The Single Most Important Part of Any Decision

Ever have a big decision to make,

but you felt stuck?

Some have affectionately called it analysis paralysis.  It's when you list out all of the pros and cons, hoping that the next move will become clear, but it doesn’t.  It seems that no matter how much information you gather,  the decision is never gets crystal clear.  In fact, the opposite seems to happen,  the more information you put on the table the harder the decision gets.

So what if you and I are going about this in the wrong way?  Maybe our approach is flawed. Perhaps our process to make a decision is actually keeping us from the very thing we want, a confident decision.  A decision that when you look back, you can say, "You know, everything didn't go as I planned, but I still made the best choice."

So what is the most important part of any decision that we often overlook?  People.

Great decisions are all about one thing, WHO not what.

The single most important factor in any decision you make is to focus on WHO and not WHAT.

The tendency is to focus on what needs to happen, when will it happen, and how will happen.  Your pro/con list is probably filled with an almost 100% focus on what, when, where, and how, but the single key factor is really who!  If you get the who part right, the rest of the issues will fall into place.

Allow me to illustrate how this played out in my family just recently.  We decided to take a family vacation.  Immediately there were all kinds of suggestions on where we should, what we should do, how we should get there.  Drive? Fly? (Uhm- quick answer-NO)  My husband of course wants to know how much is this all going to cost.  You get the idea.

My head began to spin with all of the questions, the details, the possibilities.  Suddenly,  this vacation idea was not so thrilling.  I needed something to clear the indecision fog, because I was stuck.   I shifted my focus from where, what, how, and how much, and instead focused on who.  Almost immediately all of the other questions were answered.  Let me show you a brief glimpse of my process.

Who is going on the trip?

Our trip included 2 sets of grandparents, 2 great-grandparents, my husband and I, and our 7 children ages 15-2.

Who has special needs on the trip? Medical, physical, etc.

Of course the grandparents need to be considered if any of our plans involve lots of walking, hiking, or some other physically demanding activity.  But also my daughters are gluten-free.  We need to be able to accommodate their diet by cooking daily or traveling to cities with plenty of options for them to eat.

Overall "who" considerations:

15 people total including:

4 senior citizens

1  child in diapers

2 children who need steady access to gluten free foods,

Our final decision was to go to the beach. We could get there in about 5 hours.  We rented two condos, right across the street from one another.  The grandparents have ground floor access to their condo, so no stairs to worry about.  We have two kitchens, so less need to eat out, and less concern of wheat allergies.  Those who want adventure can do it, and those who want to just relax- that would be me, can just relax.

Everyone is excited about our plan. I believe it all came together because we focused on people first.  Once the people part was in place, all the other decisions just fit.

I hope that as you make your next decision, whether it's travel or more mundane like what's for dinner,  remember to focus on who first.  Define the key people in your decision.  Who is involved? Who is most affected?  Who is best served?  Start there.  I think you will find that all the other pieces will begin to fall into place from there.

Your turn - What decision do you need to make? 

Will a focus on WHO make a difference?


  1. Saweier says:

    Thanks Susan, that is very useful.  It’s so easy to lose sight of what is really important, fulfilling God’s will and not our own.  Focusing on the people we love and what they require is an excellent reminder to serve God by serving others.  

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