Every day a surgeon makes decisions that can go one of two ways:
either very good or very, very, very bad.
The problem is that the epically great decisions
and the epically bad ones look exactly the same when you’re making them.

This wisdom about making decisions brought to you by the character Meredith Grey on the TV show, Grey’s Anatomy, one of my favorites.

The secret to the success of Grey’s Anatomy is that Shonda Rhimes knows that medicine is not just a matter of life and death , it’s a metaphor for life. Her writers show us that every episode. Ok, yes, at times it can be over the top. But then, there are stunning lines of dialogue like the one above.

My life has proven that the best and worst decisions look identical when we’re making them.

Back in my early 30s I accepted a marriage proposal after dating someone less than a year. My rationale was that I loved him and so did it matter whether I married him now or in a year?

It mattered. But my decision and its rationale made perfect sense, to me.

It just didn’t to those who loved me. Boy, didn’t it.

And that’s the thing. Our decisions almost always look good to us or we wouldn’t make them.

But reality-test them with a few loved ones and you just might get a different answer.

I married him. And divorced him. And then I saw the value of reality-testing with trusted friends.

Once I learned to do that I was forced to hear points of views that differed from mine.

I didn’t always listen, though.

And as a result, I made some epically bad decisions.

It’s hard to have regrets because my life ended up okay. But who knows where I might have gone had those bad decisions not been so epically bad?

Yes, decisions are hard. It’s helpful to remember that we don’t look at them clearly and that getting other points of view can be helpful.

And sometimes, we really should actually listen to them.

I love talking to clients about their decisions and helping them sort through. I’ll do that for you for only $29. That price is good from now until May 31. Enter code fwd (case sensitive)  to purchase, then email me at carol (at) to make a phone appointment.

 A version of this post originally ran in April 2014 on

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