By Jamie Kirk
Let’s jump right into it. Sometimes we simply feel we have run out of options. We think that the road is bleak and there is definitely no light at the end of the tunnel. We kinda like think all roads are leading to nowhere. However, the good news is that – that’s fine.
It’s fine to take a break, step back and just think through our next right move. Being able just to be quiet, be still and take measured, slow and deliberate steps that can work out in your best interest. Being able to decide is a power that many people don’t have. So when you have the option to decide, you should take it.
I’ll drill down into when we don’t have the power to decide. When your credit score has taken a dip, you don’t get to decide on your interest rate. When you don’t finish your degree, you don’t get to decide to apply for the promotion. When you have a chronic medical condition, you don’t get to decide to take your medicine or not. When you look at it from this perspective, it can shed an entirely different light on deciding what to do.
One of the best things we can do, when we don’t know what to do is seek as much information as possible. That does not mean asking our friends and family; it means getting the information on our own, and determining the impacts, weighing the pros and cons and deciding our course of action. When we ask too many people for their opinion and advice, we often get their experience, and we listen with a tainted (that word makes me laugh) ear. We listen to their insight, how they handled it, the options they had available, the resources they obtained and their outcome. When we take on the advice of others, we have to place a filter on it. Be open to it, but not 100% reliant on it.
Keep in mind, not making a decision is a decision. So when I say not knowing what to do is fine, it’s okay for a temporary period of time. But at some point, when you avoid making a decision, you lose the power to decide. When you delay the decision-making process, you can give away your power. That can be just as bad as not doing anything. At least you can blame yourself, but when someone else decides for you, you can easily fall into playing the victim. Now you have no decision-making power, and you come across as whiny; that is a horrible combination.
Just remember that everyone doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Often, when people are helping you decide what to do, they can always be wondering how the decision will help them. We talked about the filter, but also, we need to talk about the expected outcome for us. Every decision will have a consequence. Every decision will cause a reaction. Every decision will have downstream impacts. As best we can, we need to make absolutely sure that we limit the element of surprise. It’s not being a control freak, and it certainly is not being so rigid that we become unwavering, but it is being able to control that which we can. Owning our decision-making abilities is a win/win for all. We get to chart our course or change the course, but bearing in mind what will work for us and what will not.
The next time you are faced with making a small, medium or large decision, you should follow these quick steps:
- What is the end result you expect
- Ask the “right” questions to get as much information as you can
- Consider the consequences
- At the end of the day, answer yes or no:
DID IT WORK?