Does your head feel like it is spinning with the current intense rate of change? With so much uncertainty regarding sustaining the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our loved ones, government leadership, economic markets, employment, education delivery, environmental sustainability, and much more, I find myself rethinking multiple areas of my life. Should I change my work focus to sustain my income in today’s market? How do I preserve my hard-earned savings and investments with the stock market drop? Do I have what is needed to ride out the pandemic? Should I put off non-essential purchases in the near term?
Most of us are not taught how to make good decisions in the key areas of our lives. In childhood, curiosity, impulsiveness and learning comes before acquired experience. Now as adults facing life’s uncertainties and complexities, decision-making can be scary and overwhelming. At times, we feel like fawns staring into the headlights of an oncoming 18-wheeler. The tricky part is we don’t always know what we want, and even when we do, our fears and resistances can derail us.
In truth, some of my own successes are in spite of poor decisions I made with fear and hope that I would land on my feet and be fulfilled. I’ve spent weeks and months in regret, anger or shame over missed opportunities, broken relationships and misdirected work. Taking responsibility for my choices can be a bitter pill.
With a bruised ego, broken heart and lost money, I became determined to understand how to consistently make successful and wise decisions. It was either this or continue to feel insecure, fearful and disempowered anytime I felt unsure about how to move forward.
Based on extensive research and study of highly successful people, as well as my own experience, here are:
6 TIPS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL DECISION-MAKERS
1. First, know your “why”.
Difficulty in making decisions can be a result of lacking strong motivation as to why you are making this choice. If you don’t know why you want a certain result, it helps to step back and connect with the feeling of already having made the decision and living with the outcome – for all the options you are considering.
After you have imagined what it would feel like with each decision’s potential outcome, you want to increase your motivation to decide. To do this, write down a list of 20 reasons why you want each choice and the outcome you imagine. Make sure you write a list for each option you are considering. Most people run out of reasons partway into the list as it gets harder to think of them. DO NOT STOP until you reach 20 reasons. The first reasons that come easily are already in your mind. In the effort to reach 20, you will dig deeper inside yourself which will give you a better understanding of what motivates you. This is where the valuable information lies that may not be consciously available to you.
2. Follow your inner knowing.
You may not know where you are headed or the optimal choice, but when you listen in and observe what you hear and feel inside, you can get the clarity and guidance you are looking for. Some people call this accessing their intuition, which every one of us has. This takes practice and requires quieting your thoughts while you ask yourself questions and listen for feedback or guidance. The more you practice being quiet and listening, the easier and clearer the feedback you will receive. Patience is required if you have an active mind that likes to be heard! Your inner voice is always more accurate and “on point” for you, rather than the opinions and advice of others. The reason is, your inner knowing knows better than anyone else what is the best decision for you. And you are the one who will live with this choice, so you are the final say!
3. Practice making quick decisions.
Rather than over analyze or plan ahead, learn to make decisions in tune with what “feels right” for you in the moment. You can start with small decisions like what to eat and what movie or TV show to watch. Afterwards, assess how each decision turned out for you. If the outcome does not work out as well as you hoped, just make another choice now. As you build courage to make bigger decisions more quickly and easily, your experience and confidence in decision-making will grow exponentially.
4. See the results and celebrate before taking action.
When you visualize and feel yourself making a decision and having the outcome you are seeking before you take any action, you are actually participating in creating the future. Your thoughts and feelings always influence your behaviors and their outcomes, and also those of others. To do this, first visualize clearly the most positive outcome of making the choice including all aspects and how they feel. Next, expand the feelings of this positive outcome throughout your entire body until you can feel this success in every cell (figuratively, not literally). Do not focus on negative feelings. After this is complete, allow yourself to feel gratitude for the positive outcome of your decision, see yourself celebrating and feeling like a winner.
5. When indecisive, flip a coin.
Indecision can be detrimental in lost time, relationships, opportunities and money. Not making a decision is actually a decision not to decide and move forward. If you simply can’t make a decision, just pick one or simply flip a coin. In doing so, you will experience a feeling inside yourself that might range from peace and calm to worry and fear. Alternatively, one choice might feel lighter, more energizing or uplifting, while the other choice feels heavier, having less energy or negative. Pay attention to the feelings that come up inside you as the feedback is physically showing you which choice feels best given the present circumstances and what you know now. Take action in the direction of the choice that feels the most “right”, positive or peaceful.
6. Some decisions will feel “wrong”.
A number of your decisions over your entire lifetime will feel “wrong” for you. This is life’s way of teaching you lessons about who you are and what you want. Rather than punish yourself for less than optimal choices, allow them to be okay to not be optimal, and credit yourself for having the courage to choose and take an action. By allowing yourself to make less than optimal choices, you take the pressure off of having to be “right” and perfect. Fear is one of the major causes of failure, procrastination and indecision. There are no “right” or “wrong” decisions when you realize that all decisions lead to personal growth and impart life lessons. They provide invaluable information that reveals what you want in your life and what you don’t. The key is to learn quickly and keep looking forward. Life experience is a wise and forgiving teacher in this school of life.
Making decisions is critical to your life and personal growth. Like most things in life, you become progressively wiser each time you make a decision. By making choices that are outside your comfort zone, you will grow immeasurably and experience more in life. The key is to learn quickly, make it okay to make mistakes, and correct them immediately. Being patient and understanding with yourself, you can enjoy your decision process as you let go of worries and fears that might hold you back.
Lastly, the feelings and energies of fear and excitement are very similar in the body. Learn to differentiate them and allow for the excitement to motivate you.
Making decisions often allows your courage and confidence to grow and increases your quality of life. Choose to be a successful and happy decision-maker and life will unfold with more joy and ease than you ever imagined!