Tea with the Queen

Four questions I ask when making big decisions



Making big decisions is hard. 

There are a heap of factors to consider and often a time limit that adds pressure. We can feel paralysed by what could go wrong if we make a bad choice, and we can get overwhelmed if we have too many decisions on our plates. No matter how important a choice is, we still have to think about all the other smaller decisions we face every day (that’s 35,000 if you’re curious). 

From the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep, our brain makes decisions that shape our actions and define our paths in life. If we aren’t making good decisions how will that impact us, and if we could improve our decision-making what effect would that have on our lives and our businesses?

Today I want to share the four questions I ask myself when making big decisions. They help me look past conflicting desires and responsibilities to see what choice is best for me. I’ll also share a difficult choice I was faced with at the end of last year and walk you through how each of the questions helped me.

The Choice I Faced:
Near the end of last year, I was faced with a difficult decision. I had a lot of great opportunities come my way that would have included overseas travel in 2024. It would have been about eight weeks in total to multiple destinations, which sounds amazing but I was conflicted. 

The reason I was conflicted was due to the fact that in 2023 I did a lot of big trips for work. They were incredible, but after every trip, I would then fall ill and be wiped out for 2 weeks afterwards. My immune system was obviously still struggling from my prior bout of glandular fever, and the overseas travel would always send it into a downward spiral.

There were a lot of factors to consider and it was overwhelming but I came up with four questions to cut through the noise and make a choice that felt right. 

Rather than considering absolutely everything, I narrowed my focus to the things that were most important to me. I know they’ll do the same for you whenever you’re making big decisions. 

The Four Questions:

Question One: Do I want to do it? This might seem simple, but I think it’s a crucial step as you can often fool yourself into thinking you want something you actually don’t. I find journalling is incredibly helpful for working through this.

Question Two: Is it good for me? Decisions can have consequences that aren’t immediately apparent. Before making big decisions, make sure you take the time to think through your course of action and what positive/negative effects it could have.

Question Three: Is it good for my family? Even if a decision is great for you, it can affect the people around you negatively. I need to consider how things will affect my three children and my husband. Is it a good choice for us? Is it even feasible for us?

Question Four: What does my gut say? Too often in business, I’ve made choices based on logic that go against how my gut feels. These seem like great decisions at the time but sometimes they cause a lot of trouble I could have avoided if I’d listened to my gut.

My Decision:
Ultimately, I made the difficult decision to impose a travel ban on myself for the year ahead. These four questions helped me prioritise my health, energy, and family despite the incredibly tempting opportunities. It was a tough decision to make but it brought me a sense of peace as soon as I had made it.

In the end, making big decisions is not just about making choices; it’s about understanding yourself, aligning with your values, and nurturing your well-being. So, the next time you’re faced with a tough decision, make sure you take the time to understand how you feel and don’t forget to listen to your gut!


For a copy of Emma’s book, ‘Go-getter: Raise your mojo, shift your mindset and thrive’ – https://www.emmamcqueen.com.au/book/

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Read The Full Transcript

[00:00:00] I have a question for you. How many decisions do you think an average adult makes a day? Go on, just say it out loud. 10, 20, 50. How many do you think I was stunned when I did the research on this 35, 000 decisions a day, an average adult, just for those in the back an average adult makes 35, thousand decisions a day.
That's not even being a business owner. That's just adulting. Isn't that crazy? I'm like, Whoa, mind blown. I now understand how we all get to decision fatigue at the end of the day. I think about some of the decisions I need to make just for children, and I think, Half of it has to go there.
Then I think about all the decisions that I need to make for my business. And oh my goodness, there is so many. And some of them are minuscule and some of them are massive, right? The amount of decisions that we make are incredible. Now, something I've learned about myself is that if I make decisions in the afternoon, I fully regret it.
I don't know why. I just feel like I'm more alert in the morning. My decision making is a bit quicker. I can actually, I know. that if I make a decision in the morning, it'll stick. If I make a decision in the afternoon, it will not stick. I don't think that's to do with willpower. I just think that's the power of decision making, right?
Why do I even bring this up? Great question. over Christmas, I, had to make some decisions about my business. I'll give you [00:02:00] some context. So I went away four times for work last year. So about a week at a time. And every time I came back from work, Fat travel. I was sick for two weeks. I got a cold, I got a flu, whatever it was, I was sick.
So I was away for four weeks and then I got sick each time. I was away for two weeks, which meant I was sick for 12 weeks of last year. Now I know that my health is not right. I've gotta get my immunity right. And I was also facing into 24 with a few, cool opportunities. for work and I knew that I needed to make some decisions.
Now, by about November, my decision making capacity and capability is non existent for the year. I know that. So I try and do all my heavy decision making before that point. I think the final raft of decisions for us are made in about September and then it's just working through that. So I know that about myself.
So I had some opportunities to, , travel. The globe for 2024. I had opportunities to travel to New Zealand. I had an opportunity to travel to China. I had three opportunities to travel to the U S and I had an opportunity to travel to the UK. Now, most of it was work. It was training, it was speaking, it was some coaching staff.
It was some facilitation. Most people will be like, that's amazing. Wouldn't they? Really? If you're listening to that and going. That's awesome. What an amazing opportunity. I agree, but I had to work through, actually, is this decision good for me? And what does that actually look like? So I want to take you through a couple of things that I asked myself while I was working through this decision.
The first question I asked myself is, did I want to do it? I had to list all the places that I needed to go and all the things I needed to do and kind of work [00:04:00] through and go, do I want to do that? Yes. Do I want to do that? No. Do I want to do that? Yes. Right. So that was the first thing that I did and I journaled, right?
So I love to use a journal for that. Then the next question I had to ask myself is, was each trip going to be good for me? Could I map it out across the year? So I wasn't away for a bulk period of time. Would that make sense? Et cetera, et cetera. Was it good for me? And then the next question I asked myself is, was it good for my family?
I have, um, three kids, two are. older and gone, but I have a 10 year old Evie, Evie girl, and she doesn't love her mama being away. so I needed to ask myself, was it good for my family? What extra pressure did it mean for my hubby? He's a school teacher. So what does that actually mean? How would we make that work?
We don't have family around us. So what did it look like? And would it be good for my family? And then the final question, which probably should have been the first question, but if you've listened to other podcast episodes, you will hear this. What did my gut say? So too often in business, I've made choices based on my head and based on logic and based on commercial reality and based on all the things.
Except my gut. at the end of 2023, I was like, I am not making decisions if it doesn't involve my gut. So what does my head say? What does my heart say? And what does my gut say? They were the kind of things that I went through. And so. I went through all of these things. I journaled them. I sat on it.
I thought about it long and hard. I knew that whatever I chose would be okay. I discussed it with my hubby because obviously it has implications for our family if I'm away. What it would have meant is traveling about eight weeks of the year, eight weeks of the year. So that's what it would have meant in a practical, logical sense.
But there was one other thing. That I had committed to at the end of 2023 and that was my health. So [00:06:00] if you don't know, I got diagnosed with glandular fever a couple of years ago and my immune system hasn't quite gotten back in on track with that. I've been working very hard on my healthy eating. I've been working very hard on exercise and giving myself and my body rest, and making sure that I'm doing all the right things, but it just wasn't there.
And in 2023, that was obvious because I came home and I was sick. I was sick every single time. And so I was like, well, does, how does my health and energy, how does that align to six, eight weeks of travel? Does it really align? if I take you back to the four decisions, I listed each of the things that I had, did I want to do it?
About half? Hell yes. Yes. I wanted to do it. Did I want to do it? Yes. Did my ego want to do it? Yes. Another important question, right? Was it going to be good for me? And I honestly could not say yes, yes, yes, yes. Actually, the answer was no, no, no, no. Was it going to be good for my family? My family could have handled it.
We talked about it about half of the time. My family could have handled it. Probably not the other half, which made me go, okay, what choices do I need to make here? Which ones do I want to go to? Which ones don't I want to go to? How does that work? What did my gut say? My gut gave me a big fat no. So if I made this decision, I would be going against my gut, Sometimes we find it really hard to make the decisions. And it's not until after we make the decisions that we realize how good those decisions were for us. And so I woke up, I think it was January 16 of 2024, and I had tossed and turned about this decision that I was trying to make.
Tossed and turned. I put my back out. I knew that my body was telling me something. And in the end I went, you know what? No, I'm actually not traveling at all. I put a travel ban on myself. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? [00:08:00] Sometimes we just need to do these things. I put a travel ban on myself for 2024 in response to my gut and also as a gesture.
That my health and my energy were way more important than traveling and getting sick. Now everyone thought I was nuts. You know, when you meet those people and you think there's such great opportunities, why didn't you take them? But for all the reasons I just couldn't, I couldn't do it. And a travel ban was the easiest thing I could do to say I'm actually not traveling.
It was a blanket rule. and so I haven't done that. And so. One of the things that this got tested was I had a trip I really, really, really wanted to go on. And it was a, once in a lifetime opportunity. And I had to say to that person, I cannot do this trip. And that really hurt my heart because I really wanted to go.
But what I noticed is that As I made this decision, I got totally at peace with myself. As I started talking about it, more peace was, came. And also as I was working more on my health and my energy. My energy started coming back and so over the course of the last couple of months, I've had people say, you're looking so good.
Your energy's back. I can see the spark in your eye. And I'm like, Oh, thank goodness. I made the right decision. It's hard making decisions. I'm not going to lie. That decision was probably the toughest of my life. So what decision are you putting off that you really need to think about? Could you use my framework?
Do you want it? Do you want to do it? Is it good for you? Is it good for your family? And what does your gut say? Could you use those four questions to see whether not the decision you need to make works or doesn't work? I would love to hear where you get to on decision making. I would also love to hear if you went against your gut and how that landed.
Sometimes going against our gut and our gut stopping us from doing [00:10:00] things means growth on the other side as well. That's it for today. Let me know what you think of this episode. I would love to hear how you go if you use the framework and, what your decision making is and whether you think 35, 000 is actually right or not.
I would love to hear.