The Truth About Being More Decisive
Moving forward is impossible when you’re perpetually waffling. That’s why there are significant advantages to being more decisive. Not only is struggling to make decisions a time waster, it’s a confidence stealer!
Indecision is normal when facing a particularly difficult decision, but when you find yourself incapable of making even small decisions, it’s an indication that something is amiss that needs attention like…
- Fear – being afraid of failure, making a mistake, hurting someone’s feelings, responsibility, letting people down, your Fear Monster, etc.
- Perfectionism and/or procrastination
- Being disconnected from your thoughts and feelings
- Not trusting your gut
- Insecurity or a lack of confidence
- A scarcity mentality
- Being a people pleaser
- Perpetually analyzing, researching, and worrying
- Laziness – making a decision might mean work
- People pressure – society, co-workers, your tribe, or peers
- Overload – trying to do too much
- Stress, anxiety, or depression
- Being co-dependent
- Too many options or believing there is only one right answer
- Decisions seeming more critical or important than they really are
- Having over protective parents – not getting the chance to practice making decisions
Now, maybe you consider yourself a decisive person and are wondering how this applies to you. I get that! I’m normally a decisive person as well, but there are moments when making a choice is hard, especially when there’s a lot riding on that decision, or perhaps you believe there’s a lot riding on it.
For example, in the past I’ve agonized over choosing the right image for a blog or a webinar. Because I wanted the right image – the one people would be attracted to. I would email the image to several people to get their take, only to discover that everyone preferred a different image. That would only make me feel even more unsure. Not begin decisive was a colossal waste of time.
These days, rather than trying to choose the “right” image, I’ve been trusting my gut and going for it. Turns out, all the overthinking wasn’t necessary. It’s taught me to not sweat the small stuff and reserve my energy for more major decisions.
Now that might seem like a silly decision to be indecisive about, but I am certain there are decisions you’ve been putting off too!
So, what’s the trick to being more decisive?
1. Become More Aware
It’s nearly impossible to make decisions when you don’t really know what you want personally or professionally. Or if you don’t know what’s missing or what needs to be eliminated in your life. Until you get crystal clear on YOU, making decisions will continue to keep you spinning.
As you are seeking to become more aware, it’s helpful to determine what your values and priorities are. Resist the urge to spread yourself too thin by trying to make everything a priority. Instead, focus on no more than three priorities.
When you notice yourself hesitating to make a decision, pay attention! Take the time to discover what’s behind the resistance. If you are having trouble identifying what’s causing the indecision, ask yourself “why” until you get to the bottom of it. Here’s what I discovered about my image waffling…
- Why I am hesitating to choose an image? Because I want to be sure I pick the right image.
- Why does picking the right image matter to me? Because I want them to attract people to my blog or webinar.
- Why does it matter if people are attracted to my blog or webinar? Because I want to connect with my ideal client.
- Why do I want to connect with my ideal client? So that I can help people THRIVE personally and professionally and reach my goals.
- Why do I want to help people THRIVE and reach my goals? Because I’m passionate about coaching and helping people get where they want to be and I want to contribute financially to my family.
Conclusion: if I don’t pick the “right” image, it will keep me from getting new clients and helping people. That’s making a simple image far too powerful! Images are important, but in the grand scheme of things they are not a make or break. The truth is that my success as a coach is not riding on my choice of images.
2. Face Your Fears
Fear is a part of life, but do you ignore fear when it shows up? Another way to unravel my “image indecision” is to say that I am afraid that if I don’t choose the right image, I won’t succeed. Now when it’s down on paper like that it sounds pretty crazy, but in reality, fear often prevents us from making decisions. Don’t ignore those fears. Muster up the courage to face them and I promise fear will shrink!
Your fears might be related to your Fear Monster, or you might fear things like failure, success, losing something you love, looking foolish, missing out, making a mistake, or _______.
Don’t allow fear to control your life. Instead, rise up and take charge; choose to rely on God and do your part. That’s what leading yourself well boils down to.
You were made for more than bowing to fear.
3. Eliminate Small Decisions
You probably make a thousand decisions every day! To snooze or not to snooze. What time to get up, what to wear, what kind of workout you’ll do, how you will spend time with God. That’s just hours into the day!
Habits and routines are fantastic ways to help you reduce the number of decisions you make in a day. Once you make the decision to create a morning, evening, and perhaps a work routine, you’ll free up space in your head to focus on more weighty decisions. And once a routine is in place it’s easy to adjust and to accommodate the inevitable disruptions.
Some even take this a step further by adopting a “uniform”. I know a business owner who only wears gray suits and blue shirts. It makes it really easy to pack when he travels for work – everything in his suitcase is mix and match!
4. Break Down Big Decisions
Some decisions loom large like…
- What’s the right job for me?
- Is this the person I want to marry?
- What’s the best car (house, church, dream, etc.)?
- Is it time to change careers?
- How will I decorate my new house?
- Is it time to go back to school?
- What’s the best way to plan for retirement?
When making big decisions, break them down into smaller decisions that are less daunting.
5. Stop Over-analyzing
When it comes to making decisions are you one to perpetually research and analyze the options? Learn to trust your gut more – you’ve got this! Trust me, all the worrying is doing you more harm than good! And, if you happen to make a mistake own it and learn from it! Mistakes are not as catastrophic as you might think. Remember, good enough is perfect!
6. Let Go!
You operate under the illusion that you can somehow control the situation by not making a decision. Unfortunately, not being decisive only keeps you stuck. Get more comfortable with the unknown and being uncertain and decide. Every decision opens the door to new opportunities!
Making decisions facilitates growth. Bosses, give your people the space to make decisions – it will make them more valuable. Parents, give your children the opportunity to practice making decisions (even big ones!) while they are still in the safety of your home.
8. Set a Bold Goal
Goals not only provide you with direction, but they also force you to practice making decisions.
9. Stop Asking for Reassurance
Asking for reassurance around your decisions undermines your confidence and leads to more indecision! That includes getting everyone’s opinion like I did with images. That’s actually a covert way of seeking reassurance. Each time you let someone else make decisions for you, it reinforces that you aren’t a capable decision maker.
On the flip side, when you make decisions and they go well you gain confidence. When they don’t go well, you learn, so either way you win!
What will you do to become a more decisive YOU?
I have a dear friend who is the first to say she feels paralyzed when making a decision. Many useful tips and insights here –I’m passing the post on to her.
For myself, building routines as you said, is very freeing. I am not employed outside the home, so I structure my own days, and maintaining those blocks of time devoted to specific tasks keeps me from having to decide what to do next.
Thanks for sharing the post with your friend April!
Routines are a great way to create structure in your day so that you can use your decision making powers for more important decisions.