Co-Author, CEO & Founder

Here are moments in our life where a decision can change the trajectory of everything. Don't do it blind- there’s a better way. Join us with the Co-Author of the book Money & Love, Abby Davisson, to discuss The Five C’s framework for critical decision making.

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Welcome to Lead With Who You Are with Dia Bondi! 

In this episode, Dia is joined by special guest Abby Davisson, Co-Author of Money and Love: An Intelligent Roadmap for Life’s Biggest Decisions. Abby's illustrious career includes roles as a social innovation leader and president of the Gap Foundation. She's now the founder and CEO of the Money and Love Institute, dedicated to helping people make intentional decisions, especially when the stakes are high.

Introduction to Abby Davisson:

Abby has been featured in renowned publications like the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, and Fast Company. Her passion lies in supporting individuals to make confident and deliberate decisions.

The 5 C’s Framework for Decision-Making:

  • Clarity: Gain clarity about your values and priorities.
  • Confidence: Build the confidence to make decisions aligned with who you are.
  • Control: Understand what is within your control and focus your energy there.
  • Communication: Effectively communicate your decisions, particularly relevant for leaders.
  • Connection: Establish a connection between your decisions and your authentic self.

Highlights from the Episode:

  • Abby shares insights into her career journey, emphasizing the importance of intentional decision-making.
  • The episode explores the 5 C’s framework, providing a roadmap for making significant life decisions.
  • Learn how to align decisions with your true self, fostering confidence and authenticity.

Invitation to Subscribe:

Subscribe to Lead With Who You Are on your favorite podcast platform to access more insightful conversations. Share the show with leaders and innovators in your life who shine brightest when they lead with authenticity.

Join Dia and Abby as they unravel the mysteries of decision-making and provide valuable tools for leading with confidence and purpose! 

Abby's Newsletter.

Abby's Book website quiz.

Money and Love Institute website.

Check out all things Dia Bondi here.

Abby Davisson  00:02

Sure, if you control for the people who go into the arrangement having had all the conversations you need to have, then those negative outcomes go away. It's when you slide into the decision versus decide deliberately that the things can go sideways.


Dia Bondi  00:19

Yep, don't slide decide, I've got to have that on a t shirt Hey, everyone, this is Lead With Who You Are. I'm Dia Bondi, and on this show, we explore and discover what it truly means to lead with who you are. And we're doing it with people who embody just that. And today, we're talking with Abby Davisson, co author of money and love an intelligent roadmap for life's biggest decisions. In this episode, you're going to get the five C's framework for making big and important decisions. And it turns out, this may even help you with communicating the decisions you make to your team, as an executive or as a founder. You think money and love aren't connected? Well, Abby knows that they are and shares a research based approach to making decisions that are aligned to who you are, so you can lead with who you are. Let's get into it.  Hey, just a quick reminder, you can subscribe to this show on your podcast platform of choice. We're live nearly everywhere. And you can always listen to the show at If there's a leader or innovator in your life, who is it their shiniest when they lead with who they truly are, Please share the show with them. And rate subscribe, and leave us a review makes a huge difference in the reach that the show has when you let everyone else know what you love about the show. Thanks so much.  You love audio right? That's why you're here right now. We'll ask like an auctioneer. The audio book is available for pre order now. Or if you're listening to this episode after November 14 2023. It's live right now. Head to your favorite audio book source and add it to your queue. You won't regret it because it has jokes in it. Kinda learn to ask like an auctioneer with me right in your headphones.  Abby Davison has dedicated her career to helping others achieve their goals. First as a social innovation leader and now as an author and entrepreneur whose work has been featured in Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and Fast Company. She is the co author of money in love and intelligent roadmap for life's biggest decisions, and the founder and CEO of the money and love Institute. Prior to launching the institute, she spent nearly a decade driving social impact at global retailer gap, Inc, where she served as president of the gap foundation. Abby also has co founded the company's employee resource group for working parents. She is passionate about helping people make more deliberate decisions with confidence, especially when stakes are high. Let's go. Abby Davison, it's so great to have you. So happy to be here. So well, this is not a show about finding romance or dating or getting married or maintaining marriage. It's not a show directly about sort of building our way up to wealth or making big money decisions. But it is a show about making choices in Armenia is a show about, you know how we can lead with who we are. And I'm inviting you on because I want to talk about how we can make big decisions and choices that are aligned to actually who we are. This is a show about how we can lead in that way. And we want all of our decisions. And the choices that we make along our leadership path along the track the path as we're building things are having impact on things in business and in our own lives in a way that is aligned to who we actually are. And so for debt today, I wanted to talk about your decision making framework which I've gotten through in your audiobook thanks so much folks can go out and get that it's live now and how listeners today might be able to apply your framework to decision making frameworks in places in their current job and their current leadership. Should I you know make an investment should I not should I make this decision at work? Should I take on venture Should I not Should I take a sabbatical? Should I not these kinds of like grownup decisions we're making every day that don't maybe fall that fall in between The decisions around money and love. So let's start with where we always do, which is like Abby Dennison, if you were to answer the question today, who are you? How might you do that?



Well, like so many people, I am not one thing, just like, as you said, This podcast is not necessarily about money or about love, specifically, but actually, they're intertwined in every big decision. So I am intertwined in all my identities. I am an entrepreneur, I've just launched the money and love Institute, I can share more about that I am author published money and love earlier this year, and intelligent roadmap for life's biggest decisions. And I am a mom of two amazing sons. And my family is a huge part of a big life decision that I made recently to leave the corporate world and to become an entrepreneur and have more autonomy and control over my own schedule.


Dia Bondi  06:03

Excellent. And tell us about the money love Institute. What is that? And what are you doing with it?



Yeah, well, so let me come back to that at the end, because I think it will make more sense once I share more about the framework about the history of of why how the book got to be written, and then it will make a little bit more sense. Okay.


Dia Bondi  06:23

So for those of you listening, like money, and love, like I got that unlock, I don't need help making those decisions. Let's give some context for sort of all this work and how it applies and how you use it in your own life. So can we go back to what the impetus was for this book, in your experience, leading up to writing it? Absolutely.



So the impetus was really a class that my co author taught at Stanford Business School, where I studied with her over 15 years ago now. And she is a labor economist was the first woman faculty member hired at Stanford Business School in the 70s. Big shout out to her, that's amazing Iris Strober. She is amazing. She was hired when women could not own their own credit cards, right. I mean, it was a very different time and the options for women in general, but certainly financially were very limited. That was not the case, when I studied with her, I did have my own credit cards, I could own a bank account. Even if I was married, it could be in my name. But that's a really different set of options than when she started teaching this class. So the class was called work and family. And it was all about the decisions that you need to make as somebody who intends to combine a career with a personal life. And I had at that point, been working for a number of years. And I was very strategic about my career, if I do say so myself, even in my mid 20s, but not so strategic about my personal life, I didn't apply the same rigor and decision making to decisions about moving across the country for a relationship or living in a city that I wanted to live in, even if I didn't have a job there. And so taking my risk class, it was like this light bulb went off for me. And it was so helpful to say, Listen, all of life's big decisions are intertwined. You shouldn't ignore your heart when it comes to financial decisions. And you shouldn't ignore your head when it comes to relationship decisions, you actually need to think about all of life's big decisions holistically. Because if you do, you're more likely to make decisions that leave you fulfilled that are aligned to your purpose and meaning and that you won't regret.


Dia Bondi  08:47

It's super interesting that you say like, for folks who intend on I don't know exactly the word was, but it was like, sort of let your personal and your work lives touch or, you know, inform each other be connected. And I'm like, it's so you know, this idea that they wouldn't I think is so false in general. I mean, this is what I talked to my leaders and clients and the work that I do around communications, that I'm like, you aren't, you can't not be you, when you step into a room, granted, you know, you build range, and you draw on different parts of the aspects of either your personality or sort of your perspective, in particular places we stretch ourselves in to speak up when we feel shy to or to shut up when that feels uncomfortable, because it's useful to the room. You know, we're building range in that but like, the notion that you would intent, you know, build a class for folks who intentionally want to have an integration between work and life, I think was probably I mean, I don't know but may have been a little edgy at that time, because we kind of assumed there was this like, more hardened wall seems like now, there it's less hardened.



It's less hardened, but it's still the conventional wisdom to separate those two things, right. I mean, yeah, we no longer I have to hide pictures of our families in our work offices if you even have an office to go to anymore. But it's not totally the norm to think holistically about everything that you do in life in a strategic deliberate way. And so I do think it's still really needed. But the inspiration, so I'll share when I took the class, I was a second year MBA student, I was dating somebody who I had met in business school, and we were getting ready to graduate. So we needed to make decisions about accepting jobs in the same city, if we were going to live together if we ended up in the same city and Myra shared a surprising piece of data, which is that couples that live together before getting married have higher divorce rates. And that was really surprising to us as well. And we dug into it for a final paper and looked at why that was the case, if there was anything that could be done to prevent it. And it turns out that, yes, there is and that is being intentional. So if you control for the people who go into the arrangement, having had all the conversations you need to have about combining finances, about household chores, about, you know, everything career ambitions, then those negative outcomes go away. It's when you slide into the decision versus decide deliberately, that the things can go sideways.


Dia Bondi  11:29

Yeah, don't slide decide, I've got to have that on a t shirt.



Because that is what we say, and all of our talks because it's so there is such a temptation to ignore the difficult conversations, right? These are really hard discussions, and


Dia Bondi  11:46

totally, and what you're, what you're sharing, they're about, like applying the same rigor in sort of our personal lives and relationships as we would to managing a career like to be able to generalize that across all aspects of our lives. Seems it's true, like even even for me, as I have always felt like my work in my life or integrated, I've worked for myself, my I didn't even have a job job tells them the 30s My 30s a client, I work with the client, they said, Hey, you want to come in house? And I was like, I've never had a job before. So I went, I went in house for like three years. And I was like, nope, not for me. But, you know, I have worked for myself forever. And I felt this sort of like strong fluidity between those but I haven't, I haven't probably, like, I would suspect if I really took a look, I haven't applied the same rigor. There's been some sliding into things on my personal side that maybe was more decided on the professional side.



Well, it's very common. I mean, I certainly that was the case with me as well. And so so the fact that I took this class with someone who I needed to make these life decisions with deliberately, and we had the gift really to be in the right place at the right time, just as we were deciding all of these things about our future. When we wrote this paper together, we then went back as guest speakers for a decade. So this is the spoiler we did move in together, we got married the we got engaged the following year, we got married later that year. And so we've now been together for 14 years, as a married couple, we have two young kids, we've made lots of job changes cared for aging relatives. And so we got to go back to the class, as we were climbing the career ladder in our respective fields. And so when my co author retired in 2018, she said she wanted to write a book about the class. And I said, that is a great idea. It changed our lives, more people should have access to the data and information you shared. And so we had lunch about a year later. And I said, How's the book coming? And she said, You know, I haven't written a word. And I said, Well, maybe you need an accountability partner, I was at the gap. At the time, I had just started the Employee Resource Group for working parents, I was in the ESG. Team, the foundation there. And I knew how hard it was to get a big project off the ground alone. And she looked at me and she said, That's a great idea. But I need more than that. I need a co author. And you have been putting all these lessons into practice in the trenches over the last decade.


Dia Bondi  14:20

Yes, that's so awesome. And shout out side note to that shout out for following your curiosity. Like you never know what's going to happen years and years before you were like, this class seems relevant and interesting. I don't even know if it was really part of the formal academic track that you were on or if it was sort of like a nice to have a bolt on. But like, you go, Hmm, that's resonant for me and you follow it thinking you're just gonna get one thing out of it, and then look, all this other stuff.



No, it's so true. And yeah, I didn't have myself in mind when I suggested that she had an accountability partner, but I said yes, on the spot, and we by the way, therefore violated the The number one principle of our book, which is not to make big life decisions in an instant, but we had known each other for a long time, she had been a mentor of mine, and I knew this was not an impulsive decision to your point, it had given me so much wisdom and energy over the years. And so I had that full body. Yes. Feeling Yes. When she asked the question, and I would, you know, said I would figure out how to make it work. I just knew that was the right thing for me to do


Dia Bondi  15:25

 the same thing for me when I went to auctioneering school for fun, I was like, I'm just gonna do this as a funny hobby. And now I like launched a project to help a million women ask for more and get it the book is publishing next week, like you just when we follow our curiosities, we never know how it's gonna weave its way, you know, into our lives, I feel like, you know, learn about leading with who we are when we can just sort of sometimes let go of being overly planful. And you might argue with us, and follow some of our curiosities in a, you know, meaningful and elite and thoughtful way. You know, amazing things can emerge. Now you're an author and have launched an institute, which we're going to hear about in a little bit. I have a client, big shout out to you, Amara, who is a data scientist, and he says, not going to say this Exactly, right. But he says something like, you know, he loves data science, but he thinks of it more as like a decision science tool. And he says, the thing that decision science can do for us sometimes is, is, when we look at the data, sometimes the more courageous thing to do is the opposite of what the data is telling us. He's like, yes, you know, like, just to have the courage to kind of go the other way sometimes is, can be rewarding. Anyway, I love that from him. So when we recognize you know, there are moments in our lives, you know, money, love, you know, big decisions, get married, don't get married, move in together, don't move in together, take this other job, don't money, buy a lottery ticket, pass, you know, these, these big decisions, that, but there's all these other ones that are sort of peppered through our lives, the ones that probably I have just slid into, because I I felt like they were either inevitable, or I didn't recognize that there was a choice moment in the in the way, is there a component? And to be fair, like, I've been on the road, launching my book this last week, and I listened to the podcast. I mean, I listened to your, to the audiobook and the cracks and crevices. So maybe you've said it in the book, and I've missed it. But are there moments where like, we have to actually recognize what decisions there are before us to be made before we can actually even apply the five C's and the frameworks that you talk about which we'll get into?



Yeah, it's a great question. Someone asked me recently, so should I be applying the five C's before I like order breakfast? Or what level of decision rises to the occasion of needing to pause or needing to make a framework? And, you know, I don't think there's a hard and fast rule. But often it feels like some decisions are high stakes, right? We feel like we're at a fork in the road. And we could go one of you know, a number of different ways. We don't know how they're all going to turn out. But they seem equally appealing for some reason, right? Sometimes there are hard choices, which are like, do I have the surgery that I really know I need to have? Like, it's not really a choice you do? And it's just sort of how do you how do you adjust to it and flex with it. But you know, like you said, marry this person or not start my own business or not, these things could take you in very different directions. And so if the stakes feel high, they seem like equally viable alternatives. And you wish you had a crystal ball to figure out how it would end up. Those are places where it's helpful to have a framework, but to your point, sometimes not making a decision isn't in and of itself a decision, right? If you're like in the same job, and you're just not happy, feels like you wish things would change, but you're not taking any action, you are actually making a decision to stay by virtue of not exploring alternatives. And so that's the thing that is important to recognize, sometimes there won't be a actual choice presented to you. But you need to recognize that you're not feeling in alignment with where the majority of your energy is going every day. And that is a very draining state to be in.


Dia Bondi  19:22

Yeah, there's like an interesting question there. I don't know if I've used this before, but I feel like it's a question i i would use, which is like, is there a decision to be made here? Like, you know, when we're in this sort of sliding into something, or it feels like it's just sort of sweeping something, you know, something feels like it's sweeping us with it, like to stop and ask like, is there a decision to be made here? Or am I just in the river and that I don't actually have an agency in it when maybe we do, because we just don't notice like, Oh, that was an opportunity. There was a moment where I could have made there was a decision made. When I just didn't notice it, I went too much with the flow.


Abby Davisson  20:04

Yes, I think it really starts with paying attention.


Dia Bondi  20:08

Totally, totally. Okay, so what are you know, I know in the intro, I said frameworks, but it's really the big one are the five C's that help us move through a particular decision? Correct? Correct. Okay, cool. So given to us, what are those five C's? And when will we use them?


Abby Davisson  20:26

Yeah, well, that's a great question. And I think we just to share, we did not have a framework as part of the course that was not the curriculum, it was something that my co author and I developed as part of the research and writing of the book, because what we recognized is, and the book is organized, as you know, if you've listened to the audio book by the types of major decisions we tend to encounter in life. So finding your person, do you have children or not? How do you decide where to live? And when to move all the way up to divorce, eldercare, you know, things that we anticipate we won't encounter for a while, and maybe never encounter but it's just helpful to be prepared. But so the class was organized with guest speakers for each of those topics. But what we realized is that it's so helpful to have a framework because one of the other challenges is rushing through these decisions. We don't like to be uncomfortable as humans, we have strong biases that are wired against being feeling discomfort. And when we're in the throes of these big decisions, we just want to get to the the other side of them. So we want to just like doesn't even matter what we decide, we just want to get out of the discomfort, the anxiety, the fear, all of those negative emotions. So by having a framework, it helps us slow down, it helps us turn over the right rocks to make sure that we're doing the type of thinking that research has shown to be really important in making decisions. And it's really flexible. So you can apply it to a variety of different decisions. But it's sturdy, meaning you can use the framework over and over this


Dia Bondi  22:09

is what I love about frameworks versus rules, because it's like, it is a sturdy and flexible. What a great way to like what a great way to sort of describe, you know, something that can help us take action, but also be very, I don't know, like, it can move with us, right? So give it to us, give it to us.


Abby Davisson  22:29

Okay, so we call it the five C's. And it starts with clarifying what is most important to you. So I just mentioned, you have to pay attention in those times where you feel out of alignment with who you are, well, first, you need to know who you are. So if you clarify what's most important to you, sometimes that looks like articulating your core values. Sometimes that looks like saying what you really want and what you don't want. Our wants are really powerfully influenced by other wants, others wants. And so it's important to quiet those other voices like your mom telling you what you should do, or even in things you see on social media,


Dia Bondi  23:10

I was gonna say or Tik Tok or like,



yeah, totally, totally. So it's like, get those out of the out of your ears so you can get quiet and really distill what you want. So that's the first C, once you've done that, the second C is to communicate with others involved in the decision. And so we are not islands, right? We depend humans need to be interconnected with others, if you are married or have a long term partner, that person is, by definition going to be affected by the choices you make, even if it feels like that choice is yours to make. So your decision to quit a job obviously has an impact on the other person who's financially tied to you. But even if you're single, you certainly are in relationship with others, whether that's siblings, whether that's close friends,


Dia Bondi  24:03

my best friend decided to move to Portland from the Bay Area, like Yeah, has an impact.


Abby Davisson  24:08

Right? So you would want that best friend to talk to you early on before perhaps they've made that decision to move. So that's about the communicate step. And it's, it's about talking but it's also very importantly, and I know you know this as a communication expert about listening. It's


Dia Bondi  24:27

interesting because in your last in the first in the first of the five seas, clarifying you shared that, you know, the world can feel noisy and our and our wants are so influenced by other people's wants. So I would imagine, you know, if I was to go to one of my best friends, if I was going to go to my and say we're moving to sand, you know, we're thinking about moving to San Diego, like her desire to have me not go can be really loud, you know. And so when we have our communication when we start to communicate about the fact that there is a decision that is up to be made You know, and whatever else we might talk about, like, how do you help? I mean, does it come up that folks are like, I don't want to communicate, because I don't want to be overly influenced by other people's desires?



Absolutely. And I think sometimes people want to have all their research, done all their ducks in a row, and then share the decision so that they can't be influenced. But what's so important to recognize is that the people who are important to you in your life are important for a reason. And they need to be involved in the decision, so that they can do share what they want, but also so that they can support you. So ultimately, you know, your best friend is not going to say, Absolutely do you need to stay here, or I need to stay here. Because if you they might ask, you will tell me what's behind the move. Tell me what's, you know, interesting about moving. And so by that, she might say,


Dia Bondi  25:57

Please don't go.


Abby Davisson  25:59

No kidding, which is fair, which is fair, and then you know, you can sometimes that actually causes you to re clarify. So this is laid out very linearly, but it is a very iterative process. And sometimes communicating actually causes you to really clarify, you might say, Oh, I didn't realize you felt so strongly about our friendship, and how important it is that we get together every week. Or maybe it's that you haven't actually seen each other in person for a while, and you realize you need to be more deliberate about scheduling something regular, because just merely living in the same, you know, region isn't enough, you need to like, plan it. So things can come out of it, even if it doesn't change the decision, or if it doesn't kind of align with what you've clarified, beautiful.


Dia Bondi  26:45

It's really a dance. Beautiful, give us the next C.


Abby Davisson  26:48

So the next C is to examine a broad range of choices. And so we are when we're in the throes of the big decision, we often see the extremes, which is, you know, do I marry this person or break up with them? Do I go for the promotion? Or do I quit my job. And the key one of the keys to making a better decision is to have a really broad consideration set. So the idea in generating a broad range of choices is to get out of that binary thinking that is easier for us to see, and generate additional choices that might actually let us have our cake and eat it too. Yeah,


Dia Bondi  27:27

I love that. I remember MJ Ryan, who is a coach, she's been very influential in my life. She I remember, we were in a session once and she was like, seven ideas. Let's go, I had like three, she was like, nope, more. And she just made me sit in it and look around. Look around four, or five and six, were tough. But when I got to seven, I had like more, you know. So, you know, while that can feel. And then combinations of those that we've put on the whiteboard, then ended up being further choices. And I love this idea of like this non binary thinking that gets us stuck between two extremes, or like, our tunnel vision gets super activated, because we're maybe under stress. That's wonderful. Okay, cool. So we've got si for choices, lots of choices.


Abby Davisson  28:20

And that pairs well with the fourth C, which is to check in with trusted resources. And checking in can help us generate more choices that we might not see just ourselves, because we're so in it. But it also can give us data about things that studies that have been done. I mean, one of the really interesting check ins and so check ins can help us broaden our choices. And one of the check ins that I did when I was in the midst of a big decision about moving myself was to look at an article and we cite this in our moving chapter from the Journal of environmental psychology, which is an interesting journal, talking all about the effect of density, so square footage per person on family harmony, and families with young children. And so we were, you know, all in this, you know, small footprint, home on top of each other and foreign schools were remote. And we were just feeling like, oh, we need to get more space for us. And it turns out that this study says it's not actually just a matter of getting more and more space. It's, it's yes, that's true up to a certain point. And then there are diminishing returns. And then actually, particularly boys, which is what I have can feel disconnected and lonely in a too big space. So that was a really interesting check in that helped us realize, oh, it's not just a matter of getting as much space as we can. It's a matter of how we perceive the space which is another thing that the study said that actually is the the biggest effect on Family Harmony is perception of the space. Well, you've


Dia Bondi  29:55

just you basically actively go into in this in this check In for trusted resources, you're kind of openly challenging your own assumptions, aren't you? You gotta go in with some curiosity like, Okay, let's see, like, let's see,


Abby Davisson  30:10

exactly, and let's see who else has faced this because one of the things that we feel when we're in the throes of a big decision is that we feel very lonely. We feel like we're the only one who of us who has ever faced this specific situation. And that's simply not true. We did a really large research survey as part of the research for the book, asking people what is, you know, big decision that they wanted to talk about, and everyone who, you know, hundreds of responses, said, You know, I just feel really alone in making this decision. And we could see on the back end, oh, you know, there's so many patterns here, there's lots of people who are making this decision about moving or about leaving a job that isn't serving them. And we know that they're not alone, because we see all these responses, but they don't see one another's. So part of the check in is to learn from others who have made that decision, or might be making a similar decision, and use that to inform your choices as well. And


Dia Bondi  31:05

I'm gonna imagine that these, you know, if you're making big decisions in the business, as a founder, that, you know, this can apply to your executive team, you know, you can get really clear on what's important to the business, what's important to you, maybe you're communicating with your trusted set of advisors, about a decision that's on deck, you know, you're, you're looking at the range of choices and collaborating with those folks to build out your choice set. And then you're checking in with trusted resources that might even be outside of your executive team, you're looking at datasets that might be important to the business, like this can be extrapolated not just for the the kinds of choices we make inside the privacy of our own homes and lives, but also in our leadership now. Oh, absolutely.


Abby Davisson  31:46

Because you're, you're the same person, whether you're in your dining room, or in the boardroom, in these in these decisions. I mean, my role before launching this book, and this business was on the ESG. Team, so thinking very much about multiple bottom lines for Fortune 200 company, and I absolutely believe this framework would have been just as useful in that work, you know, we will talk about the fifth C, but a lot of people say to us, you know, I've been doing bits and pieces of this. I mean, this is not like a you know, it's a new framework, but it's like these ideas are time tested, and research based. And so people say, Oh, I've been doing all this, I just realized I haven't been deliberately communicating, or I've been doing this, but I realized I haven't been thinking strategically about the consequences, which is the fifth see? So we'll talk about that one. But absolutely, this applies in in the context of the office, in addition to your personal Do you also


Dia Bondi  32:43

notice for folks who are listening that you know, even use for clarify, communicate, you know, in like building out your set of choices and checking in with trusted resources? Like none of this is like you alone in a room?


Abby Davisson  32:55

Yes, absolutely.


Dia Bondi  32:58

Okay, let's, let's hit the the fifth seat, which you already give us a little preview of. Yeah,


Abby Davisson  33:02

so the fifth see is consequences. And that is to play out what is likely to happen, both on the positive side, and then the negative side across different time horizons. So we have a really powerful, it's called present bias as humans, we see the near term consequences very clearly. And we are less familiar or less likely to see the farther out consequences, the long term consequences. So you have to find a way to trick your brain. And really be intentional about thinking about the near term, like two months out, medium term, six months out longer term, two years plus out so that you can overcome that present bias.


Dia Bondi  33:43

You know, I think like, the consequences sometimes has like a negative connotation, doesn't it? I mean, when I hear, when I hear that to your kids, like you're gonna get it, or like, you know, you've got to, like, be accountable. I don't know, there's like, consequences does sound like one more time and you're gonna get a consequence. It just feels like a threat. But there are positive consequences. You're making me think that so Mandy, on my team, she's, I am such a short term. Like, I just love instant gratification. I love high leverage moments. I love you know, I'm just, I don't know that I'm an adrenaline junkie, but I like I want to see the fruits of something like, right, right now, it's hard for me to hold long game because it feels so far away. And so not I know now, and she's always reminding me that, like, we're making decisions now in my business, that are about five years from now. And I'm like, you have What about next quarter, you know, and she's like, both things are true. But I over rotate on the on the like right now, right now. And you know, and the positive and she's bringing that to me, shout out to humanity. If you're listening, she's bringing that to me in the in the context of positive consequences. We're going to make choices that Pay the business and the impact we want to have tenfold in five years not cost us consequences. Absolutely.


Abby Davisson  35:07

And so you know, the the framework is research based in that, that clarify and communicate is about getting the inside view, then you start to get the outside view through choices and check in. And then you're doing this sort of expected value calculation, looking into the future and saying, what are all the things that could go right? What are all the things that could go wrong? And what is kind of the best case and worst case scenario? And the truth is likely somewhere in between that,


Dia Bondi  35:34

yeah, what do they say is never as good or as bad as it seems. So okay, cool. So we've got the five C's right here. And we've we've already talked a little bit about how folks can use it in decision making at work in their teams, maybe in their leadership. And I would imagine that this could get fairly complex when you're thinking about consequences across the business that might be negative for one half of one part of the business and super positive for another or, you know, have people you know, human resources consequences on one side of the house and not on the other side of the business. So how do you deal when things get really messy and complex? Again, even if it's, even if the decisions that are friends and family ones not that like you say, like at the dining room, not the boardroom, how when things get messy, and complex, or there's too many opposing pieces of feedback, how am I how do we, I guess the word is like when we get stuck in the process? How do we get ourselves unstuck?


Abby Davisson  36:37

So the key is really going back to the clarify step, what is most important to you? Because yes, there are any number of complexities. And all of these decisions, by the way, are intertwined. Where you live is intertwined with how much you need to make is intertwined with, you know, how you spend your days and is so intertwined with, you know, how much free time you have, right? So all these things, sometimes people say like, well, what decisions should I make first? Because they're all interconnected? And it's really about what is most important to you? Like, what are those core values? Are you over indexing on, you know, one, have you been over indexing on one value, and that's what's feeling off about, you know, the way the rest of your life is working. And so I would go, you know, back to that as the first principle. And really, it's like, either one or two or three core values, you can't have like 10 core values, that's too many. So very, takes a long time to get super clear on what's most important to you. But then when you do that, the other C's flow much more easily, because you have that Touchstone Yeah,


Dia Bondi  37:41

well, I completely appreciate that all of this stuff. And in the communications, leadership voice stuff I do is like, so, so nuanced to, like things are not just like black and white, yes, or no, but there are moments, I think, you know, what you're saying is, is very resonant for me, because I, you know, there are moments when I get too much of equally weighted opposing, you know, on this, and on that hand, I could have 12 choices on deck, and half of them are right, and half of them feel off or, you know, like it can, I can go through this. And it can be either or maybe a fairly clear path that helps me get into action. Or it could be like, Wow, I just collected a lot of data, you know, checked it against a bunch of stuff, developed a bunch of choices, communicated the heck out of it with my community, and I'm still kind of stuck. If I do go back to those values. Like for me and my work, I'll say there's two values that need to be alive all the time, not sometimes, like they have to be present in everything. And that is a sense of adventure, that doesn't mean physical adventure, it just has to feel it has to have a quality of adventure. And it has to have a quality of being deeply connected, or at least, you know, that needs to be it has a promise in it for deep connection. And I can go back to those when all I just, you know, had all the conversations and amassed all the data and done all the reflection. If I go back to those two and go, Is it connected? Does it have the potential to be connected? And does it have the quality of adventure? And then I can get kind of yes or no about


Abby Davisson  39:13

it. I love that. And that's probably taken you a long time to distill those two values and to be so clear about them but it then moves mountains for you and your present.


Dia Bondi  39:24

I think I did get clear on on them. But I but I really have made a decision to commit to them. And that's the difference like there's one thing for us to go like Oh yeah, those all feel right. And there's a difference there's a difference between that and actually committing to them and not second guessing yourself constantly gaslighting yourself into thinking like well, maybe this one time if they're not present it will be okay because of the because the money's great or because whatever like to commit to not betray your values, even when it feels like this is stupid da How can you expect you know advance Sure and connection everywhere. Like that's just unrealistic. You're so dumb, just put your head down and work. And you know, like that, you know, there's moments where it's easy to talk yourself out of the values that you actually in quiet moments hold, dear. So it's the commitment to them that has really come alive for me in the last like five years. But yes, it has served me and thank you. I'll take that as a compliment.


Abby Davisson  40:22

Oh, yeah, absolutely. I think it's huge. And I think for anyone trying to do business to really work in a way that is aligned with their values, and that makes them feel, you know, it's like the Annie Dillard quote, how we spend our days is how we spend our lives, right. And so if you're spending each day, living intentionally in alignment with those values, then by definition, your life is aligned with your values. And when those things get separated, when you're spending each day on something that is, yeah, either like, well, this is gonna have a really great payout, or it's easy to overlook the values because these other things are so appealing, then you can start to feel like really disconnected and things can feel off and you don't know why. So it's so the fact that you've articulated those is so powerful,


Dia Bondi  41:07

it's they do serve me a lot. And I you know, it's all compounded by the fact that my, my sister in law died. It's been, I don't know how long it's been 11 years, maybe. But, you know, my, it was like diagnosis on a Sunday, and she was gone in eight days. So I'm just very, and this was such an uncommon story. I mean, all around us. And in every family, you know, we have these experiences of people being there one day and gone the next and like, I met it like, not that I meditate, meditate on, but I carry that with me. And I like, I hold that with me. So that when I think like, how am I going to spend my minutes in adventure and connection? Or in betraying myself? I have to go back, I have to go back to I could be gone? You know,


Abby Davisson  41:54

I do know, well, I'm sorry for your loss, because that is significant. And I was, you know, I had a similar experience with my mom, that was very clarifying. And, you know, so my mom has had an accident and a traumatic brain injury that led to, you know, her her dying while before she should have. And, you know, I, it was very sad. I mean, her accident was literally the day before she was supposed to retire. And so it was obviously very tragic. But what made it less tragic is that she loved what she did so much. She was a children's librarian. And she would say, I can't believe they pay me to do this. And that phrase, has stuck with me so much. And when I was in a place in my career that for all intents and purposes, looked like a career peak for me, I was running a global foundation at a fortune 200 company with this lake budget. I mean, come on big budget. One point, it was my dream job, right. But I was not saying I can't believe they pay me to do this. And so sort of having that phrase, in my mind, was so helpful in serving as a compass to help me navigate to a place that, you know, was less clearly prestigious on paper, but felt much more in alignment with my valley.


Dia Bondi  43:18

Absolutely. And, you know, back at you, I'm so sorry, for your loss. i This is like, this is what I mean, it's everywhere, isn't it? Like it's in our families, it's in our lives. And if we're present to this question of like, living in alignment with who we are, if we can't, if we can do the work to get clear on what matters to us, it's not that the choice is easy, but it is more like we can have our hands on the steering wheel a little bit more, you know, around these decisions. Now, I will share that I think, from the communications perspective, you know, what I love about this framework, clarify, communicate, in numerating, your choices, checking in on trusted resources and consequences, is it for those of you who are listening, who are leaders and teams, maybe your founders, maybe at the executive level, when you use this framework to come to a decision? Boy, you are so much more well equipped to explain it to the world. Because maybe we're not making the choice around, you know, clarifying what's important to us personally, although that will be present, we can also recognize what's important, the values of the organization that we're trying to act in alignment with. So having this framework that helps us get from what should I do to a decision can feel all of the very important trust building storytelling you might need to do to your organization to help the world understand how you got to a decision and why it matters.


Abby Davisson  44:48

I love that and it also helps you understand how you got to a decision which gives you more confidence. And what we always say is it's not that this framework is A silver bullet right, you're not going to be guaranteed to make a decision that is going to work out perfectly every time because life throws monkey wrenches at us like we don't any of us have guarantees about anything. However, if you've gone through this process, and you've turned over all of these rocks, you are so much more confident in your approach. And that makes you feel in turn more at peace with however things play out. And so we actually have exercises in the book if you have the physical copy or on a Kindle or an ebook. And we encourage people to go through and actually write down how they got to the decision. So they could look back at that as a, you know, not only as a communication tool, but actually as a kind of a confirmation of Yes, you did the best you could angels could not have done better. And, therefore, you need to feel peace with how this plays out. It's not to say that you can't undo things or you can't, you know, pivot or you can change


Dia Bondi  46:00

the decisions that we make. And then we we action, those decisions, we live with them, we forward the action, and it just leads to another decision, like life is just a series of decisions that are these pivot points on our path to somewhere. So you know, we can't expect that we make this one decision, it's all packaged up so nicely for us. And as you say, like when we can understand our decision to be confident and it we're okay with whatever plays out, because we know we're gonna we can reuse this framework yet again, in 12 to 18 months, when something new reveals itself, things play out in a way we didn't expect something surprising shows up, you know, things are out of our control collide with a really great decision we made and produce something totally new. It's not, you don't just wash it and wear it, you wash it and wear it and rewash it and wear it again and over and over again, totally.


Abby Davisson  46:50

And if we're lucky, we get to do this for a long, long time, right. And so it's not about just you know, making all the decisions and moving on with your life. It's about, you know, hat feeling really proud of the way that you approach them. I love that you highlighted the power for communicating about the process of making decision, the rationale, and then you you do feel more empowered. And I've mentioned I, we were developing this framework and road testing, it started writing this book in in fall of 2020. And it came out in January of 2023. So you can imagine these roads we were testing it on were not smooth, nicely paved paths. They were like mudslides and potholes and tsunamis coming out. So as we were making these decisions, big decisions about my co author and I both made a decision about moving, I still ended up staying in the same place, she has moved twice actually, since the since the research in the book. We've since we're doing the research in the book, I made a decision about making a big career change. So I was writing this book while I was working full time in my previous role and then mentioned recently pivoted to being an entrepreneur. So you know, lots of big life decisions very much still in that leap. But I feel so much more confident about the way that I approached this decision. Having followed this framework, then decisions I've made earlier in my life without this framework, right?


Dia Bondi  48:16

Because then when you like run into a little rocky spot, following the decision, you're not like, oh, I made a wrong choice. You're like, No, this is just part of the path. I was very thorough in my thinking, this is just a speed bump. We're gonna it's not like it's not an existential crisis, every time you have, you know, a bumpy moment along the path to executing the decision because you committed to it because it was good decision making framework. Exactly.


Abby Davisson  48:40

And it takes the pressure off. Often we are we do something that Annie Duke, who's also a decision making expert calls resulting, which is tying the integrity of our decision making process to the result, which means if something goes, well, it must have been a good decision. If something doesn't go well, well, it must have been a bad decision. And we need to separate those two things. Because if you follow a trusted research based process, then it was a good decision, even if the outcome didn't play out the way that you had hoped.


Dia Bondi  49:12

Tell us about the institute. I


Abby Davisson  49:15

knew that when I left my job to launch the book, I wanted to do something entrepreneurial for my next career move. I'd spent decades as a W two employee and I was feeling the pole of entrepreneurship. But I didn't know what the business was going to look like. So I was paying attention. As we were launching this book and we spoke and we went to New York, we went to London and Paris and all over. We were fortunate enough to be able to do a big tour. And I was paying attention to who would come up to us afterwards. And you know, I noticed that a number of people who came up to us were experts, some in the financial services industry, some in you know real estate architecture. It was a range but they were people who get hired for their technical expertise, but who end up acting as de facto therapists, because all of the big decisions they help their clients with have a component of money, and a component of love. And so the institute is designed to take the tools and the frameworks and elements of the book, the research in the book, and equip experts with the ways to help their clients make more deliberate high stakes decisions that leave them feeling happier, more prosperous, and more fulfilled. So


Dia Bondi  50:36

essentially, is it like, if I am a consultant who ends up doing a lot of coaching for my client, or, as you say, sort of default therapy, I can get sort of certified in this methodology and bring these tools forward to my clients? Exactly.


Abby Davisson  50:49

You can license the tools, we are working with a wealth advisor, for example, where we trained all their advisors in the frameworks, their licensing the tools, they're essentially helping their clients make big life decisions in a way that is research based, and that makes their advisors feel that they are equipped to confidently navigate those conversations. Beautiful.


Dia Bondi  51:15

I mean, talk about managing family wealth is money tied up with love. Big stuff, heavy things. Absolutely.


Abby Davisson  51:25

And so yeah, I'm excited because I know how much of this has changed my own life. I've seen it, you know, 1000s of students have gone through this class that the book is was inspired by, and my co author is still getting notes from people decades later, saying nothing else in school prepared me for life like this course. And so we're trying to make sure that many, many more people have the opportunity to benefit from those tools.


Dia Bondi  51:54

Cool. So to wrap up, my question I love to ask is like, what is it for you Abby to lead with who you are? It's


Abby Davisson  52:01

to recognize that the personal and the professional are profoundly intertwined. To decide not slide into those decisions, and to feel aligned and living with integrity in everything that I do. Best


Dia Bondi  52:20

answer yet. Where can people find you? And what can they do with you, Abby?


Abby Davisson  52:24

So I have a newsletter, actually, that I just launched, called practically deliberate with Abby Davison. And so if you think probably the best place to find it is on LinkedIn, which is at Abby Davison and you can click and subscribe there. And we also have a book website, money, love There's a fun quiz you can take about your decision making style. And you can also subscribe to the newsletter there. All


Dia Bondi  52:52

right, excellent. It was a joy having you thank you so so so much, we're gonna make sure we share this far and wide.



Thank you so much, DIA. It's a pleasure to be here and good luck with your book launch.


Dia Bondi  53:01

Girl. I don't need luck I need I don't know what I need. But it's more than luck.


Abby Davisson  53:05

Yeah, caffeine.


Dia Bondi  53:07

Thanks so much. Lead With Who You Are is a production of Dia Bondi Communications and is scored mixed and produced by Arthur Leon Adams the third. Have a question or an inquiry? Reach out to us at You can like, share, rate and subscribe at Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your favorite shows. Go to for the show notes to find our tools, frameworks, content and programs to help you and your team speak powerfully and lead with who you are.

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