Decisions. Every day. A million decisions. When to get up? What to wear? What to have for breakfast? How to motivate the kids? How to schedule the day? Who to ask about the project? And the list goes on. Most of those decisions we make quickly and easily, almost automatically. Occasionally big decisions stop us in our tracks. We feel paralyzed to take the next step. Below are five things I’m learning to do in the face of big decisions.
Just do It
In that paralysis, it’s important to remember there is never just one answer. When we have multiple options, believing that one is better than the other may keep us stuck. On a menu, we can choose the salad, the soup, the sandwich — each are good options for different reasons. You cannot choose the wrong thing. (If there was only one way to do it, we’d all be dead by now, right?) If you are looking for a job, a new home, a tribe, nothing is un-do-able. This mentality of “what if it’s the wrong decision?” hangs us in a place where we make no decision. The only wrong decision is not making one at all. Follow Nike’s lead and just do it. The course can be adjusted as we go.
In moments where the decision is large and looming a knee jerk decision is never our best decision. Slowing the process down, purposely taking some time to think, lends itself to better decisions. Taking the time needed to reflect on priorities, goals, values and allowing our minds to truly percolate can bring clarity. Just breathe.
Set a Time Limit
The other side of that coin is we can all get paralyzed by analyzing. Setting a time limit to move the processalong keeps us from sitting in the restaurant for two hours deciding what to order. The same principle works for big, tough decisions. Give yourself two weeks and then do it. Or take the last 15 minutes of a staff meeting and say we are going to make a decision in the next 15 minutes. Time limits can help us with the just do it strategy.
Be true to yourself
Advice can be found on every corner. All decisions large or small need to reflect your values. Everyone has an idea about what you need to be doing. Do not go against who you are at your core. That will always be a decision you regret. For me, if I’m really wrestling with something and can’t find an answer, it’s usually because what I’ve been told to do and who I am are at odds. Always err on the who I am side — I learned that the hard way.
It’s about being not doing
What you do isn’t as important as who you do it with. Digging ditches with a group of fun, trustworthy, kind people will always be more fulfilling than working your dream job with a group of mean-spirited, two-faced manipulative people. It’s not the doing, but the being that becomes most important in decision making.
Go ahead. Decide.