Have you ever faced a tough decision that had you swinging back and forth, vaccilating between “let’s do it” and “I’m afraid” until you feel unable to move forward at all? I have. And in the midst of one such watershed moment, my wonderful wife gave me a simple tool. It broke my impasse and helped me see the obvious truth that’s been staring me in the face for months.

She gave me a sheet of paper and a marker. She asked me to divide it into four quadrants, and label them like this:

Decision Quadrant

Then she asked me to fill in those areas with as many things as I could think of for each quarter of the page, without regard to how big or important I thought each thing was. Just free-associating, trying to think of everything I hoped for or feared for both of the forks in the road:

Pro and Cons

She then gave me a red marker and asked me to highlight the single most important factor in my decision. After that, she asked me to highlight in blue the other things that I felt were very important to my decision:

Pro and Cons

And then she simply invited me to look at which quadrant contained my priorities. That’s it. I hope this exercise is as useful to you as it was to me.