When Opportunity Knocks, Do You Answer? Help for the Emotional Decision Maker

I am an emotional decision maker.

Whew, that felt good to get off my chest. This characteristic of mine has been behind some of the most amazing decisions of my life (moving to New Jersey to start a life with my now husband) and also the catalyst of some not so great decisions (I probably should not have skipped that college class to go to a concert). Through experience and maturity, I have learned to take a step back and evaluate opportunities before making a quick, emotions-driven decision.

Perhaps the most thought about and sometimes stressful opportunities present themselves in the form of position or career changes. The question, then, is what is considered a good opportunity and how do we define that?

There are common questions we all ask ourselves when looking at a new career opportunity: 

  • Will you increase your annual salary?
  • Will your title be more important?
  • Will there be future growth opportunities for advancement?
  • Will you be provided with additional personal time?
  • Will your schedule be more flexible?
  • Will your commute decrease?

Whether you are driven by title and salary or work/family balance, it is likely that each of the questions above plays a role in your decision. But how much of a role depends on the personal importance of each question. Using a weighted comparison chart allows you to make a logical decision based on the level of importance each of these answers is to you. I like to think of this as the “grown up” pros and cons list.

Creating a Weighted Chart Breakdown

  1. Designate a percentage of a whole (1) to each item according to importance in your final decision
  2. Using a scale of 1 to 5 (five being excellent, one being poor), rate each category for both your job and your new opportunity
  3. Multiply the rated number to the weight given in each column
  4. Add up totals for each opportunity
  5. Whichever gives you the highest score is the ultimate best choice for you


Once you have mastered the weighted chart, you may be surprised  at how applicable this technique is in almost all decisions you are faced with. I often find myself running through this exercise before making decisions that may ultimately affect my client and/or their event.  The process has taken me from an emotional decision maker to a logical problem solver.

What tools or processes have you implemented in your efforts to stop being an emotional decision maker?