Just as we think things are running smoothly – bang! One of life’s road-bumps comes crashing in from nowhere, and we find ourselves agonising over difficult new choices. To make matters worse, we know that any decision we make will also have a run-on effect for those close to us.

Unless we lock ourselves away from the world, blips on the radar will be as predictable as breathing. Why is it, then, that as common as these bumps are, we’re not taught techniques for managing them? Without an efficient process to follow, it’s just too easy to get lost in their distracting whirlpool of stress and emotional upheaval.

Here are seven tips for seeing life’s tough decisions through new and empowered eyes – in fact, to play them like a chess game and win!


Obstacles and their challenging new choices can throw us off-kilter, especially when they blindside us. It helps to expect their appearance. Try being on the ready, prepared to welcome, accept, and embrace whatever it is that pops up. When it does, your response has a better chance to be more objective and far less emotional.


This term refers to putting a more positive spin on the situation. Instead of perceiving a pending decision as an obstacle, try seeing it as an opportunity for positive change. That shift in thinking will dramatically transform the quality of your emotions around the problem. With this mindset, you can move directly to the ‘how’- “How can I turn this issue into positive change?” This productive thinking will serve to move you AWAY from any tendency to procrastinate or mope, and TOWARD problem solving and strategic decision-making.


However you choose to ‘perceive’ your obstacle, there is no doubt that its existence will throw a significant amount of emotional turmoil into your days. The stress, frustration or impatience you may initially feel can be tapped in a productive way. Use it as a driving force to explore the issue and as fuel to create an effective resolution.


One of the most powerful ways to create a happy ending is to take time right up front to imagine the very best possible end result – to become crystal clear about what you want to see as an outcome. The picture of this after-effect of your new decisions must be vivid and in full detail, so that you have something specific to move toward. See it as if you’re watching a movie.


Working off the back of your newly formulated vision, you’re ready to become strategic, so reverse engineer, from your envisioned end result. Imagine… What were the things you did to get there? What decisions did you make along the way? Who did you involve? What were the action steps you took? From this vantage point you can create a realistic plan and prepare for real-time action.

Take Action

Depending on the nature of the decision you have to make, the action steps may be quick and easy or long and involved. Either way, hold onto your plan like you would a flagpole in a big wind. It will ground you to a focus on your desired outcome and keep you from spinning emotionally, especially if you’re caught up in a particularly complex situation.


And now, bask in the glow of the success of your final decision and the rewards of your envisioning, planning and action. Whether you worked through a small or complex issue, you accomplished a resolution and you can relax in knowing that you’re prepared to manage the next one with relative ease – life is good!

Muffy Churches is a Sydney-based executive coach, speaker, and leadership specialist. She is director of Beyond Focal Point, and author of ‘COACH Yourself’ (2016). Find out more at www.muffychurches.com

Every single day we are faced with a number of choices. From simple choices like what to have for breakfast and what to wear to work to bigger and more complicated choices that affect our lifestyles and our loved ones. Since making a choice or having to make a choice is always going to be a part of our lives, it is in our best interest to master it. Let me share with you five tips to making any choice in life and work like a boss.

1. Think of the outcome

Contrary to a popular belief, I’ve learned that one of the initial steps to making the right choice is to think of the outcome that we would like after making the choice instead of writing and comparing pros and cons on a piece of paper. Why? Because each pros and cons is subjective. For example, we might be faced with the option of whether to choose cereal or hash brown for breakfast. Both are equally bad for health and equally tasty. In this case, writing a pros and cons list is not going to help us make the right decision. However, if we think about the outcome we want after eating our breakfast, which, for example, is to feel fuller for a longer period of time, then the right choice is hash brown. Similarly, in our work life, we might be faced with having to make a choice between two job offers; the one that pays more vs. the other with a better career path. Based on what outcome we would like to achieve and what we consider important to us, we can make the decision that is right for us.

2. Apply past learnings and experiences

We are always encouraged to learn from our experiences in the past. There is no better time to apply our learnings than when making a choice. So for example, if we had made a similar decision before, then we should think back and reflect on the choice that we made. Was it a good choice? Could we have done better? Whatever we have learnt then, we can apply now.

3. Have default options

I am a strong believer in the phrase the less we have to do (for things that don’t matter), the more we can do (for things that matter). That’s why having default options that I always choose for certain circumstances work wonders for me. For example, my default option for coffee is skim flat white, my default choice for hairstyle is bob and so on. Our brains are great at making the same choice effortlessly after enough practice, which is why women always go to ladies toilet and men go to mens without having to think twice or think at all.

4. Know the difference between urgent and important

An urgent decision is something we need to make immediately, for example, when we get into a lift, we need to press which level we would like to go right away. An important decision is something that we need to consider thoroughly, usually after analysing, gathering and processing facts. With this type decision, we may need to sleep on it to ensure we are not rushing into something. For example, if we are thinking of buying a property then we will need to perform adequate due-diligence before choosing which property to purchase. Then there are both urgent and important choices which call for immediate and impactful decisions. And then we have non urgent and non important decisions, which are simply not worth fussing over. Knowing what type of choice or decision that we are making will help us make the best decision for each circumstance.

5. Think outside the box

Just because we are given choices, it doesn’t mean we must choose one of them. Maybe we can choose both; have your cake and eat it too. Or maybe we do not want to choose any, but come up with our own option. Or maybe we decide that we don’t need to do anything at all. One thing to bear in mind though is that we don’t want to be a rebel without a cause but we want to be curious and innovative leaders who inspire ourselves and others with choices that we make.

So there you have it, five practical and helpful tips on how to make any choice in life and work. The next time you are making a decision, I hope you think of the steps above and make the right choice with ease and confidence. Do share with us if you have got any tips that have worked for you in making right decisions.

About the author

Ei Sabai Nyo is a highly innovative and award-winning web technologist and people manager with over 15 years industrial experience in the Internet and web development industry. She is also a co-founder of an Internet start up, Sale The World. She is passionate about start ups, entrepreneurship and personal and career development.