They tell you to get plenty of rest during a divorce. LOL, it's hard when you're lying awake at night worrying over what you should and shouldn't do. How much better would you feel if you were well-rested and felt confident about your decision-making ability? There's no better night of rest than after making a well-thought-out, confident decision and moving on. So why is decision making so tricky? Let's take a look at our blind spots and discuss steps you can take to become decisive and confidently make decisions.
Most often, we see our decision choices as one thing or another, a yes or a no, a pro, and a con. To be decisive, you'll want to have a broader range of options to consider. Most often, we ask ourselves questions that limit our responses. We ask, "should I do this OR that." Look for options that include This AND That instead of This OR That. In a divorce, take time to explore all your options. You'll want to research which procedural option is best for you: mediation, do-it-yourself, litigation, or collaboration. You'll want to examine your real estate and financial options, too. You'll have better information and more choices to consider. Do research, consult professionals, and uncover opportunities you didn't know existed.
We are prone to believe what we want to think. Our confirmation bias and wishful thinking cloud our assumptions and how we interpret our research. To be decisive, you'll want to fight confirmation bias and reality-test your options. In the previous example of which divorce process is right, reality test the opposite. If you’re thinking of a collaborative divorce reality check a litigated divorce by imagining you and spouse in the process. It's also beneficial to have constructive disagreements with people you trust who advocate one method over the other. Ask them: "What's the biggest obstacle you see to what I'm trying to do?" or "If I failed, why do you think it would be?"
"You can't make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen." according to Michelle Obama. To be decisive, step back from short-term emotions and revisit your values & priorities. Guard your priorities by writing them down and keep them nearby. Staying in your home, maybe your preference, but you don't know if you can afford it. If you are widening your options, you'll pursue refinancing, renting back from your spouse, etc. Also, you can step back and shift perspective by asking yourself, "What would I tell my best friend to do?" Another decision-making technique is to try your options over time. Talk with a friend about how your choice feels in ten days, ten weeks, and ten months.
Those of us overly confident seers of the future seldom plan to be wrong about our decisions. You'll want to prepare to be wrong by considering the best and worst scenarios. Let's look at the "staying in the house" scenario. That is your top step of the ladder choice, going down the ladder, a step staying in the neighborhood would be a positive alternative, keeping the kids in the school district is another step down the ladder. By bookending your options, you are better able to analyze what, depending on the result, would be your next decision. Also, you can run thumbs up and thumbs down interpretation: it's a year from now, what made your choice stellar? And, it's a year from now, what made your decision a disaster? Running tests prepares you for any eventuality.
In addition to widening your options, reality testing your choices, stepping back, and preparing to be wrong, I can't emphasize enough how important it is to work through divorce decisions with someone neutral and whom you trust. Although I was a coach, I wasn't aware of specialty coaching offered by divorce coaches. Divorce Coaches adhere to the American Bar Association definition, "Divorce Coaching is a flexible, goal-oriented process designed to support, motivate and guide people going through a divorce to help them make the best possible decision for the future, based on their particular interests, needs, and concerns." Most coaches provide potential clients with a 30-45 minute complimentary session to whether there is a good fit to work together. Give yourself the gift of a good night's rest and get a neutral partner in your corner.