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‘CEO whisperer’ shares the simple brain trick he uses to make better decisions—it only takes ‘a few minutes each day’

By | Ashton Jackson |

The difference between success and failure might come down to a simple trait: your decision-making abilities.

But you can’t consistently make the right decisions without a healthy dose of self-awareness, knowing who you are and why you think the way you do, says executive coach Jerry Colonna.

Colonna, who’s often referred to as the “CEO whisperer,” has been preaching this theory for 20-plus years now. After realizing in the early 2000s that his venture capital job was causing him an unhealthy amount of stress — and that he wasn’t as successful as he wanted to be — he started his own internal process of “radical self-inquiry,” he tells CNBC Make It.

That meant trying to understand what exactly he was doing wrong, without bias or judgment. His conversations with himself kept coming back to a troubled childhood, which motivated him — but also contributed to his constant anxiety about failing and losing everything.

Colonna left his job, “rebooted” his life and found a passion for leadership coaching, he says. The process wasn’t easy: It required him to confront traumas and “personal demons” that he’d been ignoring for years. But it was clearly the right decision to make, he says.

Here’s how you can follow his lead to get better at making decisions, too.

Get comfortable with self-questioning

Colonna’s radical self-inquiry process is simple, he says.

“Spend a few minutes each day, but not the entire day, asking questions like how am I really feeling? What do I want to bring [to a conversation or situation]?” he says. “Radical self-inquiry is a means to unabashedly, without shame and without seeking guilt, to understand who you are, why you do the things you do, so that you then do things out of choice, not for unconscious reasons.”

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