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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

Follow me on Twitter @courageexpert and Facebook

© Sandra Walston

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Original author: Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert
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Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™, is an international speaker and author, human potential consultant, corporate trainer and certified coach. Sandra’s expertise allows her to focus on the tricks and traps of the human condition through recognizing and interpreting courage behaviors and courageous leadership styles.


Featured on the speaker circuit as witty, provocative, concrete and insightful, she has sparked positive change in the lives of thousands of leaders each year. Sandra also provides skills-based programs for some of the most respected public and private blue-chip businesses and organizations in the world, such as IBM, Caterpillar, Inc., Institute of Internal Auditors, Hensel Phelps, Wide Open West, Agrium, Inc., Virginia Commonwealth University, Xanterra Parks & Resorts®, Procter and Gamble, Hitachi Consulting, US Bank, Healthcare Association of New York State, Institute of Management Accountants, and Delta Kappa Gamma International Society.


The internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman and an honored author selected for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Sandra facilitates individuals and groups to discover the power and inspiration of their everyday courage.


The COURAGE Difference at Work: A Unique Success Guide for Women, Sandra’s follow-up book to COURAGE, is directed at any woman, regardless of title or credentials, who wishes to grow professionally by introducing courage actions at work. Her third book, FACE IT! 12 Courageous Actions that Bring Success at Work and Beyond confirms that what holds you back on the job is the same as what hinders achievement—the reluctance to face and live a courageous life. Sandra is published in magazines such as Chief Learning Officer, Training & Development, HR Matters, Malaysia, and Strategic Finance.


Sandra is a certified Newfield Network coach and certified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® along with the Enneagram. She also instructs at the University of Denver.


She can be reached at where she posts a courage blog and courage newsletter.

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