Debbie Richards, singer, songwriter

No Lose Decisions…

When faced with decision making I always use Susan Jeffer’s philosophy taken from one of her best selling books …


Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.


One of the biggest fears that keeps us from moving ahead is our difficulty in making decisions. As one of my students lamented, “Sometimes I feel like the proverbial donkey between two bales of hay – unable to decide which one I want, and, in the meantime, starving to death.” The irony, of course, is that by not choosing, we are choosing – to starve. We are choosing to deprive ourselves of what makes life a delicious feast.

The problem is that we have been taught “Be careful! You might make a wrong decision!” A wrong decision! Just the sound of that can bring terror to our hearts. We are afraid that the wrong decision will deprive us of something – money, friends, lovers, status or whatever the right decision is supposed to bring us.

Closely tied to this is our panic over making mistakes. For some reason we feel that we should be perfect, and forget that we learn through our mistakes. Our need to be perfect and our need to control the outcome of events work together to keep us petrified when we think about making a change or attempting a new challenge.

If the above describes you, I am going to demonstrate that you are worrying needlessly. There really is nothing to lose, only something to gain, whatever the choices you make or the actions you take in life. As I stated earlier, all you have to do to change your world is to change the way you think about it. This concept works beautifully here. You can actually shift your thinking in such a way as to make a wrong decision or mistake an impossibility. Let’s begin with decision making.

Suppose you are at a Choice Point in your life. If you are like most of us, you have been taught to use the No-win model as you think about the decision to be made. The model looks like this:

………………. Wrong?
………………. Right?
Choice Point
………………. Right?
………………. Wrong?


Your heart feels heavy about the choice you have to make. You feel somewhat paralyzed as you think about the consequences in life-or-death terms. You stand at the threshold of the decision, lamenting and obsessing: “Should I do this or should I do that? What if I go this way and that happens? What if it doesn’t work out the way I plan? What if…?

The “what ifs” are out in full force. The internal Chatterbox is at it again. You look at the unknown and try to predict the future; you try to take control of outside forces. Both are impossible, at this point you may notice you are driving yourself crazy.

After the decision is made, the No-Win model makes you constantly reassess the situation, hoping you didn’t make a mistake. You keep looking back and berating yourself with “If only I had….” You waste valuable energy and you also make yourself miserable.

You gain relief if the outcome is as you hoped it would be – but only temporarily. As you breathe a sigh of relief, you are already worrying that the situation might reverse itself and that it might ultimately prove to be the wrong decision. Furthermore, you are already fearful about the next decision you have to make, because you will have to go through the whole agonizing process again. Look familiar? Crazy, isn’t it? Clearly, this is a No-Win situation. Bot there is another way – the No-Lose Model.

Go back and look at the Choice Point again. This time, the situation looks like this:


………………. Right!

                              Choice Point ….        (goodies)

………………. Right!


Notice that what lies ahead are simply two paths – A and B – both of which are right!

Each path has nothing but “goodies” along the way. You are clearly facing a no-lose situation. And what are the goodies? They are opportunities to experience life in a new way, to learn and grow, to find out who you are and who you would really like to be and what you would like to do in this life. Each path is strewn with opportunities – despite the outcome. 



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