This post (written by me – Ellie) was originally posted this week on Spark Your Spirit. I would LOVE it if you joined our newsletter list over there! (And, pssst…tell me if you like the Bonus Idea down below – it’s one of my favorite ways to access my intuition.)
The Big Idea: Create Your Own Think Tank
Have you ever had important decisions to make and you found yourself waffling back and forth? Spark Your Spirit’s suggestion: Create your own think tank. Here’s why:
- Evidence from many studies suggests that groups are often smarter than the smartest people in them. (See The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki). When you have a group representing diverse perspectives, you can collectively consider many more angles than you can alone.
- You can make wiser decisions when you’ve had the opportunity to consider multiple viewpoints you might not have considered on your own.
- You can often solidify your thinking when you invite input, consider carefully the feedback that most resonates for you…and observe that which your inner knowing tells you is AND is not your truth. For me (Ellie) this is like manna from heaven. I love input because it helps me have faith that I’ve considered perspectives I might not have thought of – and which could be critical. This balance helps me find my own state of flow and connect to my inner knowing, helping me make decisions with confidence.
Action Steps for Making Important Decisions
- Think of a decision you need to make.
- Consider who the highest value input would come from (hint: people who are aligned with your belief system and model a way of being in the world you admire and respect). Include those who might offer a range of possible viewpoints you might not think of on your own.
- Create your think tank (which may be small or large). This means simply ask for input, carefully laying out the possibilities AND your goals.
- Listen to all responses. Discard those that don’t resonate with you or that come from someone with their own agenda that might trump their ability to come from pure intentions for your highest and best.
- Check in with your wise inner knowing – what input most resonates with your spirit? (Journaling and letters to the Universe or God can help here too – as always.)
- Thank everyone for taking the time to share their thoughts with you.
- Act on your knowing with the confidence that you are making the best decision you are capable of making today (and being gentle with yourself when you make mistakes).
Our first Spark Your Spirit photo shoot. Kathy’s talented husband Rob kindly snaps a hundred photos – in different light, different poses, together, and alone. Kathy and I narrow down our favorites to four.
This is definitely one of those fun decisions to make – and we decide we need help! We post them on Spark Your Spirit’s Facebook page, a virtual Think Tank, asking for people to vote (the voting is still on! Click here to see the four finalists and cast your vote.)
Our favorite goofy outtakes…love how Stuart (the dog) had to get in on the action! To see the real photos, click here for Facebook voting.
Top 4 Results and Discoveries:
- Tons of great feedback, though no clear winner yet.
- Comments that help us think about things that wouldn’t have occurred to us (because we’re too close to the subject to be entirely objective AND we don’t have the knowledge of light and photography that some of our “think tank” members do AND because some of our think tank members have professional knowledge of what plays well in social media and marketing).
- I’ve gotten clearer on my favorite as the votes come in because I find myself rooting for one in particular that I didn’t know before was my favorite. I’m out of my left brain analytical “Which do I think is the best representation of us” mind, and because other people are now doing the “thinking” – I can just do the “feeling” for a spell, which helps me access and solidify my intuitive, right brain response. I feel this sweet little tug in me wanting people to vote for the one I now realize makes me the happiest to look at.
- An extrovert and an introvert handle this process VERY differently. I, (the extrovert and a Leo) am thinking, “More, more! This is great! Tell us more! Oh, you think that one’s less natural-looking? Hmmmm, interesting point.” On the other hand, Kathy’s more private introverted personality is thinking “Ouch! We don’t look natural in that one?” What feels either wonderful, informative, or neutral for me, feels vulnerable and a little overwheming for Kathy as she stretches outside her comfort zone. Given this knowledge, it is incredibly important that we point out that YOU should do only what feels good for YOU! If your boundaries of what feels private and possibly more tender are different than your friend’s, please HONOR that in you. Do not assume you should be more like your friend. You may choose to nudge yourself to ask for input and assistance, but consider that, for you, it might be best to choose a smaller group of trusted friends who know how gentle to be with you. Know your boundaries. The process of getting input should feel like something that was ultimately supportive even as it stretches you a bit. If it doesn’t, it’s not the right type of input for you.
Things to Consider:
- Very Important Caution: Be extra special VERY CAREFUL (!!!!) that you do not let the information coming in drown out your own truth. ONLY use this method if you trust yourself to be discerning about the input and sift through what resonates for you and what clearly doesn’t.
- Give it time…Let the dust settle before you actually decide. If you’re like me, your mind has to sift through the options several times in different moods and different times of the day and on different days (with different “hats” on), before you can actually know that you’re at your final truth.
- Consider the source of the input (not all input should be considered equal). Has the person offering the input demonstrated success in a similar area of their life? (If you’re asking for input about a financial decision, for example, is the person giving input happy/successful in that arena? If you’re looking for parenting advice, your sister who has never been a parent may not be an appropriate source of input.)
I wonder if Kathy and I will end up on the same page with which photo we like! :-)
Balance matters. As with all other aspects of life, there should be a flow of energy back and forth, a yin and yang. I can’t remember where I heard it first (Leonie Dawson? Marie Forleo?) but they suggested that, when asking for input on their course Facebook pages, you make sure you are offering your assistance three times more than you are asking for assistance (a 3:1 ratio).
I follow that rule, and it feels solid and good for me.
Create a general rule of thumb for a ratio that resonates for you. What ratio helps YOU feel best balanced spiritually as you look for help and choose to offer it in the world? Whatever numbers you choose, it’s important that there be a balance.
Some of you find it really hard to ask for assistance and probably err on the side of giving more than you ask for – but this throws off the balance in the Universe because you’re not giving other people the opportunity to feel good by helping YOU. Others find it easier to ask for input but forget the giving side of the equation, which robs you of a chance to feel competent, strong, and helpful and creates imbalance in the other direction.
Important note: The source that offers you assistance may or may not be the same source you give yours too…trust that, as long as we all have balance in mind, the Universe will figure out the details.
Sometimes when I’m making decisions, I flip a coin. If the result makes me smile and feel like, “Yay!” I know that was my truth (again, this is a sneaky backdoor way to access your wise intuitive self). Or, if has the opposite effect, that’s information too.
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We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts About This Newsletter
What tough decisions could you have used a think tank for? Is there a decision you regret that you might have avoided if you had considered more diverse perspectives? Or, do you think we are nuts – and the best decision you could ever make is one you make entirely on your own?
Which part of this post did you find most helpful? Please comment below the original post on Spark Your Spirit.