Our decisions define our existence. When you didn’t go to Paris for that job, when you decided to start exercising before work, when you bought your house instead of renting, you made choices that altered your life to get you where you are today. For some people, the reality of those choices are heavy. For others, they are exhilarating. Regardless, most people look at the major decisions in their lives as milestones in how they tell their personal story.
So it’s important to understand how you feel about decision making if it’s something you struggle with. Do you avoid them? Fight them? See them as a necessary evil? Are you so worried about making sure everyone else is ok that you rarely make a decision for yourself? Maybe you see decisions as a way of finding new opportunities and getting to the next best thing. Maybe you make them off the cuff, willy nilly, giving as much thought to what you’ll eat for breakfast as to what city you’ll live in next. Figure out where you sit with your decision making and if you vary on your approach depending on the different parts of your life.
Start exploring the idea of swift and powerful decision making. Understand that we’re really good at making weak choices. Should I wear light or dark jeans today? Should I listen to music or a podcast? These decisions don’t have a huge effect on our lives so we don’t spend much time dwelling on either outcome. We also tend to practice taking a very long time making what we perceive as a hard decision in our lives. We hem and haw about whether or not we should take a new job, buy that expensive plane ticket, go back to school for that degree. But here’s the thing. In order to create success, you need to practice powerful and swift decision making. You need to get better about just making a decision, owning it and seeing where it will take you next.
This isn’t to say you should spontaneously make decisions off the cuff. It just means if you want to, say, buy a house, you make a plan and then make it happen. Instead of being like, “Um, maybe I’ll do this?” You just do it.
The reason people often struggle with this is the perceived potential risk in major decisions. We are afraid of what might happen or what we might lose. Instead of approaching these decisions with fear, we have an opportunity to find ways to alleviate a potential risk in these situations by reframing the choice. For instance, if you hate your job and want to quit, ask yourself are you willing to risk a lower amount of pay or a lesser title and is the potential of that better or worse than your current situation? What if in doing so you find a better job with better pay and a more attractive title? Very quickly, you’ve changed the question from should I quit and fail to should I make a decision that could help my career in the long run? Once you change your inner dialogue, the answer is much easier to find.
Analyzing perceived costs such as above will help you mitigate the risks involved in decision making. Instead of fighting or avoiding a decision, choose instead to evaluate the pros and cons of a choice and then lean into upper level opportunities instead of the perceived fears associated with your decision. Ask yourself is this inspired or fearful based on information that hasn’t happened yet? Perhaps the best way to approach decisions is to ask, what would I do if I wasn’t afraid of failing? How would I act?
Regardless of what decision you make, know that it was the right one because you chose it and made it your own. Even if it was the ‘wrong’ choice, it will lead you to a path of learning and learning means changing and changing means growing. And to grow is to create success.