5 Steps to Decision Making

Indecisiveness is a productivity and creativity killer.  It often leads to a syndrome known as analysis paralysis.  Fear of choosing the wrong thing, making the wrong decision is at the root of the problem for many people. And then there's overthinking.  It too can cause paralysis.

There are some simple steps that can be taken to alleviate the stress of having to make decisions.  The more important the decision, the more important it is to consider getting some input from highly trusted mentors/friends.  Consider the following:


1. Stay Calm and Keep Emotions in Check

As difficult as this may seem, it is important not to get too emotional in the decision making process.  When the first impression is one of great excitement over a potential windfall, there is a tendency to have a "blind eye" to taking a balanced look. It can be very difficult to keep any biases in check as the thought processes are engaged to make the best decision.

In some cases the need to make a decision might arouse fear.   What if I make the wrong decision? What if something better comes along after I've made the decision? The "what if" game has to be fought off as it is a natural tendency to extrapolate into a worse case scenario.

Sometimes, it is raw excitement that takes over and clouds judgement.  When something is wanted so badly it is possible to avoid thinking about any cons of a decision.  The pros are easy to find and multiply quickly leading to mentally overriding the cons almost immediately.

2. Ensure You Have All Necessary Information

If there is a possibility of regretting a decision made, it usually comes from not having all the information at the time of making the decision.  This is to be avoided at all costs.  How do we do that when we don't know what we don't know?

Use the 4 questions of Cartesian Logic.  They are: What would happen if you did?  What would happen if you did not? What wouldn't happen if you did? What wouldn't happen if you did not?  In the process of answering these questions you would quickly determine if you had sufficient information.  Then with that information to work from you would begin the search to find out what you do not know.  Discussions with others might prompt questions which you cannot answer and will need to seek out.

3. Seek the Counsel of a Mentor or Coach

One of the best things you can do for your success is to have a mentor or a coach.  Ask any person who is successful at what you wish to be successful at, if they have someone who is their mentor or coach.  Nearly 100% of the time they will tell you they do.

Because they will have walked the path you wish to walk, they will have a very unique perspective.  Their feedback and advice will be invaluable. The are likely to be the first to see any potholes and provide a solution for you to avoid them.  What they tell you may very well be sufficient for you to make a decision without taking any other steps.

4. Consider The Impact On Others

There are two major types of decisions. One is a decision that impacts your life but has little to no impact on your family, friends, or community.  In this case, the weight of your decision pretty much rests on you.  An example would be deciding if you wish to make an internal transfer from one department to another where time and salary remain the same.  It is easy to have those kinds of discussions purely for an outsiders considered opinion if you so choose. There is absolutely no obligation.

However,  on the other hand there are are decisions that would require much discussion primarily with family and some who are close enough to be considered like family.  In the latter cases, it is important to present all the information you have as to what impact you decision would have on them.  Getting their feedback may be the most important part of your decision making depending on the degree of impact.

This is not to be taken lightly.  In order to avoid regrets down the line for any undesirable or devastating outcomes all stakeholders need to be included.  It is possible that many one on one discussions will reveal more feedback and at other times, a group discussion is best.  Oddly enough, that in itself might be the first decision to be made.

5. Be Committed to the Decision

Some marriages have failed simply because one or both partners are not 100% committed. Perhaps that is because of the fear that it isn't going to work out and they don't want to be hurt.  Not giving 100% may be the very reason why it fails.

Decisions need to be made and once given the commitment must be made. If you cannot do that, then you are not ready to make the decision.  Keep in mind though, the old adage that says, making a wrong decision is worse than making no decision.  This is true.  The next best statement is, once a decision is made, be totally committed to it.  Give it all you've got until you find yourself faced with a new decision.

That's it.  Follow these 5 steps and take the indecisiveness out of your mental habits.  Find what works for you, then rinse and repeat.  The habit of indecisiveness will soon be a thing of that past.

Finding a coach who is a good fit for you is what makes for long term improvement.  As a Certified Coach, I would like to offer you a free half hour consultation.  Simply go to the contact page and fill out the form: I will reach out within 24 hours to set up a time to connect.