How I Made a Better Decision

Charlene Norman
4 min readOct 2, 2023

Ever thought about HOW you make a decision?

I posted something personal this week on social media and was floored by the reactions. I prefer to view what happened as people are hungry to meet, learn and know the real person — loooong before the like and trust factors kick in.

I decided to share my story in the hope that it will help you grapple with something in your life.

For the last six Friday afternoons, I have been stretched out in the dental lounger for up to two hours at a time. My last visit to the dentist was 15 years ago. Yeah, FIFTEEN.

These last six weeks have been a marathon in every sense of the word.

Delighted to report that everything is in (near) perfect shape again, and the dentist has more than enough for his kid’s next semester tuition. The good news is that my teeth are naturally very strong, and the dentist told me to keep doing whatever I have been doing, AND please come back once a year.

The bad news, however, is a two-parter.

Regrettably, I have a very long way to go in managing the art of witty conversation while completely frozen and drooling with jaws extended in what seemed like an open bear trap.

AND we humans are the dumbest creatures when it comes to our excuses. We ONLY make excuses from a place of fear! Let me explain.

In any given situation, how many times have you said,

✔ Too busy. I’ll do it when I get some time.
✔ Don’t have the extra money for this right now.
✔ What YOU need (regardless of how big or small) is way more important than my one thing.
✔ I have no pain, so everything is good.
✔ I’ve gone this long without a professional; why should I trust one now?

✔ I come from a long line of ……., so I’m good.
✔ I don’t need help. Let others worse off than me get in line.

✔ I really don’t see any urgency here.

Think in terms of your personal life, your marriage, your career, your boss, your colleagues, your siblings, your kids, your retirement, your hobbies, your whatever. I’ll bet you have used at least ONE of these excuses for some experience you didn’t want to get into.

When it came to my teeth, I used ALL of them PLUS a bunch of others I can’t remember. But here’s the truth.

They were a substitute for my fear.

And I was very afraid of three things:

1. The inevitable pain.
2. The shame of being looked down upon for not caring more deeply about my teeth, and,
3. The ever-increasing investment I knew I needed to make.

In other words, every single one of the reasons I used was FEAR masquerading as a made-up, flimsy excuse.

So, what made me finally go to the dentist?

I decided to make a better decision.

-I decided I WANTED to make a change. I knew what the positives would be, understood why I wanted to get to the other side and finally accepted that there would be some unavoidable messiness to go through. (This part is key. It is all about YOU. WANTING to make the change. At the very least, for YOURSELF.)
-I stomped on my pride. Before I made the first appointment, I asked the receptionist if they would shame me for NOT seeing a dentist earlier. (Always get ahead of the issue and be comfortable publicly admitting you are less than perfect.)
-I decided that whatever the final bill would be, I needed to think in terms of amortizing it over the entire 15 years I had not spent money. (Logical rationalization for any investment ahead of time makes the spending part much easier.)

No, it was not easy to do and did not ease any of the inevitable pain, pride and payout. What it did do was put me in charge. What it did do was stop me from ducking the issue. What it did do was allow me to take responsibility and make a better decision.

There is an excellent chance you have a decision or action you know you NEED to take. But you have not WANTED to bring yourself to do it.

Feel free to use my process of making a better decision. It works, and you’ll be glad you did.

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Charlene Norman

Inspiring good humans to make a difference for all on Planet Earth. Podcast host, author, and community leader. Fanatical about change for the highest good.