Five Tips for Making Difficult Decisions


When my husband had to choose which colleges to apply to, way back before I knew him, he consulted the Barron’s Guide to Colleges and became overwhelmed--there were too many schools, too much information, and he hadn’t a clue how to narrow down the options. And so, he threw the book down the stairs in frustration.  It landed at the bottom step, splayed open to a page describing Ithaca College. And that’s the way my husband decided that he would go to Ithaca College, which is the school he graduated from.  

That’s not a process I would recommend—throwing books and trusting that fate will make them land opened to the page bearing the right answer for you. And yet, though that particular approach seems far-fetched, it’s not actually that far off from the methods many of use for deciding which path to follow. Typically, when faced with a tough decision, we talk to friends, we try to consult our intuition, we see what the universe makes happen, trusting that the cosmic breeze will make the “right choice” drift our way. Some of us consult oracles and prophets. Few of use a scientific process to arrive at a conclusion, other than maybe listing pros and cons.

And yes, there are great processes you can use to narrow your options down. If you need help getting over anxiety that arises when you confront your choices, these processes can be of enormous help. They can help you to have much more clarity about what your choices actually are. And by the way, I’m not saying there’s no place for intuition. Rather, I’m suggesting that first, get clear on what’s already in your mind and heart by using the help of some great step-by-step methods, and then, if you want to add intuition to the mix, go ahead.

Here are some pointers and practices that may be of help:

  1. Go through your own process before talking to everyone else. Women in particular tend to like to collect everybody’s opinion before making a decision. While talking it through with your loved ones can be valuable, it can also steer you away from your own wisdom. Find out what you really think before investigating what your brother, neighbor, astrologer, and boss think. Trust that you do have some wisdom buried within, your own inner radar.

  1. Enlist the help of a partner or professional coach. This suggestion may seem to contradict the first step, but it really doesn’t.  Your partner or coach should serve as a sounding board, someone you can discuss your thought processes with. This person can reflect back to you what they hear and notice as you talk about your options—which is very different from telling you their own opinion. This is where a life coach can be so helpful.. Life coaches are trained to help you to see through your mental fog to know what’s in your own mind or your own heart.

  1. Try the Wise Choice Process developed by Skip Downing. This involves first asking yourself, “What are my choices?” and writing them all out. This activity alone can help you to see options that you haven’t considered. It can also help you to recognize that you have lots of options available. The next step is to list the probable outcome of pursuing each choice. Once you have those options delineated, discuss them with your partner or coach. The next step is to decide which choice you will commit to, but you may not be ready for that yet. Try the 10-10-10 Process, below, first.

  1. Use the 10-10-10 Process created by Suzy Welch. Here, you take the options you listed in the Wise Choice process, and for each one, write what the probable outcome of choosing that option will be in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years. Go through this same regimen with each option on your list.

  1. Use an Enhanced Version of the Pros and Cons System.  Here, you devote a separate page to each of the options you listed in the Wise Choice Process. For each option, list out all the pros in one column, and all the cons in another. Then, assign each item a point value between 1 and 10. Count up all the values in the pro column, and then all the values in the con column to get a sense of what holds the most advantage for you. If the “winning” choice isn’t the one that feels best to you, it might be time to go talk to your friends, your astrologer, and of course, your coach.
 Hope this helps!
     Dr. Hiyaguha Cohen works with clients by telephone, Skype, and email. She also sees Hawaii  counseling clients in person. Visit her website at www.thelifechangecoach.com
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    Getting Clear on Your Money Issues

    Just like there’s no corner of life that isn’t affected by oxygen, it may well be that no aspect of life is unaffected by money. True: in deep meditation, we don’t think about money, we don’t spend it, and we don’t want it. But lately, I’ve been realizing that my own spiritual bent has made me blind to a truth I’ve perhaps wanted to deny: this world really does operate on the basis of exchange, and the instrument of exchange most frequently used is money. If you want help getting over anxiety about money, first you need to understand your relationship to it.

    Money is always there in our lives, in the background, like the bass line in a rock song.  There’s always someone trying to sell us something, or we need something that requires money to obtain. We need money for food, for shelter, for comfort. We need more money to protect our health, to educate ourselves, to care for others. There’s our personal history with money that we carry everywhere we go, the financial legacy that our ancestors passed down to us, the attitudes our parents implanted in us, the spiritual ideas about money that we adopted. These attitudes are always with us, as is the background tape telling us to be sure we’ll have enough for the next thing.

    The desire for money is primal, just as is the desire chipmunks have for hording acorns. This is why so many loving siblings end up enemies when an inheritance is at stake. This is why so many otherwise compatible spouses end up hating each other. They don’t understand that the urge to have money and to horde is instinctual both in themselves and in their loved ones, akin to a survival need, and any loss of control of money feels like being deprived of food.  

    Many of us deny that money matters as much as it does. Either that, or we resort to magical thinking about money—“if I have the right attitude, the money will come.” Goodness knows, there are enough books and movies out there reinforcing this belief.  Because we don’t know how to think about money, because it’s uncomfortable, we throw our hands up in the air and say, “the universe will provide.” It’s the same attitude we bring to the subject of death, leaving the timing and method of our death in the hands of the universe but hoping there’s some magic involved in beating the odds, if only we stay positive. Money feels mysterious to us, like death, shadowy and transient, something we don’t talk about. (I do believe there’s truth to the idea that attitude affects both prosperity and lifespan, but creating wealth is about more than thinking positive.)

    I’ve been taking a Tapas Acupressure course on healing in relation to money and I’ve been amazed personally at how much there is to heal. I believe that most of us have issues to clear around money—whether those issues involve debt or earnings, having too little or too much, having shame around past mistakes, anger at having been ripped off, guilt at having exploited others, or fear about what may come.  And I think the first step in healing these issues is to bring them out of the basement of your consciousness and into the light. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can clear it using TAT or another similar practice.

    To begin to get clear on your own money issues, ask yourself these three questions and write your answers down:

    1. What about money am I not dealing with in my life?
    2. What is unfinished in my relationship with money or earning it?
    3. Where am I angry or ashamed or afraid in relation to money or earning it?
    Let me know if I can help!
    Dr. Hiyaguha Cohen is a certified Tapas Acupressure practitioner and life coach. She offers coaching by Skype and telephone worldwide, as well as in-person Hawaii counseling. Contact her at Hiyaguha@thelifechangecoach.com.

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    When a Problem Won’t Go Away


    Here where I live, on the island of Kauai, we have coaches and counselors and Reiki Masters and craniosacral therapists and Deeksha givers and channelers in abundance, as well as practitioners of every other possible healing modality you can imagine. Although many of my local clients have sampled generously from this extensive smorgasbord of therapies, trying one treatment approach after another, they still suffer terribly from problems that won’t clear. They still need help getting over anxiety, they still need help for low self-esteem, they still need help with trauma recovery, they still need help moving on.

    These people are sincere, and they are motivated. They really want to change. They are trying so hard, paying so much money to all the practitioners they see, dedicating so much time to healing, and still, they have an issue that just doesn’t budge. They may get some relief from the various treatments they undergo, and that is most welcome, but the core problem still lingers so they try another practitioner, another method, or they read another book, and then another, and another.

    But it isn’t just my clients in this boat. In fact, most of us have at least one problem or challenge that won’t disappear. Why is it that these issues just won’t go away no matter what we do, who we see, how much we pray, how hard we try? Why don’t the healing modalities ultimately deliver on the promise of transforming the agony, erasing the distress, changing the habits or addictions or beliefs or circumstances?

    I believe it’s because most healing methods—including alternative methods--deal with symptoms, rather than root causes. Just as practitioners of Western medicine tend to give pills and prescriptions to alleviate patient ailments while failing to examine what caused the ailment in the first place, alternative healing, too, often focuses on alleviating the manifestation of distress—the anxiety, the headache, the insomnia, the depression, the addiction, the low-self-esteem, the fight with the spouse or the job now lost. When the manifestation of distress lessens—the insomnia stops, for instance--the client feels better for a while, but then the problem comes back because the root cause was never eradicated.

    On the other hand, sometimes the healing method focuses on the antidote to the problem—the visualization, the affirmation, the meditation, the placing of hands or needles or the tapping on the right spot, finding the right crystal, taking the right supplement, gazing upon the right Master. Again, this approach can offer some wonderful relief, but ultimately the problem resurfaces because the root cause still lives.

    You may think you’ve addressed the root cause, but if the problem persists—you probably haven’t, not really. And there always is a root cause, or maybe several root causes, whenever a problem won’t go away. That root cause may be buried ten layers down from where you think the root cause resides. So you work on what you suppose is the root cause, and still you have the problem. You probably just haven’t gone deep enough yet.

    A huge part of healing involves discovering what’s way underneath the surface of your problem. And very often, the thing that’s at the root of the root is some misguided belief. Even more central than the trauma that originally caused your distress may be some distorted belief that the trauma spawned. And the thing about the belief is that it’s invisible to you. It’s so deep, so much a part of your consciousness, that you can’t even see it. So, for instance, you might think the root of your problem is your father’s cruelty. You might remember a particularly traumatic episode with your father, and you assume this is where your anxiety stems from. Maybe your therapist agrees. You work on reducing the stress associated with that memory, on disrupting the energy field associated with that memory, but still you have the anxiety. That’s because beneath that memory is buried your belief--which was born at the time of the original incident—your belief that you are shameful and inadequate.

    No matter how much trauma-clearing you do, you won’t eradicate the distress as long as your misguided beliefs persist. These beliefs can cause inordinate fear, shame, anger, pain. They can make you feel that you are hopeless, helpless, shameful. They can totally sabotage your healing.

    So you have to be willing to do the work, the real work, of drilling down deep to see what belief resides behind the manifestation of your problem. No matter how many massages you get, how many times you tap your acupressure points, no matter how many affirmations you chant—you won’t heal until you get beyond the symptoms.  If you still aren’t healing, you need to be very brave and very persistent, asking yourself over and over, “And what belief is behind this? And behind that? And then, behind that?”

    To heal your stubborn issues, use any method of self-inquiry that works for you. This can be difficult to do without help, so if you don’t have success healing yourself, reach out! I suggest you find a professional who works with uncovering distorted beliefs and can offer a method like Tapas Acupressure technique or another energy healing modality that disrupts old patterns of belief and allows you to invite healing energy in to establish new beliefs.

    Blessings, Hiyaguha, The Life-Change Coach

    Dr. Hiyaguha Cohen is a Ph.D. life coach certified in Tapas Acupressure Technique. She works with clients by telephone, Skype, and sees Hawaii counseling clients in person.
    Posted in Help for low self-esteem, Trauma recovery | Tagged , , | Leave a comment