decision-making questions

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Facing a Big Decision

I felt increasingly uncomfortable with each sentence I read. Our corporate office had sent out a lengthy email unveiling new requirements for employees, and I wasn’t on board with them. I had spent a decade with this company but now faced a tough decision—do I go along with the new rules and keep my job, or do I follow my conscience and face potential unemployment? I knew this would be a tough conversation with my wife when I got home.

I walked in the door and laid out our fork-in-the-road conundrum. The options were clear, but the future was cloudy. We had decision-making questions to ask ourselves, and it wasn’t going to be easy. The consequences of our choices are magnified as dads and husbands. Our families are counting on us to make the right moves. Each of your decisions can change the course of your entire family’s future. It’s not easy, but here are 3 decision-making questions to ask yourself when facing a big decision.

1. Who benefits most from each option?

Humans can be a little bit selfish and tend to go into self-preservation mode when facing challenging choices. If you’re single, it makes sense that you would prioritize yourself when facing a crisis. If you’re married or have kids, there are other variables to the equation to consider. Asking ourselves who benefits from the outcomes of big decisions can reveal if we are making a choice with selfish motives. The apostle Paul told people to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Considering others should be Step No.1 when facing a big decision.

2. What is my gut instinct?

I would get stuck between two answers on multiple-choice tests in school. My teachers advised me to go with my first instinct. That’s because it’s often correct. A study showed that 75% of college students believe changing their first choice would lower their scores on exams.

Thinking through our first instinct is worthwhile when facing a big decision. I believe God nudges us in the right direction by convicting us of what’s best in our hearts. Consider what first came to mind when you arrived at a crossroads. That gut feeling may be the proper direction to go.

3. How would I advise a friend facing this choice?

I remember sitting down with a longtime friend to talk through his choice to leave law enforcement in pursuit of a new career. He felt like leaving was the best move, but his heart was telling him otherwise. It felt good to be able to offer him advice. A proverb says, “Don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.” If I had been in my friend’s situation, I would have wanted outside wisdom to consider, too. Sometimes, removing yourself from the equation brings clarity. Think about what you would say to a buddy if he or she were in your shoes. How would you answer decision-making questions if the roles were reversed?

Sound off: Are there any other decision-making questions we should ask ourselves?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s the toughest decision you’ve ever had to make?”