Various internet sources estimate adults makes about 35,000 conscious decisions each day. We have been given free-will and a multitude of choices in life about:
- what to eat
- what to purchase
- a look at our beliefs
- job and career choices we will pursue
- how we vote
- who to spend our time with
Each choice we have and the decisions we make about them carries certain consequences. These consequences may prove good or bad. This ability to choose is an incredibly powerful asset. And we have an obligation to be thoughtful. This should be done not just on behalf of ourselves. It should include consideration of all the people our decisions include and could impact.
We have all made decisions we regret and wish we could go back and change. But, we can’t go back. We can only go forward with better judgement and a refined decision making process. Decision making is a progressive process that gets better as we live, learn and grow through our experiences and learn from our mistakes.
Here are 10 Steps that can help make a Better Decision Making Process:
Know Your Goals
It’s much easier to make decisions when you’re abundantly clear on what you’re trying to achieve, why you’re trying to achieve it and how you plan on achieving it. Additionally, decisions made with a mindfulness on how they can impact others are very important. Sometimes decision making goals are quite clear but most times it will take some time to sort them out. Dedicated preparation, information gathering and scrutiny can speed up the decision making process instead of engaging in exhaustive debate or mental wrangling.
Don’t Rush, Take Your Time
Try not to rush into making a big decision that comes your way. Follow your deadlines but if you need more time to meet them ask for it. Be sure you are not procrastinating. The speed of business in our world often makes us feel the pressure to make decisions faster than we sometimes ready to. When you’re facing important decisions, wake up early and work on your most complicated tasks before you get hit with a bunch of distractions, or tackle some of the smaller things the night before to get a head start on the next day.
Consider All The Options
Sometimes, but rarely is there one unequivocal decision option. The analysis paralysis enigma affects many entrepreneurs, as they ask too many people for their opinions and consider too many options trying to make “perfect” decisions rather than the best to test for the moment. There are no perfect plans and no perfect decisions; we make educated choices, in a timely manner, modify if necessary and go with them.
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Visualize Your Decision
It is hard to know exactly how an important decision will turn out. Given circumstances, personalities, intangibles and how sure we may feel at the time, things simply don’t always turn out like we think they will. So, before we make a decision, taking a little extra time to visualize how it could turn out given all the variables we know at the time is important. It’s an extra step that could make a difference. Review and consider all that you know about how your decisions can impact all the players and situation. Try to take extra effort to assure that your thinking and evaluation is accurate and realistic.
Facts + Emotions = Balanced Decision Making
There’s certainly a value to considering emotions which should not be dismissed entirely. But the best business decisions based on logic, because businesses are logical enterprises. The balance of logic and emotion allows for effective decisions to be made on behalf of not only the business but the people that run, work in and benefit from them. We need to be competent in our skills but we also need to be a good fit in the company culture.
Follow Your Moral Compass
Successful people know the importance of sticking to their morals and values when making an important decision. Morals and values serve as trusted guides when your emotions pull you in different directions. Being true to who we are, our integrity, professionalism and personal reputation follows us and also leads the way for our continued success.
Seek Out Feedback and Build Support Systems
The power and benefit of developing a strong professional network of trusted colleagues cannot be underestimated. We grow and succeed not by ourselves but with others who share and support our goals and values. When we struggle with difficult decisions and circumstances that are a consistent part of our careers, we need to know who has our back and is a valued resource. Building a solid, diverse professional network has tangible and intangible benefits. Networking, professional affiliations, community connections and key mentors are all resources for seeking feedback especially locally.
Don’t Overthink Decision Making
Successful people know the importance of gathering as much information as they can, but at the same time, they make certain not to fall prey to analysis paralysis. Instead of waiting for the stars to align, successful people know that they need to have a timetable to follow in reaching their decision. Once they set that date, they are motivated to do their homework and some soul-searching in order to meet that deadline.
Take Your Own Advice
In today’s business environment it’s most important to be authentic, trusted, professional and consistent. The public is smarter than ever before but are being bombarded with so much content and information that has led to burn out, mistrust and fatigue. Sadly, there are still bad actors across many platforms saying seemingly smart things but with bad motives, We must be exactly who we present ourselves to be in our in-person and online activities. So whatever you write and speak about, and in your personal meetings be sure that it is honest and a true representation of your heart, intellect and spirit.
Trust Your Guts and Professionalism
The article 5 Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome defines: “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills…” Take the time to document and review your positive qualities. This includes professional accolades and reputation. Imposter syndrome exists. And it touches many areas of our lives. We need to figure out what our value and authenticity is. That way we live true to our essence. Celebrate, unmask and show your humanity, beauty and intelligence.