How many times a day do we make decisions? It starts right when you wake up – deciding what time you’ll get out of bed. What’s for breakfast? What will you wear? Decisions are everywhere! Lately I have been a bit out of sorts, overwhelmed by all the bigger decisions that I have to make that the little ones have been completely stressing me out. It’s almost as if I’ve just given in and “decided” not to make anymore of the everyday decisions. This is such faulty logic and can leave you to become this strange version of yourself that you don’t even recognize after a while anymore.
The first part about running a successful business and living a healthy, balanced lifestyle is taking charge of your independence of choice. Every decision you make is important in shaping your character and building you up to be the best version of you that you can be. Decision-making is such a big part of life that if you don’t work out a strategy early on, it just might swallow you up and overwhelm you when the tough decisions start heading your way. Or perhaps if you’re like me, the small decisions are the ones that will get to you!
Now of course many of our decisions happen instantaneously and really don’t require much thought. You just go with the first thing that resonates with you and then you’re off. Or perhaps someone else has indirectly decided for you. For example, maybe there is a meeting you need to attend at 8am sharp, which does not leave you much choice for when you need to be up and out of the house.
However, there is always a few decisions that you can potentially still make. As in the example above, we know that you have to be at a meeting by 8 o’clock, but you still have the choice of whether you’d like to get up a few hours earlier to get some work done, or perhaps read a book, or maybe even get to the gym – it’s all up to you!
FOLLOW THIS 7-STEP GUIDE TO BETTER DECISION-MAKING
So I realized that it was critical for me to really sit down and write out exactly what it means to make decisions, what I want the outcomes to be, and how I was going to achieve it. Below I have outlined 7 Key steps I use to make better decisions every day when it comes to both my business and my life.
STEP 1: Understand, and Truly Believe That You Are Okay!
Although this might seem like a bit of a strange first step, it’s usually a feeling deep down that we all experience when we have to make big decisions. Yes, there is always a chance that perhaps you might make the wrong decision – and that is okay! You will pick yourself up and learn from it, only to do even better next time. Wasting your time and energy into imagining different scenarios of, “What if I choose wrong? What if there is a better option that comes along?”, etc. will only create images in your mind of scenarios that don’t even exist.
This is the same principle of waiting until your product is perfect before launching for a fear of doing it wrong. The best way to learn is to be practical, to get the experience, and to grow from feedback. If you never step out and make a decision, you won’t be able to see the results. Instead of living it out practically, you’ll still be left wondering what each scenario could bring. So that’s why it is key for you to understand and truly believe that you are okay, and that you will continue to be okay.
STEP 2: Decide Exactly How You Want to Feel
In this step I really try to focus down on the end result of how I want to feel after making the decision. What is your motivation for making this decision, and what is it that you are hoping to achieve by it? Knowing exactly where you stand on the matter is important because that will determine your drive towards accomplishing the goal and will allow you to track and measure your outcome in the end.
This will also help you identify the weight that this decision carries, and perhaps how much input you need to gather to feel confident that it is the right choice. Most times our own experience is limited, so we draw from the knowledge of others to help guide us towards an educated and informed decision. Again, it is key to understand how you want to feel because this will help your decision-making steps to ensure that it is truly what you want and not what others have decided for you. Believe it or not, when it comes to your life, it really DOES matter how you want to feel!
STEP 3: Create a Vision For Your Future
Once you have gained more clarity and insight on how you want to feel you can start to create a vision of what the future outcome should look like. Where do you want to go? What do you want to accomplish? Crafting a visual image of your goal can help align all of your values during the decision-making process. It also allows you to re-assess exactly what it is you are aiming for, and ensuring that your goals are realistic and achievable.
Here you can also determine what resources you’d need to make your decisions more effectively and efficiently, in order to reach that end goal. For longer-term goals, having a visual reminder is so critical and can really help to spur your motivation and keep you focused on realizing that future vision that you have created for yourself. This is a great time to make a poster board, write a pin-up note, or even draw a picture that you can place beside your workspace to encourage you on a daily basis.
STEP 4: Take a Step Out to Escape and Have Some Fun
Sometimes when making big decisions we can get so wrapped up in the pro’s and con’s lists, our judgement can become subjective, and all we need is to step away from it and find some renewed clarity. Having a bit of fun or getting outside can trigger a release in your brain and helps you relax and take your mind off of the big decision at hand. This is a great way to re-charge and re-focus.
You can also use this as a chance to get out and do some activities, to take a healthier approach to your life. Your creativity levels will be energized and you will be able to look at everything with a fresh perspective. Meeting up with a friend, going for a walk, enjoying nature, or simply having a laugh! It’s all part of a healthy work-life balance, even during your decision-making process. It’s what I like to call, “the creative, fun alternative to sleeping on it”. Now that you have been refreshed, you can step back with clarity and assurance that you are ready to take on your decisions.
STEP 5: Throw Away Your Lists and Establish Your Direction
So about those lists… they are only going to help you get so far. Without an actual strategic direction it is really hard to get going. Lists allow you to analyze the pro’s and con’s, and determine what is needed and what is not. However, these all still look in two different directions and it is definitely not getting you closer to your future vision. In this step it is time to move away from your lists and towards an actual direction. Even the smallest step in the direction of your decision is a start towards achieving your goals.
Direction gives you milestones to guide you along the decision-making process, and helps you establish a plan of exactly how you will reach each milestone. This way you can also track how your decisions are going, and adapt your strategy along the way. When you have a plan you are a lot more focused and the work gets done in a more systematic way, which helps you to avoid those last minute decisions that may be detrimental to your overall future vision.
STEP 6: Gather Your Focus and Look Inward
Often times when setting out on amazing journeys, like starting your own business or moving across the world, you really need to re-focus and look at the internal drivers of your motivation. Without those core missions and motivators it is hard to follow through on these amazing decisions that lay before you. There will be times that you are so down and motivation seems to be dwindling, and that’s when you will really need the strength to continue believing in yourself and stand by the decisions that you’ve made.
You need to make sure that you are taking care of yourself on the daily, nurturing your confidence and courage, and building your character to help you pull through when a bad day comes along. And believe me, those are bound to happen! The key is to be prepared and to understand where exactly your strength and motivation comes from. Of course there are always people to help you along the way, so don’t forget to include your support network in your decision-making process.
STEP 7: Reinforce Your Choices With Reflection and Followup
This is one of the most critical steps for me personally. I find it extremely helpful to look back on my decisions and reflect on what worked, and what didn’t. Not only this, but it also helps to reinforce that you took the right steps and that you did not make any rash decisions on a mere whim. Here you can also take the time to find the gaps in your decision-making process and help you to adjust your strategy for the future.
Also, find out which steps you had the most trouble with and actually take the time to uncover how you can improve and what other supports you need in order to make it more efficient for you to move swiftly through the steps. This step makes the decision-making process such a well-rounded experience and allows you to come full circle with your goals and achievements. Reflections builds self and shapes character, so really allow yourself to move through this process diligently and come out on the other side with experience and growth.
I trust that these steps resonated with you and that you are going to implement them in your daily decision-making processes. If you really found meaning in each of these steps and would love to work through the process on your own, download the 7-Step Decision-Making Framework below.
Now I’d love to hear from YOU!
- Did you find these steps helpful? What other steps do you use on a daily basis?
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As always, desire to inspire!
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