Hi, folks. Today we’re back with a tried and true clarity method for getting crystal clear on the future you want for yourself and your business: the pros and cons list. You might think you know the proper way to make a pros and cons list, but I want you to keep reading. I’m going to share with you the regular way AND the MBA way to master this clarity method—because when it comes to finding clarity, you want to use every tool in your arsenal.

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for awhile, you already know that I love to work with my intuition as well as pull in the practical side of myself, the one I developed through my MBA training, through my master’s work and through running my own various businesses over the past few decades.

The woo woo and the practicality come together here and infuse every bit of business-building wisdom that I put forth. I like to think of it like yin and yang, combining the seemingly discordant pieces of ourselves into one powerful whole. It’s up to us to accept and to honor both sides of our truth, even when they seem to be at odds. Before we dive any deeper, I want to remind you that you are allowed to want two completely different things for yourself. You’re allowed to want six different things if that’s what feels right to you! There’s nothing wrong in that. There’s nothing broken in that. You are not failing; you are human.

Now, let’s move on into the pros and cons clarity method. The traditional way to use this clarity method is very easy to learn. First, you are going to want to get yourself a pen and paper or the computer if that’s more your style. Then you are going to make two different lists: one for pros (the positive thing about a certain choice) and one for cons (the negatives). At the end of this exercise you will weigh the two columns against each other and decide how you truly feel about moving forward with your decision.

You can make similar lists for your other options as well. I like to use this clarity method to break the tie between my top two scenarios, but you can make as many lists as you want to. Generally, however, fewer is easier and more efficient. If you feel overwhelmed by your options, I recommend picking your top 5 scenarios. Then narrow those scenarios down to your top 3 and then your top 2.

If you’d like to go past the traditional pros and cons clarity method and into a more advanced version, then you are going to love the MBA way. This is one clarity method I picked up in my decision-making class, and it’s quite powerful.

The MBA way is similar to the traditional clarity method, but instead of having two positive and negative lists you are going to assign a number value to each factor involved in your decision. So, let’s say you have a huge choice to make. You’ve just graduated college, and you are trying to pick among 10 different business offers. (Good for you!) You would create a column for salary, a column for location, a column for benefits, a column for the fulfillment you would get out of the work and so on. Then you would assign a number between 0 and 10 to each of those categories. If one of your business offers isn’t enough to pay your bills, for example, you might assign it a 3—still more than no money at all but definitely not what you want for a paycheck. You can make as many categories as pleases you, even the things that wouldn’t be important for other people. Like, perhaps you have a German Shepherd dog who you adore, and one of the job offers is in a city that has a renowned German Shepherd medical facility in it. That can be its own category! (And it would be if you adore your German Shepherd like I do!!) It may not rank in the same realm as salary, but it’s still important to you and the lifestyle you would like to have for yourself. Remember, your personal joy is just as important as your work joy. At the end, you can add up all of the numbers for each choice. Whatever option has the highest number is the winner on paper. (Of course, sometimes the winner in your gut is a completely different story. Ask anyone who’s ever been in love!)

My son’s partner, a doctor, used this same method when he was being offered jobs around the country. They created their own factors like the price of living and ranked places like San Francisco and Chicago against each other. Ultimately, they were able to make a decision that resulted in a lot of joy for both of them thanks to this clarity method.

Take whatever challenge you are faced with right now and write out the pros and cons or use the number system—whatever speaks the most to you. In the comments below let me know how it goes. I always love chatting with you, and I hope to do it in person soon. You can sign up for a session here.

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