By Dr. Karyn

Hello DK Leadership Community! 

How do you make great decisions? Have you ever really stopped to think about your “decision-making process’? I have had this conversation with 3 people in the last few weeks, and it inspired me to write this article! The first person was a colleague who was trying to decide whether she should accept a career promotion; the second was my 17-year-old niece, deciding what to do with her summer; and the third time was with a CEO whom I’m coaching about whether he should sell his business. So 3 very different individuals, with very different decisions to be made – and yet my advice to each of them was the same!

I taught all 3 of them my “3 Step Decision-Making Process,” and it allowed us to have meaningful conversations about all the options being faced – and in each case it helped to bring enormous clarity for each individual in their choices! The reality is – life is full of making decisions – so it’s important that we have a process to help us (and to help those around us!) as we try to navigate wisely. I hope my 3 steps will inspire and equip both your work & family teams!

Research says adults make 35,000 conscious decisions every day!

Every decision carries its own rewards and consequences.

Source: Psychology Today

Step #1:           Know Your Values

Knowing your values is the starting point for making any decision. Values provide our foundation and direction. When we know them (and abide by them) they will bring us great clarity and happiness! So your first step is to identify and KNOW the top #5 values you want to live your life (and career) by.  Write them down (don’t just think them).  What is most important to you? Career Growth? Adventure? Family? Security? Making A Difference? Once you have identified them, prioritize them from #1-5.

Step #2:           Gather Your Data & Insight From Others  

When you are making important decisions with several options – gather ALL the data you can and research all the different choices! Information can bring clarity.  Talk with as many people as you can to hear their insights (it doesn’t mean you have to follow their advice – you are just gathering data to help you look at it from all sides). For example, if you choose Option A – it might look like this. If you choose Option B – this is the upside and this is the downside. Researching online can be helpful – but I have also found the best way is to talk with real people who have faced similar decisions. Real stories and experiences are powerful!

Step #3:          Filter Your Data Through Your Values Lens

Once you’ve done both steps, take each option from Step #2 and filter it through your Top-5 Values from Step #1. Try and figure out which outcome will be most aligned with your values, and then move ahead with confidence!

Several years ago I was offered an incredible work opportunity. Four out of five of my trusted colleagues said I should do it – but one strongly discouraged it. Why? Because this individual knew me well, and they were concerned it would cause me a lot of conflict.  Yes, this opportunity would have been an incredible career advancement (checks off my value for ‘Making A Difference’) – but it would have required a great amount of work travel, time away from home, unpredictability and less control of my schedule – and since my #1 value is Family – I declined it.  My colleagues thought I was crazy, and yet even as I sent the email declining the offer – I felt enormous peace.

Do you know the secret of happiness? Here’s what I’ve learned – it’s when we make decisions that are aligned with our top values.  As an Executive Coach and Family Coach – I don’t tell my clients what decisions to make, but I DO teach them how to make their own effective decisions. I get them to dig deep, clarify what it is they value & want, and then to have courage to follow their inner voice.

Do you have other tips to help you make great decisions? I’d love to hear! Email me at

Your Leadership & Relationship Coach
Dr. Karyn

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