this! J/k πŸ™‚ To be completely, brutally honest with you, I have been a bit consumed with drama and a couple of surgeries (minor). Whenever things get a little rocky, especially in the relationship department, I tend to baby my other blog, Almost Everything. My mother gracefully pointed out that not many of you know about that blog, though, and miss my stories. So, here I am.

My mom visited a couple of weeks ago which was incredible because if you couldn’t tell by this place in the post, we are incredibly close to each other. I was able to show her around my new studio on the beach ( πŸ™‚ ), and talk to her 24/7 about absolutely everything going on in my life. I was even able to take her along to a seminary tour where I decided to get my Master of Divinity (that will be for another post!). It was shortly after that tour of the seminary and proclamation that I would love to be a chaplain someday, that my mom started not-so-quietly disagreeing with some choices I was making in my life. I self-admittedly have many moments in life where I have absolutely no idea which decision to make. As I was choosing which road I needed to take,my mother quite matter-of-factly said, “Marji, you are going to get your Master of Divinity. You can’t just be acting like this.” Woah.

There’s a quote I love that says that once you know your morals and values, decisions are easy. My mom was saying just that as she called me out. She was saying that I was going to become a pastor, so my decision should be pretty clear on how to handle my current situation. She was, of course, right. That not-so-easy-to-make decision became a piece of cake once I knew where I stood with God and my life.

Finding where you stand can be incredibly difficult sometimes, though. Even harder is following through on the decision you know you have to make. In theory, it sounds great, but in real-life it can be pretty tough to cut those ties or take a risk on the unknown.

One of the hardest decisions I had to make was six months ago when I was deciding between job offers in NYC and South Florida. One job was lined up with all of my passions, but was in a state that housed tons of memories of my life with my ex-husband. Another job was a huge promotion, tons of money, but in a city where I was hardly able to breathe, let alone date, because I was so busy. Both had their pros, and both had their cons.

My mom sent me a sermon to listen to as I decided on the two jobs. It focused a lot on the same advice my mom gave me a couple of weeks ago –> once you are sure of your relationship with God and with yourself, you will know the right decision.

A week later, in a hotel lobby in Florida as I waited for one of my best friends to pick me up for dinner, I took out a notebook and made a chart with pros/cons. Then I made another chart of all of the things I loved about life that made me happy, and matched them to each job/city. By the end of this exercise, I had written an entry in my journal that clearly stated that I had to take the job in Florida because it was what I was passionate about, and my ex-husband had no right to sway my decisions when he was completely out of my life. To top it off, one of my  coworkers at the time called me and said that he had never heard me as happy as I was on that call in Florida. Decision made, and I haven’t regretted a second of it since.

So, here are seven questions that I have found incredibly useful to ask myself when making life decisions:

Which Of The 10, 10, 10 Rule Is It?

I am openly stealing this from a Fast Company or Forbes article I read when I was in an airport traveling for my first job in NYC. It’s the concept that helps ground you in your decision-making process because it forces you to think of your issue in terms of 10 days, 10 months and 10 years. This instantly provides perspective, giving you an idea of just how big of a decision you’re making. In essence, will the consequences of this decision matter in 10 days…in 10 months…what about 10 years?

What Makes You  Come Alive?

This is a list I have been making since I was a kid. List absolutely everything that makes you come alive. For me that includes my faith, baking, interior design, spending time with family, writing, conversations with others, photography, indie music, indie movies, fashion and art. So, when I was making my decision to move down here I was looking at where I could find the best church and time to go every Sunday, where I could have room and time to bake, which place my family would actually visit, etc. I also use a similar list when I’m dating, matching up attributes that I admire and crave in others to the person I am thinking about being with. It comes in pretty handy.

Who Does This Affect?

I know that you’re always supposed to not make decisions based on others, and only think of yourself, right? There’s even a famous quote out there that you should tie your happiness to goals and not people. Not going to lie, I’ve had my moments, especially living in NYC, where I’ve disappeared into my job and ‘goals’ in hopes to not have to deal with the heartbreak and tragedy that comes from human relationships. However, at the end of the day, all I was left with was some unemotional job. People are important, community is important. Think of how your decision influences those close to you, and take their advice seriously.

What Are Your Morals/Values?

Duh. You knew this was coming. Think hard about what your morals and values are. Actually define them. Then think of examples of how you live up to each of those morals and values to test them. We’re talking about your real morals and values, not just what you hope they would be. Once you figure out what these are, you can use them as guideposts for your decision-making. It becomes a lot easier choosing a job when you realize you have to be able to serve others through what you are doing. It becomes easier choosing a date when you realize your faith is #1 in your life.

What’s Your Elevator Speech?

Think of who you are in a paragraph. If you met someone on an elevator today and they asked you who you are, what you say? Your elevator speech will help refine your ‘What Makes You Come Alive’ list, morals and values into a few sentences that you can carry with you into all of your decision-making moments.

Where Is The Elevator Taking You?

Then, think about where this elevator is taking you. Where’s your future? Picture it, every detail of it, and remember it when you are making decisions so you don’t get off-track. It’s easy to make right-now decisions that can wreck your big picture. Don’t let that happen. Don’t let your future get lost in the temptation to make quick decisions today.

What Is Your Gut Saying?

I have a strong intuition which works for and against me. It works for me because I usually can sense things before they happen, and sense exactly what I need to do. It works against me because I usually sense things before they happen, and sense exactly what I need to do even if I don’t want to do it. That little tug at your gut is the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Don’t ignore it, and trust it more than anything else you’ve read in this post.

When you know who you are and where you are going, it becomes a lot easier to know what decisions you have to make. It helps to have good people around you, like my mom, to step in every now and then and remind you of where you are going. Ninety-nine percent of the time you know exactly what you need to do, you just need help carrying it out. This process will help you reveal what you know, and push you to make the decision you need to make in your life. It definitely helps me!

– Marji J. Sherman

4 thoughts on “7 Questions To Ask When Making Big Decisions

  1. Marji, you’ve done it again. Thank you!
    Once again, you’ve shared your heart and touched a part of something inside our minds and hearts so many of us can relate to… but more than that…
    You’ve given an easy road map, new for some, and a reminder worth revising by others, all about beliefs and decision making for a more fulfilling life.
    You have helped me to take an inventory as well; remembering It’s all about values and perspective. It’s so much easier, once you figure out where you stand, to become more peaceful, more productive and especially to make decisions (big and small) which let you “get on with living” for a happier, more purposeful life.
    Your best life is still ahead of you Miss Inspiration! Thank you for sharing and helping so many others along the way.
    Michael B. Fereday

  2. I don’t even know how I got to this post – reading tweets then somehow ended up here, really I don’t think I could retrace my clicks if I tried, and yet it was exactly what I needed to read to make a tough decision (quite similar to yours actually). Thank you and hope you’re thriving in 2016!

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