It’s that time of year when high performers like you are making decisions on how best to move forward in the new year.
Maybe you’re exploring a new role, a different company or going back to school. Perhaps you’re wanting to play bigger than ever and are deciding between two to three actions to take.
When your time, money, reputation and well-being are at stake, it can be challenging to make a decision. It’s easy to stay in Indecisive-Land. But Indecisive-Land also has its own risks and challenges.
To get you moving forward in a way that optimizes best outcomes, I’m revealing my proven decision-making tips and strategy.
How to tackle your toughest decisions
Identify Your Core Values
Before considering the different options you can make, identify your core values. Determine what is most important to you. For example, you may value integrity, a flexible schedule, relationships and learning. I recommend tallying up everything you value into a long list – even if your list is 20-40 values long. Jotting them down on paper helps to move thoughts and ideas from your brain into concise language on paper that you can further review.
Now that you have a list of values, prioritize them independent of the decision you’re making. Note – Not all values are equal at all times of your life. For example, money may be more important than flexibility in your work schedule. At another time in life, schedule flexibility may matter more to you than a particular salary.
Narrow your top values down to five if possible. Tip: If you’re having difficulty narrowing down your top values, group them into themes.
Determine Your Boundaries
Knowing what you will not compromise is just as important as knowing what you value. I call these boundaries. What are actions, protocols and behaviors that you will not accept personally and professionally? Jot these down and prioritize them – similar to what you did with your values.
Gather Crucial Information
Now that you know what you will accept and won’t accept, determine if the possible decision aligns with your values or crosses your boundaries. Ask questions directly, do research and talk to trusted advisors.
As you gather information, are you noticing red flags? If so, stick to your convictions and make a decision accordingly. Are you noticing pink flags? Pink flags require gathering more information until you can determine if the the flag can turn back to white or changes to red.
The more information you can gather before making a decision, the better. However, it’s likely that you will uncover influential information over time. That’s okay, too. This requires trusting yourself to know that you can navigate the situation when the time comes. I know you can do this!
Go Get Your Blues and Greens
As a former client used to say, “Go get your blues and greens.” When feeling the weight and stress of a decision, go take a walk in nature. Notice the blue sky, blue water, green trees and fields. Basically, do whatever you need to bring a sense of calm.
Take your mind off of the decision at hand. Then revisit your decision and listen to how you respond and feel to your internal questions.
Pick an Accountability Partner
With a big decision comes big responsibilities. I’ve discovered it’s easier to make a decision when I have an accountability partner. This partner sometimes is my husband, trusted friend or another coach. The key is to find someone who has your best interests at heart and can provide a neutral sounding board.
An accountability partner can:
Ask questions you haven’t considered
Challenge your thinking
Question your fears
Hold you to a timeline
Who can be your accountability partner?
If you’re in need of an outside perspective and could benefit from a helpful guide, schedule a 25-minute complimentary consultation with me. We will explore if we’re a great fit.
What to Do When There is No Clear Choice
What if you do all of your homework and there is no clear winning choice? The toughest decisions typically fall into this category. That’s when I go inward and lean on my intuition.
Ask yourself, “What feels right to me? Which option excites me – both in the short and long-term?”
If you find yourself feeling like a weight is on your shoulders or a sense of dread AFTER you make the decision, then you may not have truly listened to your intuition. Typically, decision makers feel a sense of relief or even happiness when they make the appropriate choice that aligns with their intuition.
Following a decision-making methodology doesn’t come with a foolproof guarantee, but it does provide peace of mind and knowing that you’ve thoughtfully considered your options.
Do you plan to incorporate any of the tips I’ve shared the next time you tackle a big decision? Is there a decision-making strategy you follow each time? If so, please share in the blog’s comments so others can benefit, too.
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Let's connect and begin a conversation. My passion is equipping leaders and companies with strategies to create greater influence, impact and income. - Jennifer Spaulding, Executive Coach