Success in any arena depends on your ability to make excellent decisions. Solid decisions follow the guiding principles of your heart and your head.
We are faced with decisions all day long:
- Saying “I do!”
- Making a purchase
- Believing what someone tells you
- Changing careers
- Starting a business
And the list goes on.
We make tons of decisions, agonizing over which is best, wondering what will last longer, and asking ourselves how will this serve me. Every decision you make is influenced by your biases, emotions and memories.
Most decisions happen unconsciously. Somewhere in the recesses of your mind, you have experiences that determine how you look at your options, your feelings about them, and your fears of making the wrong choice.
There’s a process or set of rules that every successful entrepreneur, businessperson or industrialist should follow when making a decision.
Here are the top 10 rules to live by when making positive, trustworthy and serving decisions:
Rule #1: Remove the mindset of “I’ll make a decision when I get all the facts.”
This is analysis paralysis. There will always be ONE more piece of fact or information that you need to make that decision. If you buy into this thinking, you will never make a decision. Don’t forget the facts but don’t let gathering the facts be your excuse for not making a decision.
Rule #2: Get out of your comfort zone.
This means break up your routine and your usual way of thinking. Change your thought pattern. Human beings love familiarity and will do everything to protect knowing where to go next. We get stuck in the same old rut of doing what’s always worked – or so we think it always worked. There are other solutions. Find them. Practice creative decision-making.
Rule #3: Align with your values.
Ask yourself a few questions such as, “Does this decision reflect who I am and what I believe to be right?” and “Will this decision compromise my self-respect?” This isn’t a one-time process. Continually check in with your values. If they support your decision, then you’ll know it’s the “RIGHT ONE.”
Rule #4: Find out what others think.
Don’t confuse this with doing what they tell you to do. This could be your coworkers, boss, spouse, mentor or friend. Instead of asking what they think of your decision, ask them what they think of the facts or the situation. Ask what they would do. You may pick up alternative ways of thinking about your decision. One important key here is to only ask people you respect and trust.
Rule #5: Seek the advice of an expert.
This piggybacks on Rule #4, but it goes further in selecting a person who knows more about the facts through experience, education and knowledge. Asking an expert is wise when it comes to serious decisions such as a medical or legal decision. Doing this may require more time spent in making your decision, but it will minimize your risk. This is why it is important to build a team of experts in your life.
Rule #6: Let it be someone else’s decision.
In a word – delegate. You can’t do everything. In some instances, you don’t have the time to research and compare varying solutions. So, make good use of your team, direct reports and peers to take a piece of the puzzle and report back to you.
Rule #7: Listen to your intuition.
Both men and women have it so use it! Those gut feelings or hunches you have are there for the sole purpose of shaking up your certainty. When you are overly certain or confident about a course of action and your “feeling” says otherwise, you’d be smart to listen to that feeling. When something “looks right” but “feels wrong,” it is a message to pay close attention.
Rule #8: Accept that you may make the wrong decision.
Every decision has its risks – looking foolish, uninformed, or simply failure of the desired outcome. The rule is if you’re not failing sometimes, you aren’t taking enough risk. When you miss the mark or make a “decision mistake,” use it as a learning experience, not something to stop you from making future decisions.
Rule #9: You can always change your mind.
Decisions can be adjusted. When you need to change or adjust, do it decisively. Throw out the “I’ll try” mentality. Making a change is important when you use foresight or insight to determine if you are on a wrong path. Changing your mind is knowing when to cut your losses and focus elsewhere.
Rule #10: Learn how to handle failure.
Rejection is a part of decision making. It’s not the failure that hurts you, but your reaction to the failure. Successful people accept the failure, learn from it, and tackle it again. They get back on the horse to ride another day.
Positive decision making shouldn’t be confused with correct decision making. No one can be right 100% of the time. When you follow these ten rules, you will almost always make a positive decision 100% of the time.
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