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On Making Tough Decisions


I’ve heard it a lot lately – in emails, DMs, phone conversations, Skype chats – “I am having a really tough time making a decision about X.”

Heck – even I get stuck making decisions!

So I thought I would share the best tool Martha Beck taught me when we *think* we don’t know what to do. I love it because it taps into the deep wisdom our bodies hold that can circumvent our very smart and very conflicted brains.

(As a side note, many actors refer to their body as their “instrument”. It must always be kept in tune and in touch for it to operate properly. This exercise does exactly that!)

It’s called The Body Compass. And if you’re thinking – “yeah yeah, I already know that.”, do yourself a favor and re-visit it with a fresh heart. 🙂

Step 1. Think of the most joyful moment of your life.

Close your eyes and really put yourself into that moment. What do you see? Who was there? What do you smell? Anchor it into your senses. Now, scan your body. Where does that supremely joyful feeling live? Really nestle down into it’s place of residence like a big down bed.

Step 2. Think of the most heinous experience of your life.

Do everything you did in Step 1 to anchor it in your body. What do you see? Who is there? What do you smell. Once it’s vividly technicolor, scan your body again. Where does this complete and total yucky, nastly feeling live in your body. Now you don’t have to nestle down into it, but do make a note of it’s address in your body and what it feels like to be there.

Step 3. Summon the decision you must make.

Visualize each of your available options in turn. Breathe into the details. What will that option look like? Feel like? And when you really are “in” that option, where does the feeling it gives you “live”? Is it a nearby neighbor of Joyful or it camped out near YuckyMcNasty?  Don’t let your brain get in on this conversation. This is about tapping into what your body knows.

I’m guessing that one of the options in front of you lives in Joyful’s neighborhood. And, if I were you, that is the option I would choose. 🙂

So my challenge to the tribe is this: try this little exercise on a decision large (like should you move) or small (like what should you have for dinner) and let me know how it goes. As always, I am fascinated by what you teach me. 🙂



P.S. Yep – it is a shameless self-promotion for the Creating Irresistible Presence Preview call TOMORROW (Thursday). I’ve got awesome teaching to share, a seat at CIP to give away and another trick up my sleeve, so I do hope you will join me!

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