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Use guiding principles to avoid uncertainty and indecision!

Girl sitting in field, contemplating

Do you struggle with indecision? Are you scared you’ll make the wrong choice? Do you end up in a standstill, never making progress?

Then read on!

Whether you are starting a new project, considering a career change, making a big investment or just trying to map out your challenges for the year…

There is one trick you can use to simplify everything. And I mean EVERYTHING.

By doing this one step first, before you make any decisions, you can speed up your decision making, reduce the times or degree that you alter direction, and hugely improve your chances of actually getting to your end goal!

You ready for it?

Take the time to set your guiding principles.

This will save you sooo much time in the long run and help you make fast, accurate decisions along the way, that won’t leave you second guessing yourself. Feeling overwhelmed can really put the brakes on anything you’re trying to get done. If you’re not sure of the right direction, or the step ahead of you just looks too big, before you know it you’re spring cleaning the house and alphabetising the linen cupboard.

Lost in the maze - uncertain which way to go

What are guiding principles and how do I set them?

It’s common in organisations to set values, or a mission statement. These get everybody on the same page and tell others what you’re all about.

And it’s the same when you’re starting a project or setting yourself a goal. The project itself doesn’t have values, but there is a reason why you’re doing it and what you hope to achieve out of it. These are your guiding principles. Get clear on what your answers to these questions are.

And you can do this for anything. Whether you are building a new house or writing your shopping list for the week. When you’re stuck thinking up your meal plan, take the time to think about what you’re trying to achieve this week. Quick and healthy? Easy to put together? Soul food to get through those colder winter nights? Or just the cheapest thing you can put on the table? There is no right or wrong here. And next week’s purpose might be different to this week’s.

Renovating our house was a great example of the importance of guiding principles.

We recently rediscovered the importance of this when we started a house renovation. My husband and I started out early with a good, clear path of what we wanted. More sunlight and warmth in the kitchen, and an open plan kitchen-dining-living area. At some point we considered that if we moved the bathroom into the old kitchen and juggled some things around we’d get a pretty good open space.

But as we started talking to builders, I found that it’s tricky to get everything in your head across to another person. The way you see it. And we’d say, “we’re thinking of moving the bathroom from here to here”. When it wasn’t about the location of the bathroom at all! So we needed to step back, and start the conversation with our guiding principles.

  • More light.
  • Open plan living.

And then others can bring their creativity to the table and guess what? The bathroom ended up somewhere entirely different! Had we not thought about our guiding principles we might have ended with something that just missed the mark. It’s easy to do, but super important to not let the solutions, or the decisions along the way, become the guiding principles.

Taking the time at the start to think about why you are doing it and what you are trying to achieve will make sure this doesn’t happen for you.

You know where you’re heading and it’s easy to tell others where you are heading.

Any way works as long as you do it!

If you’re not immediately clear on what your guiding principles should be, ask yourself some “why” questions. Let’s say your starting a new blog. Why am I doing this? To make some extra money. Why do I want extra money? To be able to afford family holidays. Now let’s say your first answer was different. Why am I doing this? To share some of who I am with the world. Why do I want to do this? I feel I have a lot to share and I want to help others who are on a similar path.

Now, your principles would be different for these two scenarios. Even though your project is the same – to start a blog. But when it comes to making some decisions down the track, like whether you want to include ads or affiliate marketing, you’ll get a different answer depending on your guiding principle. Depending on your “why”.

So ask yourself some questions, jot down some of your thoughts and then try to simplify it down to why you’re doing it and what you want to achieve. Of course, if you’re planning your meals for the week, you can just do this in your head. But if you’ve got a big challenge ahead of you, I definitely recommend writing it down. It will be something you come back to time and time again, until it’s crystal clear.

Have you got any big challenges coming up that you think you could do this for? Let me know what they are, big or small, and the principles you have set. Remember, there is no right or wrong.

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