How are you making important decisions?

So you’re thinking about making a career change. Or you’re considering moving to another home, another city, or even another country. In your head you’re making pros and cons lists and you’re asking your family and friends for advice. And in the end? You’re more confused than where you started. 

In life, we’re constantly making small decisions, from deciding what we want to wear or what to eat for dinner, to what things we want to buy or how to spend our Sunday afternoon. These decisions come easy to us. They’re low risk – whatever decision you make will not have much of an effect on your life. It’s those big, life-changing decisions that are more challenging because generally, big decisions have big consequences. 

So what exactly happens in your brain when you make a decision? There are two parts of your brain at play: your limbic system and your neocortex. Your limbic system reacts first. This is your feeling brain, and it influences your decision from an emotional point of view, which is connected to your values. When you have a gut feeling about something, it’s your limbic system in action. When your limbic system has done its work, your neocortex comes in. This is the newest part of your brain and it analyses and rationalizes the decision. You might feel like you’re always making rational decisions, while in reality, a lot of your decisions are made in your limbic system, before you even knew it

So knowing that decisions are based on your values makes it clear that it is important to know what your values actually are. Your values can act as a guideline for deciding pretty much anything in life. So what are your values in life? Which things are more important to you than anything else? One of my biggest values is ‘freedom to work where and when I want’. Any decision that helps me to get closer to that ideal is helping me. 

Now imagine your perfect life, your perfect day or your perfect job (no matter how far away that might be). What does it look like? Taking time to figure out what you value most and where you want to go in your life will make it easier to make those big decisions. You will find it will be easier to follow that ‘gut feeling’ because you understand where that feeling comes from and you know the logic behind it (i.e your values). 

Values are big. Sometimes a bit too big to figure out by yourself. Contact me for a free 1h call so I can help you figure out what your values are and how you can use them in making those big decisions in life.


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Career coach amsterdam

Hi, I am Miguel Baumann

​I challenge young professionals in Tech to take charge of their careers.

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