As my niece’s geese stepped between the leftover refuse of nephews, I realised that the decision to set up camp in my sister’s back garden was ill informed. Those inhabiting the tent hadn’t slept a wink all night, disturbed by the wind, nocturnal animals and their vivid imaginations. At least it was only an overnight camp for the children and not a life changing decision.

Life changing decisions can be daunting. Choosing between courses to study, career directions, buying a home or between two suitable partners can send blood pressure soaring.

How we make important decisions depends on a range of circumstances, including the age we are when choosing, the urgency to make a decision and emotional pressure brought to bear by friends or relatives.

It’s no surprise that a young man in his twenties is more likely to feel confident about the future when making a decision than the same man in his fifties. In his fifties he’s probably learned that consequences of choices are not always favourable.

Then there is the gender effect. A young man is apt to think about how it will affect only himself whereas a woman is likely to consider the effects on others when making a choice.

If you doubt your ability to make effective decisions try this process. Using a pen and paper, list the life-changing decisions you’ve made already in your life. These might include

  • Moving out of your parental home.
  • Enrolling in a course of study for a new career.
  • Changing jobs.
  • Leaving a bad relationship.
  • Taking a trip abroad or moving overseas to live.
  • Getting married.
  • Helping parents move into an aged care home.

Each of these actions required a decision and each decision needed commitment to see the actions through to a conclusion.

Sometimes when coaching a client with a creative goal, my task involves helping the person to make a series of decisions such as

  • How much of the project they can delegate to others.
  • How the project will be funded.
  • Who will be hired to edit, critique or fine-tune the finished product.
  • The time frame for the project.
  • How success will be measured at the conclusion.

Projects usually require decisions to keep them moving forward. Sometimes these choices are simple, obvious and practical and occasionally they are agonised over for weeks before a choice is made. There are a range of people who can assist in the decision making process, including counsellors, clairvoyants, business or life coaches, business analysts, accountants and close friends. Major decisions often require a range of people to counsel with each separate issue.

A client of mine has a chain of cafes and restaurants and each time he finds a new possible venue, he summons his advisors. He makes up a business plan with his assistant, a financial plan with his accountant, a building plan with his builder and designer and then meets with a planning officer from the local council to ask about the limitations of the desired venue. After this he consults me to help him select the right staff to run the business. Having seen previous cafes struggle due to staff theft or mismanagement, he knows the importance of this final step. Ultimately it’s his decision as he’s taking the financial risk. He has to pay the lease for three years or find a buyer for the café if it doesn’t work so he chooses his advisors very carefully and listens to what they say before deciding.

He also realises that decisions are only a part of the process. Following through with action is essential if his desired goals are to be reached. Although I’m not privy to his financial details, judging by the late model Bentley he drives and the extended holidays he takes each year, he appears to be successful.

Sometimes decisions are forced upon us. When my publisher told me that she didn’t want to publish my Intuition book, I was shocked. I loved the book and had painstakingly worked on it for almost four years. She said that she wanted a lightweight book based on one chapter of the current book.

Dejected, I went home and started to write her version of the book. It was rubbish and I knew it; my heart wasn’t in it. What she was asking for was a book length magazine article and I strongly believed that there were readers who wanted something with more depth. Most people already know what an aura is and how to spell telepathy. Students in my psychic development courses wanted to know about psychic cleansing and protection, astral travel, tracing psychic cords that connect us to each other and how to contact spirit guides. They didn’t want a whole course focussed on hunches.

I decided not to write the lightweight version and to self-publish the current book. I experienced all the trepidation of a novice author despite having already published nine books. This time I didn’t have the safety net of a publishing house. As I began researching designers for the interior layout I met Cristina Re, a successful Melbourne based designer who asked if I’d be interested in working with her on my next project. I sent her a copy of the manuscript and she was interested. Cristina showed me a couple of ideas and I was impressed. She then sent me a copy of her own book and I was amazed. Her design flair was immediately apparent. Cristina had produced a carefully designed full colour book filled with beautiful photographs. I knew immediately that this was a perfect fit for my new book.

We published Intuition in March of 2011 and the response has been enormous. The initial resolution to continue with the current book instead of writing a light version, lead me to another decision; to produce the book in partnership with Cristina Re. The success of this book was followed by another important choice, to self-publish in the future. Commercial publishers are unlikely to publish my titles as full colour books on gloss paper because they work to stringent budgets. One important decision can lead to other opportunities and choices, which eventually become a path you tread in life.

Sometimes life-changing decisions require that you believe in yourself. Because I speak directly to over 1000 people each year in public talks, I’m confident that I know my readership. When my publisher told me that she didn’t think the Intuition book would sell, I had to trust my instincts and my experience gleaned from years of public speaking. Intuition is currently outselling all my previous titles.

© 2013 copyright Paul Fenton-Smith