Ever been in a situation that you didn’t know how to move forward in?

Maybe it was a relationship that you weren’t sure you should be in anymore or a deal you weren’t sure you were supposed to make.

Maybe someone asked you a question you didn’t know the answer to or called you out in front of a bunch of people.

Or maybe your kids did something and you’re not sure how to respond to it.

Most of us have been (or will be) in situations like this at some point. So what do you do when you don’t know what to do? Here are three steps you can take:

Never be afraid to hit the pause button in a moment or conversation when you don’t know how to move forward. Most things can wait a few hours or even days. Very few situations are life-and-death that require immediate action. Have the courage to say, “I don’t know” or, “I’m not sure how to respond to that, but let me give it some thought and I’ll get back to you in the next day or two.”

After you’ve hit the pause button take time to process what to do next. This can involve some research, quiet time thinking alone, a pro/con list, and (if you’re a Christian) prayer. You may also want to ask your spouse and other wise people in your life what they think you should do. Proverbs 15:22 (NIV) says, Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Take time to ask for help.

Finally, after you’ve had time to pause and process, proceed with what needs to happen next. Sometimes people prolong making tough decisions in the hopes that problems will go away or solve themselves. This rarely happens. When you’ve had some time to think, plan, and get advice move forward. That lets everyone involved know you took time to listen to them before making a decision. They might not like where you want to go but they can’t fault you for not hearing them out.

What’s something you’re going through right now that the pause, process, and proceed method can help you with?


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