As Changemaker of the Month, Natasha Akib received a coaching session on a topic of her choice — Decision-making.

The Problem: A brain overflowing with decisions to be made!

Natasha said: “Working on so many projects and in multiple roles, there are always lots of decisions and prioritising to be done. It’s easy to get lost deliberating over these! Some decision-making skills will be definitely useful!”

During our coaching session, I taught Natasha a Left Brain / Right Brain decision-making process.

The Solution Part 1: Befriend your left brain

Step 1: Brain dump!

Brainstorm all the decisions you need to make, writing one decision on each piece of paper  Natasha post-it 1

Step 2: Categorise the decisions

Group similar decisions together. Move those Post-it notes around!

This is how Natasha grouped hers (from left to right in the photo below):

1. Repeating decisions — editing for Digital Storytellers and who to feature in the StartSomeGood newsletter.
2. Big decisions — whether or not to do the film festival
3. Everyday decisions — where to work from, what to eat for dinner, etc 4. Other decisions

Natasha post-it 4

Step 3: Choose one and brain dump all the pros and cons

Natasha chose to focus on the decision about how to spend her time between Digital Storytellers and StartSomeGood. She wrote the pros and cons, one on each Post-it note. If you want, you can repeat this for more of the decisions.Natasha post-it 5

The Solution Part 2: Remember your right brain

Steps 1-3 are important so you empty your brain of all your head clutter. Now you’re ready for the important steps.

Step 4: Get clear on your underlying motivation

Write down how you’d like to feel in relation to, for example, your work. What qualities would you like to cultivate? The reason? Under the details of pros and cons of every decision is a yearning. A motivating quality. As Danielle LaPorte calls it, a core desired feeling. Naming those feelings empowers you in making your decision.Natasha post-it 2  Natasha chose 6 qualities above — inspired, confident, challenged, energised, confident, excited.

Step 5: Create a mission statement

First, narrow your qualities down to 3 (maximum). Then combine them into a sentence (your mission statement) that encapsulates how you want to operate in relation to this area of your area of your life. Keep tweaking the sentence until it lands.  Natasha post-it 3

Step 6: Apply the mission statement by taking micro-actions

Go back to your original decision Post-it notes. Ask yourself how your mission statement would apply to each decision. Although not all 3 qualities (eg stretched, inspired, organised) will apply to each decision, if you think laterally, there’ll always be one that can guide your decision-making.

For example, I asked Natasha how this mission statement could inform the decisions make. We looked at her decision about how to spread her time each week between her two main gigs, StartSomeGood and Digital Storytellers.

Because there’s a lot of flexibility with her roles, there are lots of decisions to be made about when to do her work. Natasha had already been managing her week with a great time management concept — ‘different days for different roles’ (eg Digital Storytellers on Mondays and Fridays, StartSomeGood on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. But she realised she hadn’t communicated that clearly to others, so people would contact her on random days, and she’d easily get distracted.

Micro-action: Create an email signature to make it clear to others: “The best days to catch me are Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays!”

Natasha email Screen Shot

So, what’s a decision you need to make in your life (big or small)?

Here are the steps you can use:

First, befriend your left brain

Step 1: Brain dump all the decisions you need to make, one per Post-it note

Step 2: Categorise the decisions

Step 3: Choose one decision. Write a pros and cons list, one idea per Post-it note


Then, remember your right brain

Step 4: Get clear on your underlying motivation (how do you want to feel in relationship to this goal area?)

Step 5: Choose 3 feelings (max) and incorporate them into a mission statement

Step 6: Apply the mission statement to your decision by taking a micro-action.