Throughout many periods of my life I have felt anxious around making decisions and I want to share with you some of the techniques that have helped me through….
Think about a time in your life you were faced with making a crucial decision. What was that experience like for you? How easy and natural did it come? What factors went into your decision? How did you eventually decide?
Many of us feel overwhelmed when making crucial decisions. For some, even simple decisions can seem daunting and stressful. Sometimes the weight feels so heavy that the effect is debilitating. It’s as if the fate of the company, our family even our whole life centers around this one decisive moment and it makes us want to tear our hair out!
What if there was an alternative to feeling this way? What would mean for decision-making to feel easy, effortless and leave you filled with such confidence that each decision feels wonderful? If that sounds nice, read on!
So how does one go about reaching powerful decisions? First, let’s examine the nature of a decision and how we relate to them to see if that can help us become more decisive:
A decision is simply taking an opportunity to move forward or putting a plan into action. All of life is actually a series of decisions and a myriad of potential outcomes exists in every waking moment. Whether it is getting out of bed in the morning and having breakfast, or choosing what direction to take your Fortune 500 company each of these actions are a choice with varying degrees of weight. Simply showing up and facing the myriad of choices is also a decision we have to make daily and often a highly courageous one that needs be applauded!
One metaphorical moment of decision is the general on a battlefield who raises his sword shouting “CHARGE!” This is the perfect mirror for reframing our decision-making process. The general and the charging army demonstrate how the reality of our circumstances in a decision is often the complete opposite of our experience. In moments of crucial decision we typically feel high anxiety and enormous pressure as if our whole life hinges upon this one outcome.
However, the exact opposite is actually the truth. In decision-making, everything we are intending and everything we’ve ever learned or experienced is actually directly behind us supporting the decision- and all of these factors coming together in this moment are what are making the decision, not just your brain. The general never charges alone- his/her momentum is supported by the massive power of the army behind you that is your life. Realizing this creates more space for patient and purposeful decisions to arise. It also means you are doing your best to make the right choice and therefore whatever decision you choose will be right in some way.
Still the “fear of failure” is often the greatest culprit holding us back from many decisions. Underneath every fear of failure is disguised the greater feeling of “I am not good enough,” and that no matter which choice we make there still exists some chance that the outcome won’t be desirable.
So if no choice is going to be perfect, how can overcome our fears and take action through making powerful decisions? Acknowledging the truth that nothing is sure nor perfect is the first step. Then, there are several key points and effective strategies for making decisions:
- Do your due dilligence. Interrogating reality is key to knowing the full spectrum of opportunities you are presented with. Empower yourself as a fully informed choice-maker and you will feel much more confident about moving forward. Remember that there is no sure victory nor perfect answer, so just do your best.
- All decisions are made at the appropriate time. Patience and wise procrastination are virtues when the pressure is high, and chances are you are not thinking clearly so you need to detach. If there is no immediate deadline, give yourself a break and table the decision appropriately. Additional mental clarity will arise given the space and it’s better to move forward with a powerful, clear sense of choice.
- If the deadline is immediate still find a means to detach. Even a five minute break or a few moments of detachment and centering can bring out the clarity you need to make a fully-informed powerful decision that feels right.
- There is no failure, only opportunity. Opportunity exists in the outcome of both the right and the wrong choice. There is tremendous value in the hard learned lessons of life and when you can find this you turn failure into victory. In the least, you will be more informed in similar future dilemmas and if you never had the lesson you wouldn’t have known in the first place. Remember, it can always be worse! If you can find the positive, the learning experience and the opportunities from the fall out of any non-ideal outcome, then you have removed failure from the realm of possibility in your life.
- When the moment comes, do what feels right. Reason is good, but value your emotional intelligence and instincts equally. If you think about it, every decision has an emotional component even if the decision process was rationally based because doing what you believe is logical feels right. Logic has it’s limitations too because reason is based on what you know and have experience with in your own life. Anything outside of your frame of reference won’t be available for your rational mind to calculate and this is still going to stress you out.
- Become a ‘Quantum Decision-Maker.’ The final and ultimate answer to making powerful decisions is to be the person that weighs all of the factors in the decision, has done the due diligence around learning choices and most importantly makes the decision based on logical, emotional and intuitive levels of consciousness. Many of us fail to realize the value of these other aspects in our thinking, and society is quick to judge the emotional and intuitive as being illogical and unscientific. In the least, using all 3 levels of awareness is guaranteed to make the decision-making process feel good. Remembering full well that no outcome is completely knowable you can relax and let go by tuning into your self more and knowing you are doing your best.
In future issues I want to talk more about the intuition and how accessing it can benefit you in many aspects of your life such as decision-making. I hope sharing what I’ve learned in my experience has helped you and I am eager to hear what you think!