Sometimes there are times in our lives when we have to make some seriously difficult decisions. I’m talking about the decisions where we have two moral values and it seems like if we make Decision A, it may compromise Value B. But if we then choose Decision B, we may compromise Value A. When it is that difficult to make what seems like the “right” decision, I always resort to the “wisdom of good counsel.” I talk to people that I trust and whose opinion I value. My most recent ethical and moral decision-making dilemma has me talking to my pastor, my husband, other large practice owners, two attorneys, and a couple peer/employee counselors. The great thing is that each add a perspective or a piece of information that I didn’t have yet.
The questions I am using to determine what is the “best” decision for me are as follows: What are the most fundamental values driving my feelings? What are the most fundamental values driving my thoughts? Am I acting out of my personal emotions? How do I make a decision that protects my employees? How do I make a decision that protects our clients? What are the duties and responsibilities of my “office”? Can I live with the best and worst outcomes of the decision? Will my decision have unintended negative consequences? How will others perceive my actions? How would I perceive my own actions if I were outside myself? Will I regret this tomorrow, next week or next year? Are the trade-offs worth it? What are the opportunity costs if I do or don’t do something? The more theologically focused questions that matter to me are: Am I am able to make that decision and not sin while doing it? Am I honoring God in my decision? Am I treating others in a Godly way?
I know there are more questions as well, but there are a good place to start as we peel back my thoughts through this type of process.
When was the last time you had to make a really difficult decision, one that didn’t seem like it really had an obvious right answer? What questions did you use to help you sort out the details, the options, and the outcomes? The more you can pay attention to your own healthy and functional thought process, the better because you can then replicate it!!!
~Dr. Sheri Fluellen