Decision making: that pesky little thing we’re forced to practice over and over, and yet, it never seems to become any easier.
A belief that makes decision making just a little bit easier for me: I believe there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to decision making.
There might be good and bad decisions – based on beliefs and morals. But there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to decision making.
This episode is dedicated to helping empower you to make decisions, knowing that every decision is helping you uncover the path you’re meant to be on.
The consequences of resisting decision making
I’m not a psychologist.
I’m not a trained coach.
I don’t “study” mindset or pretend to know everything about when or how to make good decisions.
What I am is a normal human being who has spent way too many years putting off making decisions – second-guessing decisions – being afraid of making decisions – because I fear I’ll be wrong. I fear I’ll make a decision that won’t net the results I know I want.
I fear I’ll make a decision that will be judged by others as “the wrong one”.
But about 5 years ago I realized something pretty huge: by not making decisions, by not stepping into my strength, knowledge, confidence… I was walking through life invisible.
I was living small.
I was missing out on opportunities only I could create.
Decision making is YOU writing YOUR own story
Lesson learned: Don’t put the responsibility of your life in someone else’s hands. Never give away your voice, your power, your strength to someone else and allow them to be the writer of YOUR story.
Only you can do that.
Before I launched into this episode and post, I decided to go on a little fact-finding mission. So I guess you could say I’ve done my homework when it comes to decision-making.
Turns out, making decisions is my best worst strength.
But when I researched the process our minds go through when making decisions, I realized that every single step – individually – is one I’m GREAT at.
…except for the last one: making the decision.
After going through 5 or 6 different posts on the topic, I found that the most common decision making process is pretty obvious:
1. Evaluate the problem / the choice at hand
2. Brainstorm options, maybe make a pros / cons list
3. Research alternatives
4. Choose the best way forward
I’m REALLY good at the first 3 things. In fact, at times I’ve even considered whether I’m too good at them.
1. I evaluate the you-know-what out of problems and choices I have to make. I obsess over them.
2. Brainstorming options? Yep – I’ve got that one down PRO-style, because I literally will EXHAUST options. I come up with options that the options didn’t even know existed…
3. And research. Oh yes. I love approaching most decisions with the worst scenario in mind. I like to poke holes in every potential outcome in order to back into my decision — if that makes any sense?…
And step #4 – ah yes… this is where I’ve always broken down, shied away, become small…
Maybe it’s because they make it sound so easy, and I know it’s NOT easy.
Maybe it’s because they say “the best way forward” instead of “just move forward”.
Of course the next step is to make the decision, but why does it have to be “the best way” forward? Would it be so much easier to make decisions if you knew you could choose a way forward?
Moving forward through decision making
For me, it’s about moving forward.
Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. Only decisions.
And after I read all the things about the process we go through when making decisions – the steps our minds take – I dove into a bit of the psychology around it.
*Important reminder: I’m not a psychologist, and I’m not a trained coach.
When looking into the psychology around it – by way of a book called Decisive by Chip & Dan Heath – I realized some really interesting stuff.
Like how our brains – once we’ve made up our mind about something – will seek out everything around us that will support or prove our belief, all the while ignoring anything that might prove us wrong.
Or how we create opinions and actually make choices based on biases, emotions, and our own memories from past experiences.
I’d love to dive a lot deeper into the process and the psychology of decision making, but for purposes of focusing on this episode’s topic, I’ll leave this with you as food for thought.
Food for thought: Is there a right or wrong answer?
There is no such thing as a right or wrong answer.
A decision is a vehicle to help you take action, and taking action is the only way you move forward. It’s the only way you live life.
Refusing to make a decision is like taking a pause on life. It’s an excuse that strips you of:
- A voice
- Power, and
…and without a voice, responsibility, power, and confidence, what do you have left?
Absolutely zero potential for change.
Is that how you want to live your life? Void of all the things that make it exciting – that empower you to live how YOU want to live?
My guess is there are positive changes you want to make in your life. There are big goals and dreams you want to fulfill that are just waiting for you to take action – to make a decision.
And if you’ve struggled with decision making in the same way I have, then I know you need to hear this message.
You might believe that there are right or wrong answers when it comes to decision making. Or that there is a best way forward. Whatever you believe, I encourage you to find different ways of approaching decision making that allows you to become a better, more confident decision maker.
I know that’s my goal.
This isn’t going to be easy. But this is your life.