Making decisions is one of the biggest challenges in life. Getting stuck in indecision leads to lost opportunities, leadership failure, damaged relationships, and tremendous anxiety.
Few things bring as much relief as getting decisions made. With practice, you can improve your ability to make quality choices. Below are 6 tools to start using today.
7 Decision Making Tools
Tool #1: Worst Possible Outcome
Write down the disaster scenario for making a specific decision. “If I take this new job/position, I could be miserable and leave within 1 year.” Then describe how you think you’ll successfully handle this realistically worst possible outcome.
Tool #2: Deal with Your Past
Unresolved past trauma keeps people stuck. Living immobilized, often subconsciously, believing that will keep them from getting hurt again. Many only make reactive decisions or continually let others decide. Gaining awareness into how your past impacts you today can clarity the right path.
Tool #3: Listen to Experts
Accountants and attorneys have saved me from costly mistakes. Utilize trusted experts for direction. Many experts have laid out steps to follow. Buy their books, listen to their podcasts, and read their blogs. Here’s a list of my favorite books, many with expert advise.
Tool #4: 10 Minutes, 10 Months & 10 Years
Image you made a specific decision. Write down how you think you’ll feel about this choice 10 minutes, 10 months, and then 10 years after you made it. Found this tool in a great book call Decisive by Chip & Dan Heath.
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing” – Theodore Roosevelt
Tool #5: Emotionally Mature Friends & Family
Get the opinions of your emotionally mature friends and family. People with enough distance from the issue to give good counsel. Sometimes family is too close to the issue, and to you, to be objective.
Tool #6: Advise to a Close Friend
I’ve witness many people make major decisions right after a loss (e.g. Divorce, death, etc.). We don’t make our best choices while depressed and grieving. True friends have the courage to tell us the truth at these times. Be a good friend to yourself. If a close friend came to you for advice on this topic, what would you tell them?
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tool #7: Create & Use Filters
Uncovering and clarifying your core values, life purpose, mission, and vision for your future is an incredibly valuable investment in yourself. They serve as filters for making decisions. Say “no” to any decision that doesn’t align with your core values and life vision.
All decisions have consequences. Mistakes are inevitable and a part of growing. Don’t beat yourself up when you realize you could have made a better choice. Be gracious with yourself. Step back and intentionally apply these tools and your choices will improve.
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