The decision making process is never easy, but it doesn't have to hold you back to the point where you can't make any decision at all.
We've all fallen into the trap of ruminating over what to do, where we end up second-guessing ourselves, even after we've made a decision. Research shows that overthinkers believe they're helping themselves by re-hashing their problems in their heads. With this mindset, even the simplest of decisions can feel like the end of the world.
Decision making comes down to taking responsibility for your life. In the words of Tony Robbins, “Your life changes the moment that you make a new, committed and congruent decision.”
Are you tired of living in a state of indecision? If so, I've got 7 ways that will empower you to make BIG decisions in your life so that you can take massive action.
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Problem-solving and decision making are critical skills for business and life.
The decisions that we make determine how we live our lives. Think about how many decisions you make every day, from the moment that you wake up, to the moment that you go to sleep.
If you want to become a successful entrepreneur or leader in any field, you need to be able to make clear, calm and rational decisions. Lynne Shaw, a business neuroscientist, says it is important that “Everyone in your team is able to make decisions quickly and skillfully…if you or your people hesitate for too long, money can be lost and morale can plummet.”
The types of decisions that we need to make vary in importance. However, every decision is associated with a consequence, whether it's positive or negative in nature. A lot of people make decisions unconsciously. As a result, they end up suffering. This is no way to live, which is why it's important to make the right choices.
Now, deciding whether or not you are going to eat an apple or an orange isn't going to drastically impact how your life. However, big decisions have the power to change your reality in a heartbeat.
If decisions are so important, then why do so many people struggle with them? Decision making comes down to making up your mind about something. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are inundated with choices. Every aspect of our daily lives requires that we choose something. The result? A lot of people end up wasting precious time and energy worrying about making decisions, leaving them in a chronic state of indecision.
In Barry Schwartz’s book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, he suggests that while choice is a vital part of autonomy and fundamental to our well-being, too much choice has a cost. Our obsession with it contributes to bad decisions, anxiety, stress, dissatisfaction, and analysis paralysis.
It's not that you don't know how to make decisions. Rather, it's that you are worried that you will make the wrong decision because there are so many choices to choose from.
This is exhausting, right? Keep in mind that no decision is ever perfect. As Pearl Zhu says: “It is often said that a wrong decision taken at the right time is better than a right decision taken at the wrong time.” If you are not taking risks that means that you are choosing to play it safe. In this space, there are very few decisions that can be made.
I'm not saying that you should rush making big decisions, but if you are obsessing about the decision making process, to the point where you aren't moving forward, then you are only procrastinating. Yes, decisions have consequences, which are sometimes unbeknownst to us at the time that we are making them. However, if you don't take a chance and try, how will you ever know?
Research confirms that the human brain is hard-wired to confirm biases, overweight the importance of recent information, and run with the herd. Just because we think something, doesn't mean that we have to believe it to be true. In order to make better decisions, we need to learn how to slow down our thought processes so that we can adequately decipher what is true or false. By getting out of our own way, we are able to take the best route possible and move into something else.
We all know that when it comes to making big decisions, being indecisive can wreak havoc on our mental and emotional state. Questions like…
- Should I move cities?
- Which job offer should I take?
- Should I get a divorce or work on my marriage?
- Should I go to university or take the entrepreneurial route?
Life is so unpredictable. We cannot ever be 100% sure that we are making the BEST decision. However, whenever I've had to make big decisions in my life, I've learned that it's helpful to go through a step-by-step decision making process. Doing so allows me to weigh the evidence, examine alternatives, and choose the best path that serves my highest self.
Here are 7 ways that you can improve your decision making process.
1. Know What Your Values Are
I believe that we should always make decisions based on our values. When you know what is most important to you, you feel empowered to make decisions that will guide you in the right direction. Alignment is the name of the game. However, you want to determine what the hierarchy of your values are so that you know what to give priority to.
The most successful people in this world are able to make decisions quickly because they know what their values are, which ensures that they never veer far from their path. If you are struggling to make a decision about something ask yourself if the decision is aligned with your highest value. If it isn't, you will have a better understanding of where the resistance is coming from.
2. Get Clear On Your Goals
When it comes to making big decisions, you've got to be crystal clear about what you want and why you want it. What are your goals, and what is the final outcome that you desire? People get into trouble because they lose sight of the reasons why they are making a decision in the first place. If you don't know, you won't follow through and take action.
In his book, Decisions, Decisions: The Art of Effective Decision Making, David Welch explains that “People who aren't self-reflective are going to end up making bad decisions because they don't really know what they want in the first place.” When you know what your outcome is, it will direct all of your energy towards that one thing.
3. Don't Dwell On “The Perfect” Option
Despite what people may say, there are no perfect options when it comes to making decisions. How many times have you been stuck in a cycle of figuring out what the ideal decision looks like, to the point where nothing happens at all?
If we wait for the perfect decision, we will miss out on a lot of opportunities in life. The focus isn't on being perfect. Rather, it's about making progress. I'm a big believer that it's better to make any decision than no decision at all.
When it comes to making choices, it's important to realize that there is no right or wrong decision. All that we can do is make the best decision that we can, based on the information that we have. It's that simple.
4. Embrace The Possibility Of Failure
When we are trying to make a decision, oftentimes our inner critic pops into our heads and tells us all of the reasons why making THIS decision could result in failure. Ring a bell? If you want to become skilled at decision making, you need to embrace the possibility of failure.
Failure is a normal part of life. If you aren't failing, you aren't trying. It is your opportunity to grow and learn from your mistakes so that you can make more intelligent decisions in the future. You can't avoid failure and the more that you try, the more frustrated you will get. Instead, focus on what you have control over. Always make decisions from a place of clarity and intention, instead of fear.
5. Seek Help
Whenever I make important decisions in my life, I always seek out help. I believe that all of us need a support network of people in our lives that we can turn to when we are struggling to make a decision. This could be in the form of a coach, friend, mentor, advisory board or a mastermind group. The people that know and care about you will always have your best interest at heart.
Sometimes the decision making process can leave us in a state of analysis paralysis. Getting advice from others can lead you in a direction that you may not have thought about, had it not have been for their feedback. They will look at your situation with a new set of eyes and offer a fresh perspective. They will notice your blind spots, which you may not be able to see because you are so entrenched in your story.
If you decide to get advice from someone, make sure that his or her values are aligned with yours so that you aren't swayed off track. Ask for advice from the people that you respect and admire the most. This may mean that you have to financially invest in advice, but it's worth it, especially if you feel stuck making a big life decision that could transform your life.
6. Take Action
Deciding on something is JUST the beginning. Decisions mean nothing if you don't take action. Without it, we are left floundering in a sea of preparation, thinking that we have made progress when really we haven't. Once you have decided to follow through on a decision, you must stay committed to it.
However, when it comes to achieving your goals, sometimes you will have to be flexible in the approach that you take. Why? Because life is constantly changing, which means that we won't always get the ideal situation that we prepared for. External and internal obstacles to taking action will arise.
In order to get past these hurdles, it will require that you have an unwavering belief in yourself and your goals. How bad do you want success? In the words of Tony Robbins, “Making a decision puts you in control. When you allow others to make decisions for you, you lose that control. You are the author of your own story. Don’t let others steal your pen.”
7. Don't Look Back
Now that you've traveled through the entire decision making process, it's time to keep moving forward. Don't look back because you aren't going that way. Don't get caught in the trap of figuring out whether or not you made the right decision. Trust yourself. If you let your mind get the best of you, it will only cause you stress. When you commit to not backing out of a decision that you made, you will be happier as a result.
These steps will allow you to make more thoughtful and informed decisions that serve your highest self.
Every single day we are faced with situations in life that call upon us to make choices. Our lives are defined based on the decisions that we make, which is why it's so important that we choose wisely. Decisions that appear to be the most difficult are the ones that have the power to change our lives because they define who we are.
What BIG decision are you ready to make today?
Are you ready to learn how to master the art of decision making? CLICK HERE to join my Life Mastery Accelerator program!
Do you want to learn 3 tips on how you can kick the bad habit of indecisiveness? CLICK HERE to read the article that I wrote on Medium!