Today’s episode has been percolating since March 2019. I’ve always known I was going to share it with you, but it just wasn’t quite ready.
In Episode 7 of the Work Your Inner Wisdom podcast, I talked about content creation as spiritual connection (click the link to revisit that episode). I talked about how we all co-create our content with the “big C Creator,” the universe, Spirit source, however you define it for yourself.
But that co-creation process means I’m not always in control of when it’s shared with the world. I just have this sense in my soul that this is the right time to share this episode with you. Today, I’m excited to introduce to you what I call the D.E.C.I.D.E. Framework.
The DECIDE Framework
(2:10) This is my framework for decision making. When I am feeling stuck, whether it's in my business, my relationships, or another aspect of my life, I use the D.E.C.I.D.E. Framework to guide me through. The framework features six steps, and conveniently it spells “decide”, hence the name. The steps help you get clear on what you need to make a decision, how to go about making that decision, and how to arrive at a solution that serves you.
The six steps of the D.E.C.I.D.E. Framework are:
D – Define the issue or question
E – Explore the deeper meaning
C – Center and connect
I – Invoke your intuition
D – Discern your next step
E – Engage with purpose
This is the core framework I use, and hopefully it will help you with any decision making process you have in your business or your life.
D – Define the Issue or Question at Hand
(3:45) This might seem like a no-brainer. If you've got a decision to make, you know what you're deciding, right? Well, not so fast. When I face a decision, there are many factors at play, and sometimes I need to get some clarity about it all.
I'll give you an example. Many of you know that we are gearing up for the Clarity Summit, which is going to lead into my brand-new membership program, Coach With Clarity®. Initially, I started to get really overwhelmed by all the possibilities that would be available as part of the membership. The more I tried to work through it, the more convoluted it became and the more confused I felt. That’s when I first needed to stop and define exactly what it was I needed to address.
At the core of it, I was trying to decide what kind of structure and format I wanted for this membership site. I was getting distracted by some of the next steps and additional features. I needed to refocus and get clear on the core decision I needed to make. I needed to figure out the underlying structure. If you’ve ever been a part of a membership program before, you know that when the rules are clear, and the structure is consistent, it’s a much easier and more pleasurable experience for you as the member.
At that point, I broke out the D.E.C.I.D.E. framework. I had to determine the issue: what did I want the structure for Coach With Clarity® to be?
Of course, you can use the D.E.C.I.D.E. framework in any aspect of your life. If you’re a parent and a spouse like me, you’re probably juggling a lot of activities and appointments. Defining the issue or question might be, “How am I going to coordinate all of our schedules? How can I partner with my spouse to ensure that our children are taken care of and get to where they need to be?” You can use the D.E.C.I.D.E. Framework there as well.
It's so critically important to first get clear on what it is you are addressing as you make this decision.
E – Explore the Deeper Meaning
(7:55) Once you’ve defined the issue or question, it’s time to connect that to what really matters to you. Why is making this decision so important? I’ve talked a lot about values on this podcast. Episode 19 was all about finding your purpose, using your values to inform that decision. If you need a refresher, go back and give it a listen.
It’s important to identify your values and your purpose because those connect what you do with who you are. If the decision you’re facing doesn't address your values or what matters most to you, you might need to look at a couple of factors. Maybe the decision is not super important; you need to make the decision and move on.
But if this decision isn’t resonating with your core values, ask yourself if it’s a decision you need to make. If it truly isn't important to you, or it’s inconsistent with your values, how can you address it? It may mean delegating a task to someone, or saying no. Exploring the deeper meaning and connecting this decision to your values can help you get direction and clarity.
Connecting the decision with the value reaffirms my desire to take action. Even if I'm feeling overwhelmed, confused, or in doubt, I can negotiate those unwanted emotions when I know that they are in the service of something that matters to me.
Let’s take the Coach With Clarity® example again. I know I needed a structure. Now, I had to identify how this fit with my values and why it was so important to me. One of my core values is service. When I can show up serve people, I am acting in a way that is aligned with my values.
Membership is all about serving my people. It is about helping intuitive coaches figure out how to balance the act of coaching and working with their clients with the necessary business building steps that we all need to do as entrepreneurs. The Coach With Clarity® Membership brings an aligned approach to the art of coaching, one that leads to profit but also allows us to approach coaching from a place of calm, certainty, and empowerment.
Another of my core values is love, which I can connect to my home life right now. When I have a decision to make about scheduling, spending time with my kids, and making sure my husband and I get what we need, those decisions are very much connected to my values of love. I'm basically a chauffeur after 3:00 PM every day. It's like my side hustle. But I'm willing to do that because I know I am serving my kids, and it's a way for me to express my love.
Pausing and taking a few seconds to connect our decisions to an underlying value will motivate us and help us get through the unwanted thoughts and emotions that come from moving outside our comfort zones.
C – Center and Connect
(14:00) The next two steps have to do with internal reflection. If you are like me, you feel much better about the decision-making process when you come from a place of calm, clarity, and focus. When I think about the major decisions in my life that have turned out well, they’re decisions I made from that place of calm connectedness.
When I've made decisions from places that felt frenetic or overwhelmed, where my imposter syndrome was at play, or I compared myself to other people, they weren’t great decisions. When it comes from that place of lack or scarcity, inevitably the decision does not sit well with me, and there are often unintended consequences.
How do we center and connect? There's no one way. Find what works best for you. Sometimes when I have to make a quick decision, it's as simple as taking one deep breath to reconnect to my body, to notice the breath, and to calm down any racing thoughts or overwhelming emotions. When I'm faced with a significant decision, I prefer to give myself the gift of time. I take 10 or 15 minutes and center myself either through meditation or another act of mindfulness.
(I’ve created some mindfulness exercises for entrepreneurs, which you can find for free over at the Wisdom Library).
I use meditation as a tool for centering because it helps me calm down the chatter that goes on in my mind. Through the practice of mindfulness, we can call attention to our thought process, we can notice the thought without buying into it, and then we can return ourselves to the present moment.
(17:00) Once you are feeling centered and grounded, invite your intuition to speak to you (I talked about this process in Episode 5). You don't have to spend 20 minutes meditating to invoke your intuition. For instance, when I make quick decisions, I simply take one deep breath to connect with my body and my spirit or intuition. I ask my intuition to come out and play and to let me know where we need to head.
But if I'm faced with a deep decision that has lasting impacts on my business or my life, then I definitely want to take some time to center and connect myself first. I want to invite my intuition to have a seat at the table. I will ask my deep inner wisdom, “what do you want me to know about this situation?” And that phrasing is important.
I used to ask my intuition, “what do you want me to do?” I was focused on the end result and action. I found that I got really attached to the result, and I needed it to be to be perfect. If I approach my intuition instead by asking “what would you like me to know about the situation? What would be helpful for me to see about what I'm facing right now?” it opens up this channel for more in-depth observation and discovery.
As I worked on Coach With Clarity®, I asked my intuition what it wanted me to know about moving forward with this membership. The answer I received was find the fun. Find the joy. What would be fun for both my members and me? I was getting so wrapped up in providing value that I was losing sight of the reason we all go into coaching: because we enjoy it and it’s fun. My intuition reminded me that I needed to reconnect to my core value of joy and look at the membership through that lens.
Through this process, I began to reflect on what clients I enjoyed in the past, what’s been fun, and what has led to powerful sessions that leave the client and me feeling more engaged and excited. I started seeing some common threads between the coaching sessions I'd had both as a coach and as a client. I knew my next step was to figure out how to integrate those elements into the Coach With Clarity® membership.
D – Discerning Your Next Step
(22:15) While all steps of the D.E.C.I.D.E. Framework are important, I think this one if the most critical. In the process of discernment, we marry our internal intuitive sense with the external real-world observations. We merge our intuition with external data to make good decisions in our business and our lives. Because if we go solely off one and we don't incorporate the other, we may find ourselves off track.
If I'm making decisions about the Coach With Clarity® membership and I'm only paying attention to what other people are saying, and I'm not allowing my intuition to show up, then I'm creating a membership that is 100% driven by others, and I'm going to get lost. That’s what happened to me that first year of business. I cultivated my coaching practice around what I thought I should be as a coach and what other people were telling me. I was showing up and trying to be everything for everyone, but I was missing.
Discernment allows me to take full advantage of all the information I have in front of me, both internal information (thoughts, feelings, intuition, sensations) and view them in the context of the environmental factors. Then, it’s time to take the next step.
E – Engage with Purpose
(26:30) The final step of the D.E.C.I.D.E. Framework is to engage. Once you've made the decision, you have to take action. You have to engage with purpose. So many of us have great ideas, we do all the planning and preparation, and then we don't take action. Something holds us back and keeps us from moving forward. And usually, it's fear that holds us back (Click the link to listen to Episode 17, where I talk about fear-based action). Whether it's fear of failure, fear of rejection, even fear of success, when we don't act on something important to us, it's because of fear.
We need to do the work to root out that fear and then engage with purpose. So often it's the first step that's the hardest. But by taking aligned action, even if it's just one small step, we create momentum that can help us keep going and move through the fear.
The best entrepreneurs out there are not the ones who are fearless. They're the ones who are courageous, who know how to work through their fear and take action anyway.
So that's it – the D.E.C.I.D.E. Framework, my six steps for making a decision that honors your intuition and connects you with deeper meaning and allows you to serve the people in your life.
I know the D.E.C.I.D.E. Framework will help you make better decisions that are aligned with your values and your purpose. It’s the process I used when developing the Coach With Clarity® program, and it has been useful to me in so many ways in my business and my life.
In this week’s Make It Work Moment (brought to you by the totally FREE five-day Clarity Summit, coming September 30) I challenge you to put the D.E.C.I.D.E. Framework into action. Carve out 20-30 minutes this week and go through this process regarding a decision you need to make in your business or your personal life. Use the meditation or mindfulness tools at the Wisdom Library to help you. You can also sign up to receive the weekly Deeper Dive which contains bonus material specific to this episode.
I hope you'll share how you use the D.E.C.I.D.E. Framework – I'd love to hear about its impact in your business and your life! Until then, my wise ones, remember to let your inner wisdom lead the way…
Mentioned in this episode:
- Work Your Inner Wisdom website
- The Clarity Summit, coming September 30. Register online for FREE!
- Coach With Clarity® Membership Program
- Work Your Inner Wisdom Podcast Episode 7: Content Creation as Spiritual Connection
- Work Your Inner Wisdom Podcast Episode 17: The Four Fs of Fear-Based Action
- Work Your Inner Wisdom Podcast Episode 19: Finding Your Purpose
- Work Your Inner Wisdom Podcast Episode 5: Intuitive Decision Making
- The Wisdom Library
- Work Your Inner Wisdom Facebook Community
- Follow Lee on Instagram!