Agonizing Over a Decision? Try This 15-Second Technique

Were excited to share this guided practice from our partner Emerging Women and Emerging Women Live 2014 presenter Kristen Wheeler.

How do you react when you’re stuck in the analysis/paralysis cycle of agonizing over a decision? I tend to get controlling and try breaking through it with will and force. It makes me feel clamped down – I get so focused on being perfect that I don’t even realize I’m trying to be perfect. It stops me from being receptive and open-hearted.

The “Coin Oracle” technique brings me back to the present moment and helps me leap out of the analysis/paralysis cycle.

Yes, this practice does involve flipping a coin to make a decision. But it’s more than that. It brings principles of feminine leadership into making decisions. It invites you to be open-hearted and receptive around making the decision, which is the opposite of agonizing. It will help you spend way less time making decisions, and you will have more peace of mind with the decision that you make.

Since you have a coin with you almost all the time, why not intend that coin to be a handy and confident source of wisdom that you have on your side? When I intend for the answer to come from this wise place I’ve assigned, it reminds me that I am participating in the flow of life, and that I don’t have to always be in charge.

The Coin Oracle is an ordinary kind of practice that helps bring in a magic which feels beyond me but also a part of me at the same time. Here are 5 simple steps that catapult you out of agonizing and into peace of mind:

1. Ask a question and assign heads and tails.

I mostly use this practice for lower stakes decisions. If it’s a higher stakes decision, be sure you’ve done a lot of pre-work so that you know that either option will be fine.

For example, if you’re booking travel and you’re waiting to hear back from a client, you could ask “Should I wait to hear back from the client or should I book the great deal now?” You can ask Yes or No questions like “Should I include the stakeholder in this meeting?” And you can choose between two options, like “Should I go with website design A or B?”

2. Consider it twice.

This is the most important step in the coin oracle, because you never want to bargain at the end after the flip – that’s just going to have you agonizing again. But if you listen to yourself along the way, you won’t have to!

For example, as you feel your hand reaching for the coin or you imagine flipping it, sometimes you get an extra source of wisdom that comes in the form of a wish, like “Oh, I hope I get heads!” Then you know that you’re leaning towards that answer or option. It’s clear that you don’t even need to flip.

You might also get an insight that says, “Hmm, I don’t think I’ll be satisfied with either answer right now. Maybe I should ask for some extra input.” Be sure to listen and take the actions that come up!

3. Take a deep breath and say a phrase of positive intention.

Imagine the place of wisdom that your answer will come from, and invite the best outcome for everyone involved. It might just be a word like “magic,” or “thank you.”

4. Flip the coin.

Keep a coin in a handy place, or use a coin flip app on your phone. Be sure to decide how you’re going to flip the coin in advance, and use the same method every time.

5. Live the advice.

The very act of promising myself that I will not look back after flipping the coin is what accelerates the decision or new action. It brings me peace of mind because I’ve made a commitment that I’m going to follow the answer. Afterwards, I feel a lightness in my mind and body. I’m no longer clamped down. I feel more open-hearted and trusting in the mystery of life to bring good things. And I’m reminded that I don’t have to micromanage the world.

So that’s it! The next time you’re agonizing, take out your handy Coin Oracle and go through these 5 steps. And notice the “you” afterwards that is more open-hearted, more receptive, and Hallelujah! you’re moving forward again.

Kristen Wheeler is an experienced business consultant and executive coach who helps people and their companies achieve and thrive at the same time.

You can listen to the audio version of this Power Practice on Emerging Womens website. To dive deeper with Kristen Wheeler, plus Brené Brown, Arianna Huffington, Kris Carr and more, join us at Emerging Women Live, October 9-12, 2014. Enter our Connect for Change contest HERE to win an all-expense-paid trip to attend the event.



Val M.
Val M4 years ago


Kath P.
Kath P4 years ago

I do the same as Darren W.

Darla R.
Darla R4 years ago

very interesting and insightful

ERIKA SOMLAI4 years ago

thank you for the good tips

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey4 years ago

In terms of writing an e-mail. . . often I'll write off the top of my head a composition, or reply. . . and sometimes I will go back over the same thing, and read it, and try and see if I can recognise myself in what I've read.

Luis Brantuas
Luis Brantuas4 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago


Diane Wayne
Past Member 4 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

Thanks 4 the tips.