** This is one of my most popular posts and since I am traveling for the next 10 days, I thought it would be fun to let you read some blasts from the pasts! Enjoy!**

my planeThis was MY BABY when I flew airplanes. A Cessna 177. I loved that plane, because it was so smooth to fly. I can’t tell you how much fun I had doing chandelles, and lazy eights in that aircraft.  (If you’re curious about them, click here and here )

To execute any aircraft maneuver, correctly, required training, and then, hours of practice.



Once mastered, however, that skill became second nature, and yet, we still needed to use a checklist every time we got into the airplane to fly, because that checklist could save our lives, redirect our focus and give us clarity in the areas we need it most.

Even when you master a skill, you still need a checklist — Christine Jeffrey

When I was a commercial pilot and a certified flight instructor at American Flyers, we had learned early on that a pilot’s judgment was one of the key elements to a safe and successful flight. We used a framework called the 5P’s that would help us to evaluate our progress at key decision points before, during, and after the flight.

It was essential to have a plan in place and to stay ahead of the airplane, because if we fell behind, or got distracted, things could snowball out of control very quickly. So, when I was thinking about this blog post, it occurred to me that there must be a similar framework for decision-making in everyday life.


I found that I was more successful when I planned, when I prioritized based on my values, when I took into consideration others’ needs and wants, when I evaluated my options, and when I clearly identified what the choice was about. (Sounds a lot like a checklist to me!) Therefore, I was so excited when I found this little gem of an infographic in a post by Dana Radcliffe, Senior Lecturer at Cornell University, that discussed decision-making: 5P

Radcliffe writes,

The Johnson School believes that, with adult students, ethics education should focus not on trying to inculcate basic values, but rather on equipping students with concepts and questions that will help them make sound decisions… This instrument consists of a series of questions that press users to identify their obligations to the sundry stakeholders and seek a defensible balance among them when they conflict…

While this framework focuses on ethical decision-making, I believe that it can be used for all decisions in which we are unsure about the best course of action.


  1. Priority – The needs and values that are most important to you
  2. Principles – Your values that are in alignment with who you believe yourself to be
  3. People – Needs and wants to consider, including your own
  4. Possibilities – Your Options
  5. Problem –  The “What”  that requires a decision on your part

Now with this framework in mind, I have created a checklist that you can use when you arrive at a key decision point:

Decision Making Check List

Similar to when we were ready to take off or land, once you complete your checklist, you must decide!

My hope is that the next time you need to make a key decision,  this checklist will help you to make your choice with a little less worry – and it might result in a smoother ride! ?

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Thanks for reading and until next time,

Remember you are so much more than who you believe yourself to be!