How do you feel about making decisions, whether in life or in business?
Is it something that comes naturally to you? Or do you find yourself lost in a cycle of indecision over and over?
As a life coach, this is a topic pretty close to my heart which is why I want to talk about it in more depth today.
When people think of life coaching they tend to overcomplicate what it means, but essentially a big part of what I do is to help people make better decisions.
Because I know that for many of us, decision-making isn’t always as easy as a quick ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It often leads to days, weeks, months or even years of playing ‘what-if’ scenarios in our heads.
Why decision-making feels hard in business (and in life)
I think we all know how life can change dramatically in just a decision or two, which is exactly why we torture ourselves with options and retreat to the safety zone of indecision – even if it hinders our progress.
It’s a bit like snakes and ladders. If we make a bad decision, we worry we’ll slide all the way back down the snake and things will fall apart. Yet at the same time, we’re only a good decision away from climbing up the ladder to find our lives opening up with amazing possibilities.
Yet it’s that fear of making the wrong decision that paralyses us and keeps us stuck.
There’s some strong psychology behind this. To measure indecisiveness, psychologists use questionnaires such as the Frost Indecisiveness Scale that asks participants to rate a series of statements on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). These statements include:
- “I try to put off making decisions.”
- “I have a hard time planning my free time.”
- “I often worry about making the wrong choice.”
- “It seems that deciding on the most trivial thing takes me a long time.”
What they found is that indecisiveness is often a result of perfectionism. People with this trait are so afraid of making the wrong decision and regretting their actions that they keep putting off decision-making until they feel 100% ready (or never actually make the decision at all).
When combining the traits and expectations of a perfectionist with the stresses and processes of being an entrepreneur, it becomes a challenging mix. After all, there’s a lot at stake. With so many decisions to make that could impact business success, it’s totally normal to find yourself at times feeling completely overwhelmed and stuck at yet another fork in the road.
Why you shouldn’t always sleep on your business decisions
Any time you’ve been called to make a decision, whether in life or in business, I find there’s a 10-15 minute window where you can actually see things quite clearly and feel fairly confident about one choice over another.
But once those fifteen minutes have passed, doubt begins to cloud your thoughts. Throughout the day, more doubts emerge, and further arguments for either decision start to compete with each other. Your mind starts running in circles, turning each option inside out.
It doesn’t take long until you’re feeling utterly overwhelmed. By the end of the day, decision-making feels impossible, so you decide to sleep on it (if, of course, you can actually snatch a few hours of sleep with so many different thoughts battling it out in your head).
I’ve been in that position so many times. And the longer I put things off to “think more deeply” about a decision, the more options appear…and of course, the more overwhelming it gets.
For every day that we put off making a decision, we are said to be 50% less likely to make a decision altogether. Yet if we think about it, putting off a decision is a decision in itself. If we decide to keep “sleeping on it” rather than taking action, we have chosen a path of inaction.
How many great opportunities have we allowed to slip away by procrastinating? How many leaps forward have we held back from because the fear of failure has been too much?
Instead, we might find ourselves retreating. And as bold entrepreneurs, retreating is never the best option if we really want to push ourselves and our businesses forward.
How to turn decision-making into a learning opportunity
There’s a great quote by Mark Twain which says: “Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.”
And it’s such a refreshing way to look at decision-making. Essentially, Twain is saying that we can make great decisions over time, but even when a decision doesn’t turn out to be for the best, it’s still a valuable experience that we can learn from to get it right next time.
Decisions – both good and bad – play an essential part of our journey towards success.
In many of the self-help, wellbeing and personal development books that I’ve read, they’ve often driven home the message that a bad decision is better than indecision. And the above quote is exactly why. Even with a bad decision, you’re committing yourself to a certain path and can gain the learnings you need to move both you and your business forward.
This doesn’t happen with indecision. Indecision causes nothing but overwhelm and often regret. Remember, any decision you make will always be better than being stuck.
Decisions are a powerful way to move us forward.
How to use your ‘knowing’ to make faster decisions
As I mentioned earlier, one of the things I do as a business and life coach is to help people make better decisions. So now I’d like to share something which I hope will help you make better decisions today – whether that’s a big decision for your business or just a small habit in your daily life you’re mulling over in your mind.
Recently, I was deep-diving on the habits of billionaires. One thing I learned was that the most successful make decisions fast by trusting a core knowing, which is what I want you to get familiar with now. Here’s how you can do it.
Become aware of your indecision
So for now, I’d love for you to take a moment, wherever you are, and close your eyes. Take a slow breath in, hold it in and let it out slowly. Let your shoulders drop. Release tension. Really feel into yourself and turn your awareness to any areas where perhaps you’ve got stuck recently. Perhaps you have a decision to make right now. Or perhaps it was a decision long ago that you never made.
Where have you been stuck before? Where are you stuck right now?
Face up to your fears
What fears are you feeling at the moment? At the root of our indecision, there’s often a deep sense of fear.
Fear of getting it wrong. Fear of losing something. Perhaps a fear of being less than perfect.
I want you to just acknowledge that fear, then gently push it aside with the knowledge that whether you make a good decision or a bad one, it’s ultimately going to serve you on your journey and push you forward. This is your ‘knowing’.
Start small if you need to and build up from there. Jot down any little decisions that come to you. By starting small, you can learn to build your confidence and get used to making faster decisions before you have to face the big ones.
Make the decision right now
The decision could be as simple as a food that you’ve been eating that you know doesn’t serve you and that you know you need to change.
Maybe you’ve been stressed lately and find yourself reaching for junk food every night for comfort. Or maybe you’re rushed off your feet and not making time to prepare healthy food, instead turning to convenience meals that leave you feeling lethargic. Decide now to make a healthy swap or to make time in your week to do some food prep. What could you swap out in your week to make time for it? Commit yourself to that decision.
Or perhaps there’s a much-needed conversation with somebody that you need to have. but it feels a little uncomfortable. You know you should pluck up the courage to take action, but you’ve been finding endless excuses to put it off. Make that decision now to pick up the phone and talk.
Or perhaps you’ve been toying with the idea of studying something you’re interested in but don’t know whether you should go for it. Perhaps you’re afraid that you’ll fail, or won’t enjoy it, or won’t have time. Sign up for that course and give it a go anyway.
Whatever it might be, make that decision right now. The decision might not work out, but you’ll have learned from it. Or, in a best case scenario, the decision might be one of the greatest ones you’ve ever made and you’ll propel yourself forward. The conversation you’ve been putting off could go amazingly. The course you’ve been putting off signing up to might open up exciting opportunities.
But these outcomes only happen by taking action. Indecision will keep you stuck where you are right now.
For now, feel the fear and do it anyway.
Do you need help making better decisions in life and business?
I really hope this post has helped give you the clarity and confidence you need to start taking action and making decisions with confidence.
I’m a massive believer that each of us has the wisdom we need within us and a wealth of experiences that can help inform our decision-making. I also think it’s key to take time out to reflect on certain decisions we’ve made, the wisdom we gained from them and how they impacted us in the long run. Today, take some time to reflect on your own moments of indecision and try to imagine what could have been different had you made the choices you were faced with.
There are some decisions that need a little more work to feel comfortable with and often, a little bit of support can help build your confidence to take action. If there’s a big business or life decision that you’re grappling with right now, I’m ready to support you. I’ve helped so many like you to overcome these challenges so they can move forward and flourish.
Get in touch and I’d love to chat through how we could work together to make the process so much easier for you.
And if you do make a decision today, take time to reflect on it in a few weeks and let me know how things have worked out for you. I’d love to hear about it.