Making tough decisions: A habit worth practicing

October 4, 2019



One of the biggest roadblocks for many business leaders is making decisions and taking action. Making decisions can be difficult, fear of judgement or failure can be a strong motivator for indecisiveness. It can paralyse the best of us.


Indecisiveness is really us choosing the possibility that something might be a wrong decision over the knowledge that it definitely is. It is in essence a choice, albeit not always a conscious one.


We make decisions every day, mostly small on the run decisions. What to wear, what to eat, whether to call a friend or not. But when it comes to the bigger decisions, the ones that have a great impact on our lives, making a habit out of how you make these tough decisions can have an amazing impact.


So when your next big decision comes along try setting up this habit, which starts with giving yourself a deadline. If you drag decisions out they start to impact on the next big decision you need to make and the result is often the feeling of overload and overwhelm. Giving yourself a deadline gives you the space to focus on this decision and then move on with your life.


Right, now you have a clear timeframe, work through the following questions:


  1. What is the real question here? So often we are not clear on the decision. Recently I had a client mulling over whether or not to move business premises. When we explored this a little more she realised that actually she needed to decide if she really wanted to continue running her business as it was or make a bigger change. The premises were just a symptom of the issue not the issue itself. 

  2. What do I already know? We generally already know a lot about our situations, especially those that we have been avoiding - after all we have given lots of energy to avoid the challenge.

  3. What are my options, even silly ones? There are are no silly ideas. One of my favourite questions to ask clients is "What is the thing you would never do in this situation?" This can open up some really innovative ideas and understanding of what you won't do and why. It can provide some great insight into your fears and roadblocks.

  4. Have I or anyone I know come across this before? You don't need to reinvent the wheel if someone has something that works explore it. Understanding what hasn't worked in the past can also be valuable knowledge.

  5. From this information, what might make sense, what have I not thought of? Reflect on all that you know, stand back and look at the whole picture.

  6. What feels/looks right? We make decisions first and foremost with the limbic part of the brain which does not have the capacity for language which is why we often say "It just doesn't feel right". Don't dismiss it, acknowledge it and explore it.

  7. What decision am I most comfortable with and why?  Am I prepared to commit to it? Once we feel something we then engage our Pre Frontal Cortex, which has the capacity for logic and reason. Running this final lens over our decision will help us to understand what we are truly willing to commit to. Note, the question is 'most comfortable', we are not looking for perfect.


Now take a breath and decide! 


Having worked through the process, be confident that you are making an informed decision based on what you know right now and get on with the rest of your life. 

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