July 11, 2023

Pause, Pray, Process, Proceed

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One of the things I love about going on vacation, especially a beach vacation, is the opportunity to relax and unwind.  I often say that the biggest decision I want to make is what I am going to eat, and am I going to the beach or the pool!  It’s wonderful to have a break from making big decisions!

We make decisions every day without being aware of it. What time to get up, what to eat, what tasks we need to complete etc.  Most of these are simple decisions, but sometimes we’re faced with major decisions. Psychology Today states that we make some choices quickly and automatically, relying on mental shortcuts our brains have developed over the years to guide us in the best course of action.  But what happens when we need to make a big decision or when we’re in the midst of a crisis?

The ability to make good decisions is considered a valuable leadership competency. As leaders, we make decisions every day that impact our lives, our work, and the lives of those who work with us. And sometimes we need to make an urgent decision…we’re called to put out a fire.  We need an answer right now or else… Does this sound familiar?  Sometimes we react right away and do not take the proper time to think before we respond.  A helpful practice that I’ve learned, adapted and used successfully is the concept of the 4Ps. I sometimes found myself reacting emotionally without taking time to process my decision. Using this process has helped me make much better decisions, and I hope it helps you as well!

1. Pause

Take a moment, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Taking the time to pause will help to recenter you and stop you from making a rash or emotional decision.

2. Pray

For me praying is the next natural step. I take time to acknowledge that God is in control and not me. I ask for guidance and wisdom in making the decision. I also ask for peace with the decision. If you don’t have a prayer or faith practice, now might be a great time to start one.

3. Process

Take the time to think about the outcome you want or need. Who else needs to be informed or involved in this decision? Take a moment to weigh the benefits and risks of your decision. Don’t just go with your gut; think about what other information you need to consider to make a wise decision.

4. Proceed

Don’t get analysis paralysis!  Once you’ve examined your options, use your knowledge and intuition and make the best decision possible.  Once you proceed, have confidence that you’ve made the right choice with God’s guidance.  

Sometimes we don’t have a lot of time, but taking a few minutes to pause, pray, process and proceed will make a difference in our decision making. 

Here’s to making great decisions!  

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