The Secret to Making a Hard Choice

Making a hard choice

 In her TED talk, How to make Hard Choices, philosopher Ruth Chang shares a new way of handling choices between two difficult options. “What makes a choice hard is the way the alternatives relate” she explains. “In a hard choice, one alternative is better in some ways, the other is better in other ways and neither of them is better than the other overall”.

The key to her argument is that when evaluating hard choices we are really evaluating our values. She posits that we incorrectly apply scientific thinking to values, “assuming that values, like justice, beauty, kindness are akin to the scientific quantities like length, mass and weight…”

Values are typically single abstract words like love, freedom, security, trust or joy. These words represent what’s important to us and will determine where we spend our time, our energy and our resources. I regularly use values in my work with clients. If you recall the Hierarchy of Change model that I wrote about in January, you’ll remember that changes made at the level of values and beliefs will automatically impact on your behaviours, your capabilities and your environment.

Most often our values are unconscious and were installed in the formative years of early childhood. Values are installed unconsciously through the strong influences of our family, our education and our culture.   Unless we bring those values to conscious awareness, we are destined to evaluate our hard choices based on someone else’s outdated programming.

Once you uncover and claim your own values, you are then much better equipped to be able to make a decision when faced with a hard choice. Ruth Chang explains that hard choices occur when the options are “in the same league of value, while at the same time being very different in the kinds of values [they fulfill]”. For instance, if choosing between two career options, perhaps one as a graphic artist and the other as an investment banker, the graphic artist option fulfills the value of creativity and expression and the investment banking option fulfills the values of security and status. The key to making the hard choice is to know what values are most important to you. When we make these hard choices from our values we are setting ourselves up to enjoy the most satisfaction with the chosen option.

So when faced with a hard choice between two options, I encourage you to follow Chang’s advice: “Instead of looking for reasons out there, we should be looking for reasons in here.” Make your decision based on your values, on what’s most important to you, to build a life rich in satisfaction.

Image Credit: Grant MacDonald via Flickr

Five Strategies of Super Successful Clients

How to be successful

New clients often ask me how they can make sure they get the most out of the work we do together.  In this month’s blog post I share with you the top 5 strategies my most successful clients have employed to make the changes created in the consultation room a permanent part of their lives.

Make change a short-term priority

Life can get busy and hectic and get in the way if we let it.  Clients that are super successful at getting the results they want, make change a priority in the short term.  By creating non-negotiable space in their busy schedules they ensure they have the time to attend our consultations and practice the tools I give them.

Take responsibility for your results

As a professional I will give you the very best of my training, knowledge, care and attention but I am not going to be there with you for the other 23 hours in the day where you’re making decisions.  To create permanent change, you need to break through the barrier of inertia, and sometimes that means putting in conscious effort to get the ball rolling.

Do things differently

As the old adage goes “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got”.  Super successful clients follow up our consultations by taking consistent action and practicing new behaviours that support their goals.

Use the tools

I have spent the last decade of my life scouring the world for tools of transformation to share with my clients, but a hammer won’t drive a nail if you don’t pick it up and use it.  Clients that see the most rapid change are the ones that use the tools between sessions.

Focus on your victories

It’s easy to focus on our shortcomings, our failures, and our slip-ups.  Focusing on your victories, no matter how small at the beginning, will teach you to build that muscle of positivity and belief that change is possible.  With positive reinforcement, day-by-day that muscle will get stronger and soon you’ll be celebrating larger and larger victories.

By following these five strategies of super successful clients you’ll be setting yourself up to get the very most out of your investment, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of our work together for the rest of your life.

Image Credit: Angela Mabray via Flickr