Personal Development

Being Decisive

Making decisions is one of those important tools in your arsenal that you don’t realize is one. You make decisions all the time, right? You decide to get out of bed at the alarm, you decide whether to shower in the morning or not, you decide what to wear, you decide what to eat. It’s no big deal.

Yet, how many times has the following happened to you?

Person A: “Ok, lunch time! What do you want to get to eat today?”
Person B: “I don’t know. Whatever’s fine. Do you have anywhere in mind?”
Person A: “No, I’m fine with anything, too.”
Person B: “Ok….”

Before you know it, 5 minutes have elapsed, and no one has made the simple decision about where they are going to eat! It may very well be true that no one has a preference, but someone has to propose a solution and get moving to avoid starvation. It might as well be you.

Being decisive helps move you forward in a very deliberate way as opposed to coasting on current circumstances. Whether a small or big decision, it has been made, and action can be taken immediately. Take a step in a direction deliberately. You can almost always take a step back if it turns out to be a mistake. If that restaurant is closed, well, now you know, and you can go somewhere else. That raise or new job you want may not be available, but now you know and can stop wasting mental effort on wondering.

But the restaurant might be open, or you may get the raise you want! All because you decided to go for it!

Being indecisive can result in subpar experiences because you either stay in a situation you aren’t happy with, or someone/something forces your hand, putting you in a situation you don’t want to be in.

If you let other people decide where you’ll be and when you’ll be there, and you’ll find that you never know when you have time for yourself. You’ve abdicated responsibility for your time! I know, because I allowed such a situation to happen to me. It was just easier to let all plans and scheduling go through a girlfriend I had, but one day I realized that it was hard for me to schedule time for myself since I never knew what was already scheduled for me! “I’m going to write a few blog posts today.” “You can’t. We’re playing D&D today.” “Oh.” More often, someone would ask me if I wanted to go do something that weekend, and I would have to say, “I don’t know. I have to ask if I’m already doing something then.” Getting my own calendar and keeping it up-to-date was liberating because I could know exactly what I was doing and when. It also sets a tone that I’m in charge of my life and that I haven’t given that responsibility to someone else.

You may not know where you stand with someone you are interested in, but until you decide to find out, you are in an uncertain situation. Get out of it by making a decision! The other person might make a decision…by going with someone who is a bit more assertive. Get married, or not. Date, or don’t. Have a serious discussion about your relationship, or leave things up in the air.

You know your business needs all the marketing help you can get, but you’re not sure if you should buy a marketing info product. It came highly recommended from someone you trust, and it costs less than $75. Let’s be real. Worst case? You are out $75. Big deal. You’ll make it back in no time. I don’t even need to tell you what the best case might be. This one should be a no-brainer, but sometimes you hem and haw about these decisions.

Being decisive is a skill that you need everywhere in your life, not just for the mundane but for your business. Like any skill, you need to practice it. Those no-brainer decisions you don’t make? They get a lot easier once you get comfortable with doing the deciding in your life. Start by suggesting where you want to eat, even if you don’t actually have a preference. Start by suggesting that everyone take your car, or what movie to see, or what snacks to get, or any number of little decisions. Pretty soon, you’ll be comfortable suggesting what destination to go to for road trip, or what to discuss at a business meeting, or what web hosting package to get, or what city you want to live in.

If it is important, make a decision. By not making a decision, you are saying that it isn’t an important enough decision to make. Don’t complain about the consequences if you leave it up to the rest of the world to decide for you. Take charge. Be decisive.