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BEYOND THE MAGIC 8 BALL: How to Make Big, Life-Changing Choices

Beyond The Magic 8 Ball: How to Make Big, Life-Changing Choices | Soultiply with Brittany Ritcher | It’s seriously like pulling teeth to get me to decide on a restaurant when I go out on the weekend. Just ask my poor boyfriend – I over-analyze, I change my mind, I weigh the pros and cons, I have to visualize myself tasting the food at each restaurant (Like, you think I’m kidding, but I’m not!)…

And all that stuff is great if, you know, picking a restaurant was a life or death decision. But what to wear in the morning? Or what to pack for lunch? NOT such a big deal.

Sometimes it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the opportunities and choices presented to us on a daily basis.

It feels like we are caught in a twister of swirling options and we somehow have to grasp for the right choice surrounded by this very confusing fog.

But what if we could learn to fully harness the power of our choices to grow in whichever direction we choose ?

Imagine how much more time you could save in the morning alone! Those are precious minutes you could be sleeping in, amiright?

I’ve learned that powerful, dream-creating people revel in their ability to take action and make soul-filled and deliberate choices.

So today I’m excited to teach you how to develop a plan to conquer choice overwhelm once and for all. No more enie-meenie-miney-moe. If you find yourself freezing up or freaking out over the choices you need to make, these next two posts will share with you my surefire methods for making choices that resonate with your soul.

Most life choices come in two main varieties – big, life changing, choices (like who to marry, if you should start your own company, is it time to have a baby? – you catch my drift) or smaller, daily choices (such as… What pair of jeans make my butt look the best? , Should I get one scoop or two? , or Can I go one more day without washing my hair? – Hypothetically speaking, of course….*hides face*)

Some choices can change the entire course of your life….others just fill in the daily details.

The main thing to understand and remember is that they are BOTH still choices. They are options. There is never a right or wrong answer.

Now you might be thinking, “Seriously Brittany, of course there is a right or wrong answer! My whole life depends on it!” and to you I say, “Take a chill pill and relax!” Choices are options. And as a person with freewill, you have the luxury of choice between those options.

You have the ability to craft a life that you love, or a life that makes you downright miserable – all through your choices. The right or wrong aspect of any individual choices depends on what you MAKE of that choice. You have to listen to your gut.

In life, we are all destined to make some not-so-stellar choices from time to time. It’s just part of the learning process, so don’t even try to skip it. As long as you make the choice that feels the best to you at the time, you are making the right choice.

This means you MUST be connected and in tune with your gut instinct. You know the feeling, that little voice in your head that gives you a warning that something is wrong? You’re not crazy, that gut instinct is there for a reason and you must learn to trust it. Because if you trust it and you feel good about your choices, there is nothing else that you can do. Either the choice will work or it won’t – but at least you made the best decision you could with the information that you were given. And the rest is up to YOU to put in the time and effort to make it work in the ways that you know how.

Our gut instinct is great and should always be a part of the process, but there are additional tools that we can use to help our decision making abilities.

For making huge, life-changing decisions, you can use something called the Three Prong Method .

Now this is an exercise that a good friend of mine shared with me one time at brunch. She’s a VERY successful actress that has personally hand-crafted a professional career by making very precise and smart decisions. She was introduced to the Three Prong idea some time ago, and now she uses it whenever she’s deciding whether or not to accept a new role.

The Three Prong Method considers THREE elements:

1) Goal Advancement

2) Money

3) Creative or Life Fulfillment

So for her, when she considers Goal Advancement, she asks herself,

#1: Will this role contribute to the overall growth of my career?

An Oscar-worthy movie starring Meryl Streep? Probably yes.

Dumb & Dumber 8? Probably no.

Makes sense, right?

Next she asks herself,

#2: How will this opportunity contribute to my financial well being?

So, if the role is in the latest blockbuster Avengers movie – money would be a huge yes for her.

Random web series found on Craigslist? Money might be a no.

And last but not least,

#3: How will my Creative or Life Fulfillment be impacted by this decision?

This one is fun. This is the part that gives you those excited butterflies in your stomach. Remember to also consider your physical well being and health in this category – because that’s obviously a major factor in terms of your Life Fulfillment!

For my friend, maybe the part is a complex, strong female figure with a stellar script directed by someone she has admired since she was a little girl. Creative fulfillment? Oh yeah!

Or… maybe the role has 2 lines, 1 of which is mildly sexist, and it shoots in North Dakota in the dead of winter. Might not make for such a fulfilling life choice.

All of the examples above were hypothetical, but as you can see, this method can be applied to ANYTHING.

This Three Prong process has helped me make some of the best decisions in my life.

When you go through the Three Prong process and the choice is clear – congratulations! You obviously know the choice that you need to make. But this process wouldn’t exist if the choices were always easy.

The point of the exercise is to tip the scale – if 2 out of the 3 categories jive with you and make you feel excited about accepting the opportunity, then strongly consider saying yes! Otherwise, you might need to check back in with your gut and reconsider. Where do I fall on the scale?

In my friend’s case, maybe the role is amazing, something that could really launch her career to the next level, but the money might be less than she is used to compared to her past work. Yet, some of the best Sundance, Oscar-worthy films are produced on a small budget. So in that case, she might still strongly consider accepting the part since 2 of the 3 categories (Goal Advancement & Creative/Life Fulfillment) match what she is looking for. Or at the very least, she can determine a proper strategy for salary negotiation.

Only you will know what feels right to you given the circumstance.

And keep in mind, Goal Advancement & Creative/Life Fulfillment MIGHT seem similar, but they impact your life differently. Something could be in line with your overall goal, but still not be something that would make you happy or lead a fulfilling life. For instance, maybe the job would look great on your resume, and help you achieve your dream career someday, but the hours are horrendous and the company seems a little too old-school for your taste. This exercise reminds you that there is more than just achieving goals – it’s also about enjoying the journey and process.

You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. There are many paths to the finish line, so don’t settle.

You can do this exercise with any major decision you might be facing right now.

Here’s how I like to do it.

Take a piece of paper, fold it into thirds, and label each third with a prong -1) Goal Advancement 2) Money and 3) Creative or Life Fulfillment. Then, you can do a little free writing about the opportunity in relation to each category. You know, just write anything that comes to mind, make notes, do little drawings, however you can best express yourself and your thoughts. By being open and honest with yourself and focusing on the opportunity at hand, you can discover insights that you might not have considered before. If it would make it easier, you can choose one color pen for positive aspects and another color pen for negative aspects. That way, when you look at the page, you can visually see how you feel about the topic in relation to each category. And by the end of the exercise, you’ll have a much clearer picture of how you should move forward.

Here is an example of one that I created about a major decision in my life.

Can you guess what I was brainstorming about? (Answer at the bottom of the post!)

I hope you find success and clarity with the Three Prong Exercise. Life-changing decisions can be stressful, but know that by taking the time to analyze your options and listen to your gut, you’ll never falter. And If you try this method, let me know your results! I love hearing a good success story!

Check out the second post of this series, where we’ll explore how to make stress-free daily decisions and choices. Using the 4 tips I share in that post, I’ve been able to streamline the way I make daily decisions, saving myself hours of combined time (and not to mention stress!) And the best thing is, these tricks are super-flexible guidelines; you can use them without feeling fake, or awkward – they work perfectly in tandem with the amazing qualities and strengths you already possess. They do not change or replace a thing! And that’s why they are so easy to use and integrate into your already existing schedule.

Share your Three Prong results and get some inspiration from others! Make sure and follow , so you won’t miss out on the next post. That’s . I’ll see you then!

P.S. Wondering what my major life decision sheet was about? Getting a new puppy! My boyfriend and I have been toying with the idea for a long time. As you can see, there are some major pros and cons for getting a puppy right now. Lots of negatives in the money department, lots of positives in the love (creative/life fulfillment) arena. I think we will hold off for now.

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Brittany Ritcher BEYOND THE MAGIC 8 BALL: How to Make Big, Life-Changing Choices

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