Need to make a tough decision?
Here are 3 Steps to Help You Make the Right Choice
Most rational adults can see both sides of a decision: the upside and the downside. Sometimes, this skill keeps us frozen in indecision. This blog will give you 3 memorable strategies you can use every time you feel trapped between “Yes” and “No”.
[dropcap]1[/dropcap]The List Method: Your head and your heart need to be involved in decision making. To “hear” each side fairly, take two sheets of paper. Write your question as succinctly as possible across the top of each page. Draw a vertical line down the middle of each. Label one side “Pros” – those things that are likely positive outcomes – and the other side “Cons” for those outcomes that may not be so ideal.
In the upper right hand corner of one sheet, draw a heart. In the same location on the other sheet, draw a brain.
In a quiet location where you will not be disturbed for at least 15 minutes, choose the “Brain” sheet and spend some time writing down what you think will be the pros and cons of making this decision. Come back and add more to this page a few times over the next day or two, to be sure you didn’t miss anything.
When that is complete, repeat this exercise with the “Heart” sheet. Spend some time writing down what you feel will be the pros and cons of making this decision. Oftentimes, we make a decision with one part of us without considering the other. This method, an adaptation of one popularized long ago by the great Benjamin Franklin, will help you be sure to include both parts of you. That way, you can be certain you are making a balanced decision.
[dropcap]2[/dropcap]The Time Machine Method: Pretend that you’ve made a firm choice either way. Then strap yourself into your time machine and speed into the future. Assuming the best possible outcome, if you made this decision today, what would you expect to have happen in the next week, month, six months, year and five years? Write it down or play it out in your head, in full color, as if you are watching a movie on fast forward. What’s life like for you and all concerned in those future dates? Is life better or worse? Are you happier or less happy?
Emerge from your time machine, take off your helmet, shake out your hair and…climb back in. Now repeat this exercise with the opposite decision. Fast forward into the future. Assume the best possible outcome. What is life like for you and those you care about next week, month, six months, year and five years? Look around. Is this outcome what you desired?
The Time Capsule will give you these three benefits: You end up with more clarity about how the decision will affect your life; you open your eyes to factors that you may not have previously considered; and you can now surge forward with confidence, knowing you’re making the right choice.
[dropcap]3[/dropcap]The CEO Method: Executives and entrepreneurs have to make decisions every day that affect people and money. Imagine how stressful that becomes! One of the best bits of advice I got early in my life as an entrepreneur was this: “50% of your decisions are going to be right; 50% of your decisions are going to be wrong. Your only solution is to decide faster.”
Yes! Think of the energy you’re expending right now by being indecisive. Look around. Most decisions are reversible. There are couples who separate – a decision – and then get back together – another decision. There are people who stick a For Sale sign in their front yards – and then yank it back out a few months later. Very few things are irreversible.
Even of those that are, there are endless future decisions that could make things turn out better than you can even imagine right now. Hate your job and want to leave? Fine. Want to work in a different industry? Fine. Find out you don’t like that industry either? Fine. Start in a new one, start your own company or do something completely different.
We’re often trapped by fear in our decisions, frozen by thoughts of the fallout. But the minute we take a deep breath, implement one or all of the strategies outlined here and have the courage to act on what our intuition tells us because of these methods, the better we become at decision making and the more confident we become in our ability to trust ourselves.
Like making decisions? Hate it? Want to add a strategy you use to help the readers of this blog? Please comment below.