The real problem with making the wrong decision, and how to fix it.
What to do, what to do, what to do?
Do you ever spin out about how you are going to get it all done or whether or not you should commit to something? Do you spend hours weighing out the options or trying to research an answer? Do you talk to your friends endlessly about whatever it is you are trying to decide without getting any closer to an actual decision?
The problem isn’t whether or not you are going to make the right decision.
The problem is, how hard you are going to be on yourself based on the results of that decision?
What if you could just believe that you made the best decision possible with the information you had? What if, (brace yourself) you were allowed to change your mind!!! And change it without a ton of drama about how you should have known better?
What if we took the value judgement out of the decision all together?
Consider this, you are driving to work and there are 2 different routes. The one route is a little longer but the traffic generally moves faster. The other route is shorter but has more traffic lights. So, if you’re like me, you pick the faster traffic route…and then, in the wisdom that only the NJ Division of Public Works has, two of three lanes are closed for road work during the morning commute..and the faster route turns into a parking lot.
We have all been in situations like this. We weigh our options and ultimately choose one way only to find out that the other way would have had what we feel is a better result. In the example above, do we sit there, chastising ourselves for our stupidity for the choice we made? Of course not! We sit there wondering who in the world makes the timing decisions of roadwork.
And yet, when it comes to other decisions in our lives, we hem and haw, wondering what we should do and ultimately doing nothing other than taking a long swim in the ocean of overwhelm. Out of fear of making the wrong decision, we make no decision at all.
Now admittedly, there are decisions that can have a bigger impact than being late for work, Investment decisions, parenting decisions, lifestyle decisions. Somehow we attach our own value to the results of these decisions. Because of this, it makes us afraid to move forward, to even try. If our personal value lies in the result of our decisions we can become stuck in analysis paralysis.
What should I do? How should I do it? Am I sure? What are all the possible permutations of outcomes? What will happen if I choose “wrong”?
Good news. You can’t choose wrong.
Try to believe me on this one. Put your disbelief aside for a minute it you truly want to combat overwhelm for good.
How free would you feel if you decided that making the best decision with the information you have was ENOUGH? What if, instead of planning on the beat down that you are going to give yourself if you “fail”, you just evaluated the decision and the result and course corrected? When was the last time you made a decision that you wished you hadn’t and your response to yourself was “well isn’t that interesting? Let’s not do that again.”
Would your life be different?
This applies to all decisions. Decisions to whether or you want to try a new diet or decisions to go back to school.
Decisions aren’t always a one way street
(but it won’t matter either way if you stay off the road altogether).
Here’s the good news (I always have some good news). The more decisions you make and the more you practice separating the outcome from your value, the less painful it will be to deal with the disappointment of a decision not turning out the way you had hoped. You become more resilient and with resilience comes a comfort with taking action, a comfort that lies in the knowledge that whatever happens, you will have your own back.
Taking action is much less scary if you don’t put too much weight on the decision you're making being the “right” one. The fastest way to know if it’s right is to try it.
If it doesn’t turn out the way you want, throw it in the “isn’t that interesting” pile for future reference.
Remember, perfectionism is just a fancy way of procrastinating.
You tell yourself (subconsciously of course) that if you never make a decision, you can't be wrong.
But you can't move forward either.
Make a the best decision you can and see what happens.
If you decide you did your best and you can choose again, it's not that big a deal.
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