I am working with several clients right now who have crossed the threshold of learning how to expand their options when considering their biggest crossroad. It is a natural tendency to limit our view by considering only two solutions. I explain it this way in my book, The Chance to Choose:

It’d be easy to have our eyes fixed on two choices because we’re taught to write a list of pros and cons when making a decision. The practice has trained us to limit the view of our options. What if we begin to expand our mental notepads and create a continuum of choice? Our decisions then blend the two extremes.

Picture a larger fork with several tines instead of two tines. I instruct the clients I coach to get out a large piece of butcher paper, not a notepad with two columns.

But here’s the catch: Make sure that whatever you’re adding as an option you are willing to consider!

Do each of the options you are scrutinizing line up with your end goals. Do they each fit into the big picture you have for your life?

If the answer is “No” to any of the tines on the fork then delete that as an option. You have already made your choice in any area where you are unwilling.

Do you know your end goals? Have you established your “Whys”? If not, then rewind and start there (which is a coaching tip in and of itself, so I will expand on that at a later date).

To get your mental juices flowing on how to expand your crossroads consider the following questions in light of your decision:

  1. What am I missing?
  2. Do I have all the information I need when considering this decision?
  3. Is there any area where I am telling myself a story that isn’t true?
  4. Can I combine any aspects of the original two tines on my fork to create several other tines (options)?
  5. Do I need to go in a whole new direction, or simply make a shift in the current direction I’m going?
  6. Do I have the big picture in mind or am I being shortsighted?