Use This Test For Intentional Decision-Making

April 14, 2023

Welcome toPractical Magic! A productivity and intentional living newsletter with quick, actionable tips that automate, delegate, or speed up your work.

Read time: 2 minutes

One of my favorite newsletters (shout out to Work Less Wednesday) shared this video on How to Get Ahead of 99% of People (warning: don’t watch this around little ears).

If you can look past the ultra bro-y-ness of the video (as is the nature of most entrepreneurial content 🙄), it contains a great point about what truly creates that 1% success.

But I’m actually not interested in that. Where it got good for me was at the 8:57 mark in the video: is this version of success really what we want? And that’s what we’ll be discussing today.

How To Be A Life Designer 

One of the pillars of this newsletter is “building success on your terms.”

What does that mean? It’s about designing your life and business.

The key word being DESIGN.

Maybe you don’t consider yourself a creative person. Maybe the last time you painted was Mrs. Jones’ 4th grade art class.

But we all need to think of ourselves as designers.

We have to craft the life we want. If we don’t intentionally build what we want, it will get chosen for us. Guaranteed.

At this season in my life, this is my mission – both for myself and my clients. I make it a ritual to ask “why” for every goal and decision. Sometimes the answer feels clear. Sometimes we realize the answer is “because someone else said so.” (A key point in that video above.)

But only asking yourself “why” can produce false truths. Of course everything we do seems logical. We’re reasonable people, after all.

Here’s a test to run your decisions through instead:

The Core Vision Test

Everybody needs a mission statement (aka core vision).

If we’re designing our lives, we need a north star. A guiding light for when a million people are telling us “yes” but somewhere deep inside we’re screaming “no.

Creating this isn’t fluff. It’s a tangible, concrete statement that you can use to make EVERY. SINGLE. DECISION. It makes decisions easier.

Here’s how to use your mission statement to make decisions.

Let’s say this is your Mission Statement:

Now, break down the core concepts further. Let’s use “Time Freedom” as an example. What does that look like for you?

Now let’s say there’s a new job opportunity that seems so cool. And it requires you to go into the office 4 days per week from 9am – 5pm.

Maybe this makes you realize:

  • That total time freedom actually isn’t a huge priority for you. You’re totally ok with required structure if it means an awesome work environment!
  • Or maybe this makes you realize that this opportunity would slowly start to eat at you. It doesn’t align with one of your core visions for your life.

I see a lot of people claim they want “time freedom,” but then be happy working 40-hour office weeks because they love the work. The key is checking that this is your core vision, and not someone else’s.

Another example:

Let’s use the value of “living comfortably.”

First, you need to get clear on what this means. Is this a certain number? Is this shopping at Whole Foods every week? Get specific here.

Now let’s say you’re currently making it a reality (woo-hoo!). An opportunity arises for you to take on a new project for a very well-known company. This project would add about 15 hours to your week and pay you another $6K per month!

It would be crazy not to take it. You build credibility with a well-known brand that can be a client testimonial. You’re making great money. This will lead to so many future opportunities!

Slowly this project becomes extremely draining. The extra hours creeped into your family time in ways you didn’t expect. You’re super stressed – but this will lead to so many opportunities so it’s worth it for now! Right?

I’m not saying there’s an answer here. Because those perks can be true: you will build future success, you are creating more wealth. But did we need that? Did we actually want that?

To be clear: I want wealth for you. I want wealth for myself. Money is a beautiful tool.

The main thing is that I want us to question what we’re told. Am I making this decision because it fits what I want? Or am I adopting someone else’s idea?

These ideals are tricky little things because we are not aware of why we make decisions unless we take the time to pause and reflect.

By using a core vision, we can say “no” to the wrong things so we can leave room for the right things. It’s a similar concept to one of the quotes from the YouTube video.

We’re trying to make more right decisions to build our version of success:

Running decisions through a mission statement is effective because we live our lives in seasons. The “how” changes. But our mission can remain central.

Think of it as a “pass/fail” test we put decisions through.

 Practical Action Steps

(Because with action comes clarity.)

  • Create your core vision / mission statement.
  • Assign specific goals to those values (ex: remote work, 10% savings per month).
  • Put this somewhere you can always see it. (I have mine as my desktop background. Here’s a Canva template you can use to make one too.)

If you’ve ever felt like you couldn’t relate to the current definition of success, there’s a very good reason for that. It’s possible today’s advice wasn’t built to fit you.

The good news is that it doesn’t need to stay that way. The one thing in life that’s certain is that things can and do change.

How will you be part of that change? Beginning with yourself is a bold and brilliant place to start, IMO.

Always in your corner,


If you implement any of these tips or learn something interesting, I’d love to hear from you! Just reply to this email or connect with me on social.

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