How to make the right decision, every time. (Yep. Even the difficult ones).
I've been there. You've been there. When you're confronted with a decision that you can't quickly make a judgment on, days, weeks, months, even years sometimes pass while you're still faffing over what to do 'for the best'. *ashamedly raises hand*
And I think that's the worst decision making strategy for any of us tbh. Any decision is better than indecision. Yes really. And that's because indecision becomes a decision to do nothing, simply out of fear of making a mistake – and if you know me by now, that kind of thinking just isn't gonna wash with me! Call it peer pressure, bullying, whatever you like – I'm gonna call you up on it!
But don't worry that goddamn gorgeous face of yours honey, because after making some pretty big decisions myself over the past few years (the good, the bad and the ugly), I've done all the scary work for you. Here's some tried and tested strategies that you can pack in your back pocket, so you never make the wrong decision again.
(You're welcome) 💋
Imagine your BFF is in your shoes.
Anyone that knows me, knows I'm instinctively a bit of an advicey-type person. And it's one of the main reasons this blog even exists tbh. I've been through some stuff, and it just feels totally natural to me to want to impart what that stuff has taught me, to people that turn to me for support. (In fact, I freaking love imparting if I'm honest!)
But...that's not to say it makes my own decision-making easy-pips. Quite the contrary, and I imagine you might be the same. Isn't it just waaaay easier to advise someone else instead of yourself? So, the trick with this strategy, is to trick your brain. Imagine your closest friend was faced with the very predicament or decision you're facing. How would you suggest she approaches it? How would you help her break down her options? What would you advise her to do first, second, and third? And therein, lies your already-acquired, wonderful wisdom. You just didn't know you had it already :)
Check how you feel when you look at your reflection.
Yep, quite literally. If you imagine the potential outcomes of your decision, good or bad, do you look at yourself in the mirror and feel proud of your choice? Or do you look at yourself in the mirror and feel a bit 'off' with your choice? Picking up on the super-subtle physical cues your body gives you at times of decision is a badass skill to hone. Noticing whether your body feels like it's recoiling, or feeling heavy with dread and pressure, or whether it feels a bit lighter, brighter or more spacious inside are both crucial, but super-subtle indicators of where the truth in your choice lies.
Another test of this awesome physical instinct we have, is to take two (or more, if relevant) pieces of paper and write down your options or outcomes of a decision you're facing on each one. Put them in a bowl, close your eyes and pick out one piece of paper. Pay super-close attention to your immediate physical response – is it a sinking feeling from disappointment? Or is a expansive feeling from possibility? And bingo. You know your next choice.
Take it for a test-drive.
One of biggest takeaways from the past four years of running my business, is that clarity only really comes from action, not inaction. There's only so much pontificating and researching you can do on something before a) you've completely overwhelmed your brain with so much information that your head explodes, or b) you've driven yourself crazy thinking about it so much that you just jump into something blindly to escape the mania you've created for yourself. Uneducated guesses like these are a risky game.
But this is where taking your outcomes for a test-drive is a freaking great idea. So let me explain. Maybe you're thinking of a career change, but you're unsure whether you'll like it. Should you stay where you are, where's safe? Or take a leap of faith into the unknown and hope for the best? Or hey, what about the third option? = Experiment baby! Book a week off work (or whatever you happen to do with your time) and organise a work placement in the line of work you've been dreaming about. And yes, this means working for free financially-speaking. But it's priceless in terms of getting your chops around some real-life experience. Then with your more experienced palate, you'll know if you like the taste enough to make some changes in your roadmap. Other experimentation options might be to take a class, or an online course; basically just expand your knowledge and test out your idea in real-life. It's fool-proof!
Get real about the worst-case scenario.
So I guess the biggest thing you want to find out when you're stuck on a big decision, is working out whether your ambivalence is due to a fear that's stopping you from growing, or if it's due to a fear of your world falling down around you if you make the wrong choice. I've got a really simple solution to this. Get your notebook or even just a piece of paper, and write down the worst-case scenario that could possibly play out. Like THE WORST. In detail.
Can you honestly deal with the consequences? Can you write down the exact steps you would take to piece things back together and get things back on track? If you've a plan for if/when it all goes to pot, you've got an answer to your decision. Your ambivalence is just due to fear and that's not enough of a reason. If you can't see how you'd deal with the consequences, or possibly see what steps you could take to come back from that worst case scenario, then you've got an answer to your decision. It's probably something to avoid.
Either way you win. Your decision is made and life cracks on. But remember, if the worst case scenario for you is just the embarrassment or humiliation from failing, and you think you couldn't handle that, maybe think a bit harder on your fall-back plan. There's nothing more admirable in humans when, in front of the world, we eat some humble pie, hold our hands up, say we messed up, and show how we've learnt from something. It's really not as bad as you think.
Get carried away with the best-case scenario.
This is probably just the lot-more-fun version of the previous strategy :) but sometimes, we really need to allow ourselves to dream a bit more and worry a lot less. Really spend some time designing your best case scenario and writing it all down. Piece by piece. In detail. Where would you be and what's around you? What would you be wearing and how would you feel? Who would be with you and what does your day ahead look like? What possibilities, however crazy, are now realities in your best-case scenario? What are the tangible pay offs from your decision going fantastically well?
Just giving yourself a virtual taste of what incredible things could happen when this choice is made, can be motivation enough to make sure it works out that way. And that's sometimes all we need to make a success of something we've committed to. It's not about luck or things falling into place, it's about a quiet but relentless determination of not quitting until it's done. And I love that in you.
But overall, most decisions aren’t permanently-ingrained-in-stone-til-the-end-of-time anyway. Most decisions you make are either reversible or fixable, if things go hellishly wrong. So whatever the decision you're faced with, drop the inertia of ambivalence and overthinking, use one or more of these strategies, and just make a choice honey. You'll thank yourself for it. Then you can just move on with your life and get to the good bits!
Let me know if any of these tips worked for you by commenting below, or share these tips with a friend who needs 'em 💋