Whether it’s because we’re trying to appease everyone, or because the question at hand can change the trajectory of our futures, making good decisions can be hard. This is especially true for those who are operating in high-stress environments or are prone to anxiety or people-pleasing. The comforting fact of the matter is that there’s no one right answer to the questions of life, and if something is for you it can’t pass you by…that being said, it’s important to be confident in the steps we take and the way we navigate life. To help you out, here’s our eight-step guide to help you make clear-cut decisions that you can feel good about.
Limit your choices. Too many choices can lead to decision fatigue or make you feel overwhelmed. So, rather than exploring the world of endless opportunities at your feet, narrow your choices down to prevent feeling stuck.
Make a plan. When you proactively prepare for difficult situations by thinking things through before they happen, you equip yourself with a roadmap that you can follow in the future.
Focus on what’s important. When you have your core objectives in mind, it can help put your options into perspective. Rather than weighing all of the pros and cons from a general sense, think about how your options will impact your ability to reach your goals.
Trust your gut. Sometimes you won’t have objective facts to inform your decision-making. In the absence of clear-cut data or evidence, your intuition will usually kick in and pull you in one direction versus the other. Follow your intuition–it’s there for a reason. In fact, there’s even scientific evidence to support the link between your gut and mental function, even when you’re not consciously aware of why it’s taking place…they don’t call it a gut feeling for no reason.
Go within. This goes hand-in-hand with trusting your gut. What’s right for you may not look like what’s right for everyone else, and while it’s important to consider different factors and external evidence, what’s happening in the world around you may not be the best reflection of your circumstances and the decision that’s right for you. Don’t let the voice of the masses sway you.
Avoid making impulse decisions. Oftentimes, the decisions you make when you’re under stress aren’t the best in the long run. This is because you’re approaching them from the narrow lens of urgency (or even fear), rather than looking at the bigger picture. Allow yourself the space and time to think clearly and approach each critical question with a sound mind and open heart.
Use a decision-making framework. Having a method to the madness can make all the difference. If having a step-by-step guide to make better decisions would be helpful, we recommend using the following frameworks:
If you’re a leader, Harvard Business Review’s Leader’s Framework for Decision-Making is a powerful guide to choosing what’s right for your team, product, and organization
If you’re making an ethical decision, Santa Clara University shares their six ethical lenses that you should consider and how to put them to use when making a decision. They include the Rights Lens, Justice Lens, Utilitarian Lens, Common Good Lens, Virtue Lens and the Care Ethics Lens.
Understand that there’s always space for grace. Even if your decision doesn’t turn out to be the most ideal in the long run, you still have the opportunity to learn and grow from your mistake. Acknowledging that your choices aren’t fatal will help you be more confident even when you’re unsure of the best path to take.