Do you break into a sweat when you have to make a decision? Do you go round and round, unable to pull the trigger on a decision? As girl bosses we are faced with TONS of decisions on a daily basis. So….
Let me share a story with you about the importance of decision making…..
A kid walked into a candy store with his dad and was bedazzled by the array of treats on offer.
“What should I choose? What should I choose? What should I choose?” He asked himself.
“Come on son, we don’t have all day,” his dad said.
“These are my favorites. No wait, these are my favorites.”
He walked along the aisles, picking up bags and putting them back.
He just couldn’t make up his mind.
“Quick son, make up your mind, we have to go,” His impatient dad said.
Frantically, the boy ran around the store, his eyes moving from one shelf to another, but all of the options looked so good and he couldn’t make a decision.
Eventually, the dad had enough, grabbed his son by the hand and they walked out of the store empty-handed. The young boy had tears in his eyes. He wanted them all, but ended up with nothing because he couldn’t choose just one.
We are all that boy and the world we live in is that candy store.
We have an endless array of options available to us, but if we fail to make a decision, we too can end up empty-handed. We need to make decisions concerning our work life, our family, our home life, our relationships, our money, where we live, and on and on.
And way too often we worry about making the wrong choice. The possibility of regretting our decision instills fear and uncertainty in us. But we need to recognize that the bigger regret will be if we make no decision at all, because this will keep us stuck without any forward mobility. Choosing to do nothing, to not make a decision, is actually a decision in and of itself. The danger is that it usually leaves the outcome to chance. And wouldn’t you rather be the CEO of your life, rather than letting chance take the reins?
There is no denying that for so many of us, making decisions is a toughie. Yes Girlbosses, the struggle is REAL! And it often doesn’t matter if the decision is a life-changing kind or a minor one like what you will order at a restaurant. But here is the question and topic for today: Why is it that some people struggle with this so much, while others make it look easy? And, what techniques can you use to improve your decision making skills?
LET’S DIVE IN BOSS GALS.
Whenever we are faced with a decision—especially an important life-changing decision—the first course of action needs to be information gathering. Find out as much as you can. Research, research, research. Know the facts, get online and dig into the topic so that you know all the factors. Now in this tech-savvy world that we live in, we can quickly get information overload so be careful to not get bogged down with too many facts that you feel overwhelmed and even more confused. You will need to prioritize the information and filter some of your sources. Choose those with the most credibility.
In some cases, talking to a friend or acquaintance who might be able to offer more insight can be helpful, especially if you trust them and they know you well. However, there is one thing to watch out for. Don’t simply ask, “what would you decide?” That is not helpful, because they are not you. What would be helpful is to ask something like, “I know you went through something similar—what should I look into or what should I question when making my decision? Were there things that were unforeseen or unexpected that came up for you? What was your experience like and were you happy with the outcome?”
The difference with these types of questions is that you are not asking them to make a decision for you. Instead, you are gathering valuable information from a reliable source that may have gone through it. It’s also helpful because it gives you a different perspective. Sometimes we are too close to the problem, and another viewpoint can balance us out.
One of the best ways to make a decision is to tune into your gut. This is your internal instinct. There are times that I am faced with a decision, and though I’ve researched it fully, I’m still uncertain. When this happens, I always check in with my body. But here is the tricky part. Your intuition and fear can feel oddly similar, so it’s important to learn how to distinguish the two. And it is absolutely possible to fine tune and improve your ability to discern what your intuition is telling you when faced with a decision.
I have three very clear ways that I use to decipher what my “gut” is telling me. These will work just as well for you.
The first is to listen to the voice in your head. Now if the voice is high pitched, anxious, and talking a bit fast, then for me I know this is my voice of fear. This is my worrier. And I’m telling you that sometimes I want to just duct tape its mouth shut! This voice is scared to fail, wants more certainty, and is hesitant to take the leap when it comes to a big decision. Yup, that is the worrier.
On the other hand, if the voice is low, deep, calm, and steady, then this I know to be my intuitive voice. This voice is my gut speaking to me. This is the voice of wisdom and certainty. This voice feels grounded and centered. This is the voice I really want to hear.
Another tip is to quiet your mind so that you can better hear your inner voice. When you are able to quiet the chaos in your head, and quiet the chatter of over-thinking your decision, your intuition will surface.
Ok…We’ve established that listening to the voice in your head is the first way to decipher what your intuition is telling you. Now for the second, I check in with my physical body. I ask myself, what does it feel like if I make this decision. I imagine all the potential outcomes, and I observe how my body responds to each. If I feel a pit in my stomach, or a tightening in my chest, or a sense of constriction—then that is my intuition saying it is not the right way to go.
On the other hand, if I feel lighter, a sense of expansion, an ease in breathing, and a calmness in my stomach, then I know my intuition is telling me that this is the better choice. Your body will always react to everything, and sometimes with a quicker response than your mind would have. While you are trying to go through the logic and the rationale in order to make a decision, your body already has the answer.
Have you ever had that feeling in your stomach even before you know what it’s about? I get this all the time. Sometimes my stomach will get that pit…that sinking feeling..or it will feel like it’s in a knot. (My daughter says that is when she feels like an avocado with the pit!) And then I have to ask myself, “what’s this feeling about?” So this really works both ways, you may get the feeling first and then clarify it by thinking it through, or you may have to think about potential outcomes and that will trigger a physical response.
My third tip for making sound decisions in a timely manner is to check in with your life vision. I always talk about the importance of having a life plan, a vision for your BEST and most exceptional life. If you have a clear picture of what that life looks like, it is an invaluable guide for all future decisions. When I am faced with a choice, I evaluate it in terms of how it fits into the vision I have created. Will it get me closer to my BEST life? Is it aligned with my life vision or does it throw me off course and threaten the possibility of achieving my goals and desires? When there is a solid vision in place, you can use it as a guide for making decisions.
One thing to watch out for Girl Bosses….Don’t get lost in paralysis by analysis. That is where you overthink the decision to the point of overwhelm, and you are unable to make a decision. This is the moment when too many people falter. They are so worried about making the wrong decision, that they make no decision at all. It is necessary to make decisions, there is no way around it. And sometimes, you may feel like you aren’t fully certain, or that if you wait maybe you will get more information to analyze. But this paralysis is unhealthy, stressful, and will held you back from real success. Avoiding the decision does not set you on the path towards success or real happiness. It keeps you in limbo where you are not really the captain of your own ship. By not making a decision, you allow for the possibility that it will be decided for you, and that may be the worst possible outcome. You need to make the very best possible decision with the information that you have at hand.
And finally, once you have made the decision, whatever you do—do not look back and question it. Second guessing yourself can become an obsession that causes you to spin in circles. We as women tend to ruminate much longer on decisions. Seriously it’s in the science of our genetic makeup. But ruminating is usually NOT helpful, not productive, and highly stressful. It causes you to question yourself, lower your self-esteem and confidence, and stay incredibly stuck!
If you have checked in with all three of the strategies I have laid out, then you are in good shape. You used the information from the external world by “information gathering.” And, you have also checked in with yourself internally for further guidance. So don’t look back. No regrets! Give yourself the peace of mind to positively accept your decision, be confident in it, and move on to the next decision that will inevitably present itself. These strategies will empower you to make solid, well-thought-out decisions that lead straight to your unstoppable success. That’s how you do it Boss Lady!
So until next time, stay inspired, make some stellar decisions, and keep on crushing it!