Do you feel confident in your ability to make powerful decisions? Or do you worry about the path less traveled and have a severe case of FOMO when you finally do make a choice?
Making decisions can be tricky for many people, especially perfectionists and overachievers.
Worrying about what is the “right” choice or the “best” decision (of all possible decisions) can result in analysis paralysis: feeling stuck and unable to decide at all.
Deciding = death
If it feels like an option or opportunity is “dying” when you make a decision (or if you yourself feel like you are dying) realize that in a way, that’s true.
The word “decide” shares a root with “homicide” and the Latin word for decision literally means “to kill!” In essence, when you decide, you are choosing one option and killing the others.
So it makes sense that the act of deciding feels like a life or death matter. But it doesn’t have to cause fear or paralysis. You can increase your confidence in your ability to make powerful decisions.
Knowing yourself makes decisions easier
When you know who you are and what you stand for (i.e., your values and priorities), making decisions becomes easier, clearer, and faster.
Once you tap into your intuition, you develop an inner sense of knowing what choices are best for you.
Your intuition already knows what is best for you — whether or not you hear it or want to admit it is another story.
If you are a Type-A personality, you may have learned to over-rely on your brain to make decisions at the expense of your heart. This doesn’t mean your intuition isn’t there, it means you need to reconnect with it.
How to make better powerful decisions, faster and easier
By being mindful about how you approach the process, you can become more confident in your ability to make powerful decisions.
Here are 8 ways you can strengthen your decision-making skills:
1. Stop waiting for your light bulb moment. The first aspect in making any decision is to know that there is a massive gray area in which life is lived, and things are not always black and white or right and wrong. If you are sitting around waiting for a massive light bulb to click on or waiting for the perfect choice to appear, you may be waiting forever.
2. Know what’s important. Time is our most valuable resource. As such, you want to spend your time on what is most important to you. The good news is, you get to determine what those things are. This is where your values and priorities come in. Your values are the key drivers that motivate you throughout your life. (If you don’t know what your values are, a coach can work with you on determining how to identify and ensure you are honoring them in your life.) When you set priorities directly based on your values, you make choices based on what is most important.
3. Practice tuning into your gut. We spend so much of our daily lives in our heads that we become unable to identify our own gut instinct. When you find yourself rationalizing, over-thinking, or ruminating, you are caught in your own mind. One way to get out of your mind is to tune into your intuition. Start to notice the immediate reactions you experience (whether you pull away, get excited, or feel fear) and question what that means for you. Is it telling you something is a great opportunity, even if it makes you a little scared? Or that something feels off or out of balance?
4. Clear your mind. Simply sit for a few minutes in silence. Instead of trying not to think, watch your thoughts go by as if you are unattached. Practice being the non-judgmental observer. If you feel you have too much energy or you can’t imagine sitting still, try going for a solo walk in nature. Practice noticing the environment around you, birds chirping, wind rustling through the trees, the sun on your shoulders. Simply be aware of your thoughts without engaging in them. By quieting your mind, you build your awareness of your thoughts and feelings.
5. Strengthen your decision-making in small ways. Don’t get hung up on the little things. Don’t agonize over right and wrong when it doesn’t really matter (i.e., what to eat for dinner or what to watch on TV.) Practice honoring the first thought that comes to your mind, and take a chance on it. There’s no need to wait until you’re 100% certain. The more you can practice making the small or more trivial choices, the easier it will get to make the bigger decisions.
6. Trust yourself and the universe. One definition for fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Often we have no proof that a fear will come true, but we believe it anyway. Instead of believing the fear, why not believe the opposite. Instead of asking yourself, what could go wrong, ask what could go right? Trust yourself to make the best decisions on your behalf. Know that the universe will support you and guide you on the right path.
7. Consider what is best for you at this time. The best way to decide is to consider what is best for you at this time. Yes, there are endless possibilities. But that fact shouldn’t cause you to go in such a tailspin that you can’t take one step forward. Given what you know, what is the most optimal choice for you to make at this time? If you get more information later, you can choose again. Right now, what is the best possible next step?
8. Let it go. Last, you must be willing to let go of the paths and choices not taken. Let go of the options you didn’t consider. Let go of wondering “what if” about the other options you didn’t consider, or said no to. Instead, focus on making the most of your choice, and know that there is a reason behind the path you chose. Once you tap into your own confidence, you are more likely to see the positive aspects of the path before you.
How confident do you feel in your decisions? What do you think would make you feel even more confident?
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