Making Choices

This section of the website outlines a resource, Making Choices Well, developed for those looking for guidance on making difficult decisions. The core of the process outlined in this resource is as applicable to personal situations as it is to professional ones.

The steps in the process are presented in order, but please have a look at them all and then start wherever you feel comfortable. Go ahead – give it a try!

An example for each question is also provided, as is a template that you can download and complete for yourself.

Exploring my perspective without judgment

When facing a difficult issue, it can help to start out by exploring how it is affecting you. This is a chance to allow yourself to honestly assess where you are in the story.


  • It is a chance to check in to see how you are feeling – what emotions are in your heart, what impact the issue is having in your own body.
  • It is a chance to explore what these feelings are telling you about what matters to you – what you want, what your values are.
  • And it is a chance to step back and describe what the truth looks like for you about the story – what you see, and why you think things look that way.

Clarifying the question(s) I'm struggling with

The issues we face can be quite complicated. When we set aside time to think through them, if we don’t separate out the specific questions we need to answer or the individual problems within the issue that we need to resolve, we run the risk of going around and around without actually getting to an answer.


This step helps us to list these questions and then choose which one we want to focus on first.

Getting the information that is missing

When describing the story to ourselves, gaps will usually appear. Step 3 is where we set out our plan for filling in these gaps.


At this point, you may choose to pause and gather missing information if it is crucial.


It can also be helpful to keep going through the process and begin the discussion about what should matter (step 4), and then pause to gather information.

Prioritizing what's important

What we want reflectively or when we are caught up in an issue does not always align with what should be most important. This is an opportunity to consider other things that might be important in the situation and then to make a prioritized list of we think should matter most.


This step is very important in the process as the answers we arrive here will become the standards we use to assess the options for responding to our question.


It is useful to keep in mind that there are a number of things that are often important in most of life’s situations. These include that:


  • We treat the others involved in our stories with kindness and care
  • We listen to the views of these people
  • We seek a collaborative solution with these others
  • Our choice is sustainable
  • We privilege long-lasting gain over short-term benefit
  • We pay attention to the needs of the vulnerable in the story
  • We maximize respectful relationships
  • We are honest
  • Our choice is kind to the environment


Considering my options

Here we simply list the different choices we have for our answer.
It can be helpful to brainstorm and just put ideas down.

Testing my options

This is where we carefully look at the choices we have and see how well each allows us to live up to what’s most important.


You want to list the choices from step five in the top row and what’s most important in the left column.


Then you want to go through each row and for each value see how relatively well each choice does for that value.

Testing my options

This is where we step back and ask, what choice do we think is best?

Often it’s a combination of choices that will work best, so we can cobble the best parts of of a couple or more of choices.

My action plan

Just making a decision is not enough to live with integrity – we have to have the courage to act.


This step helps us to develop an action plan to ensure we put our solution into effect!