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How to Make Courageous Decisions with Discernment

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Discernment means a time to reflect or stop in order to distinguish between differences orhow to make good decisions perceptions. There are numerous discernment definitions on the Web. Discernment in Wikipedia means "to describe the process of discerning God's will for one's life." As a practicing contemplative, for me it means being able to respond to my highest courageous will (as Spirit intended). Coming from one's courageous will is easier said than done. Regardless of your discernment definition a concrete exercise can come in handy to reveal your courage.

One of the exercises I learned in a Nine Month Contemplative course I took in 2008 required us to take a lined piece of paper and divide vertically the paper in half. At the top of the page write: "What are the advantages and disadvantages of my ..." (such as letting go of a dysfunctional friend or seeking a new job during an economic downturn). On the right hand column at the top write "Advantages" and on the top left hand column write "Disadvantages." Using bullets in each column, write down your thoughts for "Advantages" and "Disadvantages."

Using a new piece of paper, flow through the contemplative discernment exercise three different times in about 10 days (or less, depending on the need for a decision). This process allows you to make the best choice given the set of circumstances.

Your sincere heart shows up during this journey allowing you to make wise judgments; judgments that hopefully in the long run do not surface in the form of regrets. I found this discernment process brought clarity to many questions I struggled with and inner peace was the outcome. With courageous intention you begin to discriminate on what you are called to be. You learn to come from your true Self--not a bad place to be during the holiday season

May you be free to live up to your highest courageous will! Ask yourself: What would you do if you had unlimited courage?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking?. She is an organizational effectiveness consultant, speaker, trainer and courage coach. She is the internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman (2001), the follow-up book STUCK 12 Steps Up the Leadership Ladder (2010) and the recently released FACE IT! 12 Obstacles that Hold You Back on the Job (2011). She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI®. Please visit

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Original author: Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert
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Sandra Ford Walston, known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™, is a learning consultant, trainer, speaker and courage coach. Sandra’s expertise allows her to focus on recognizing and interpreting courage behaviors, courageous leadership and individual personality and leadership styles. She is the internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE, STUCK and FACE IT! Published in magazines such as Chief Learning Officer, Training & Development and Strategic Finance, Sandra is certified in the MBTI® and Enneagram, and an instructor at the University of Denver. She can be reached at
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