I wish I had a penny for every time I heard someone say:
“I’m thinking about it.”
“It’s on my to-do list.”
“I’ve tried so many times before…”
You see, action follows effectively only after you DECIDE to do something.
What is a Decision?
It’s not about “do it” or “don’t do it.”
A decision is a choice between alternatives. If you have only one alternative, it’s not a decision.
One of the reasons people get stuck, repeat errors or feel they “can’t get ahead” is because they see an issue as a “do” or “don’t do”, rather than a process of selecting from options.
Here are 5 steps you can follow to become better at decision-making:
1. Identify the problem or issue.
Example: Do I attend an upcoming tradeshow as a participant, knowing that it will cost quite a bit of money and take me away from my business for 3 days?
2. List alternatives.
Examples: watch sessions online/ go for a portion of time/ get someone I know to report back to me/ send an employee/ register for a contest to see if I can win a ticket to attend/ not attend
3. Select the alternative that best matches your goal(s)/objective(s)
This is where you need to know the “why”, because if you don’t know the “why” the “how” doesn’t matter.
WHY would you attend the tradeshow?
For what significant, beneficial purpose?
How would the experience make you and your business different and better than before you attended?
4. DO IT. Take action on the decision.
5. Close the loop.
Once you’ve attended the tradeshow, take time to identify if the goal(s)/ojective(s) were met. How did your attendance at the event improve and enrich your business and your life? What did you learn that you will implement?
Are you the type who will reach a fork in the road and not know which one you’ll take? Will you simply stand and ponder…wait for someone to tell you which one to take…or forge ahead taking the one less travelled or the one more frequented?
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Will you sigh when you’ve made the decision, thinking it was the other alternative that was the better choice? Or will you stand behind your decision with conviction, adjust as the path requires, change direction as sensibilities would suggest, but commit fully to the DO?
What tips can you share about effective decision-making?