I was watching The Good Wife on Netflix and the two law partners were trying to decide if they should rent additional floors in their building to expand the practice. They went back and forth about it, and then one of them finally said: “Whenever the last partner couldn’t decide something, he always went back to the mission statement.” The other partner replied, “What mission statement?!?”
That gave me a chuckle and got me thinking about the ways we can support ourselves when it comes to decision making.
Here are 4 ways to be more decisive:
1. Declare Your Mission and Create a Vision Statement
To clarify, Wikipedia states:
A mission statement describes an organization’s purpose and answers the questions: “What business are we in?” and “What is our business for?” A vision statement provides strategic direction and describes what the owner or founder wants the company to achieve in the future.
I feel that you need both. The clearer you are about your “who” and your “why ” the better everything falls into place from your team to your marketing.
A mission and vision statement help narrow down your aims and define the values of your brand. You can use that information as a barometer test for all future decisions. A simple one-line question like: “Does this XXX (fill in the blank with partnership/product/collaboration) align with my original vision?” If it does, it is a much easier “why.” If it doesn’t, don’t waste your time and move on.
2. The Good Ol’ Pros and Cons List
Now, for the sake of efficiency, I am not talking about a long, drawn-out deliberation process. Just from your gut, create a quick rundown of the benefits and drawbacks related to your question at hand. I find that if you are stuck when you try this task, chances are good that you can pass on a yes decision. You should at least be able to generate some pretty speedy comments in the pros column if the choice has any merit at all.
3. Stop Asking Other People
This is a biggie.
Most indecisive people have one thing in common — they continually look to others to make decisions for them. This routine doesn’t serve the person. Of course, there are always occasions (especially about large, life decisions), when relying on a supportive network is not only valuable but crucial. However, I’m talking about the small stuff; the mundane, general life and business things that come up.
If you start rewiring your brain to look for the answer within vs. without, your life perspective and confidence will change.
Begin with the smaller, day-to-day decisions like: “What should I have for dinner? Should I get a black or gray sweater? Which movie looks better?” The more you resist the urge to pick up the phone or text your buddy to help you decide, the more it will open up a unique channel of self-reliance.
So, when it comes to bigger business queries such as: “Should I sign this year-long lease? Who is my ideal client? Should I hire a virtual assistant?” — you’ll be in the groove to take a moment to reflect and ponder based on your intuition, experience, and research.
Save your Qi (life force energy) for the big stuff!
4. Make Friends with the Root of Your Hesitation
Many of our decisions can be entangled with emotional ties. When there are layers of psychological holdbacks like fear, anxiety, low self-esteem, and lack of confidence, it might be time to go a little deeper. This could come in the form of personal journaling, meditation, or seeking a life coach or counselor trained in navigating the psyche.
If the root of your hesitation stems from a buried issue of lack, no matter how many lists you make, you will still circle back to external validation and procrastination.
I don’t say that to depress you! I am just addressing the facts of moving past these issues.
I believe we can retrain our brain.
It is (no pun intended) a decision. We can choose to accept the fact that we are indecisive and say: “Oh well, I’ve always been this way.” OR we can consciously decide to trust ourselves, tap into our internal guidance, and use the great resources of the web to research the facts when it comes to things outside of our knowledge/skill set.
Making decisions is a part of life. Choose to be a confident, take-charge person.
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