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How I untangle messy decisions

I never realized just how much anxiety was triggered by decision making until I began sharing with people that I studied decision engineering at Stanford.

“That’s neat! I hate decisions. Can you help me?”

“That’s a thing? Why don’t they teach that to everyone? I could totally use that.”

“Wow. Can I just outsource all my decision making to you?”

I absolutely love the process of untangling decisions. Most people don’t. They run the other way. And when they do face one, it can feel confusing, emotional, stressful, and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

One of the best things you can do to avoid thinking in circles is to get all of those thoughts about the decision out of your head and onto paper, into a decision tree.

A decision tree is a visual representation of the decision(s) you have to make, the uncertainties in play, and the possible outcomes you may face. Once your thoughts are mapped out outside of your head, it becomes easier to evaluate what course of action makes sense.

Let’s take, for example a common dilemma faced by a number of professional women.

I want to have kids. AND I want to have a career. WHAT DO I DO?!?!?

Recently someone hired me because she was stressed out about decisions regarding her career and starting a family. Continue reading