When I first started working in my last organisation, I struggled with knowing when and how decisions were made. For perhaps a year, I asked pretty much everyone and anyone I met, ‘how do you know when a decision is a decision around here?’
Eventually someone took pity on me and offered a concrete example of a decision (no pun intended!). He said you know a decision has been made when the building has been knocked!
It has always stayed with me as an image of a decision. There’s no more vacillating about what we can do with a building when it’s no longer a building!
We all have patterns of decision making. Here are a few to reflect upon,
- I’ll think about it
- Pros and Cons list
- Ask other people
- Over analyse
- Decide but then change your mind
- Decide and then regret it (buyer’s remorse!)
- Decide but don’t follow through
- Decide for later, I’ll do it in three months, when the kids go to school, when I retire…
What’s your pattern? Do you vacillate, one day you’re going to leave your relationship and the next day you’re staying? Or you make a decision about a holiday destination and next week you’ve talked yourself out of it or been talked out of it by someone else? You leap in but then repent at leisure? Are you caught in analysis paralysis?
If you’re not sure, start to observe your own behaviour. Notice how you make decisions, the daily ones, like ‘what am I going to eat for lunch today?’, as well as the bigger, life event decisions. It’s important for you to know your patterns if you want to change them!
And the reason you may want to change them is because as a dream builder and results creator, indecision is not your friend. In the words of Raymond Charles Barker,
“Indecision is actually the individual’s decision to fail”.
The reason indecision is so harmful is that in a world where everything is energy, there is no stasis. Nothing is ever staying the same. If you or I are not moving forward, we’re not staying still either, we’re actually moving backwards. Indecision creates disintegration.
So if you find yourself stuck in a quandary of indecision, do I stay or do I go, will I buy or not buy, should I do it or not, the invitation is to make a decision today to Stop that.
And here’s something you can do instead: it’s called Advance Decision Making.
Think of the decision you are stuck on at the moment. Now engage with your future self. Imagine it’s 20 years from now, it’s September 2042 and you’re looking back to 20 years ago and you’re remembering the dilemma you had at the time. As your 2042 self – how do you want to remember yourself? How do you want to have resolved that issue in a way that future you feels proud? How would you love to be able to use that decision as a means of sharing with your kids or grandkids an important life lesson?
You can make an advance decision now, based on that future version of yourself. How do I want to have shown up? Your response to that can guide your behaviours now.
Consider this in the context of my decision to stop drinking alcohol over 7 years ago. I was working in my job and building my coaching business on the side. I was doing coach training and seeing clients on the weekends. One Saturday morning I woke up, not hugely hung over but a bit lethargic after some wine and pizza the night before. That morning I was meeting some coaching clients and I really didn’t like my energy.
I was an unconscious competent at the time as regards advance decision making. But I knew that I wanted to be able to look back on my coaching career proud of how I’d shown up for my clients. I knew I wanted my energy to be clean and to always be able to be fully present, not just to clients but to myself and to friends and family. Based on that knowing, I made an advance decision there and then to stop drinking alcohol.
That decision had a feeling and energy about it that was non-negotiable! I never looked back. I was only just becoming aware of the art of effective decision making but I knew I had made a line in the sand decision and it was qualitatively different to previous decisions when I had ‘fasted’ from alcohol. On previous occasions, I’d argue with myself: maybe I’ll just have one, or I’ll just have a drink on the weekends, or I’ll just have a drink when there is an occasion or celebration. And I’d have felt pressure from others to have a drink because they thought I’d enjoy myself more if I had a drink with them.
Please know I’m not advocating that everyone stops drinking alcohol! I’m just sharing that when I made an advance decision to stop, I was able to stand in the power of that decision and it changed me.
So, what about you? What’s the decision you’ve been prevaricating on? What does future you know about how you want to look back on this moment in your life. How do you want to show up today so that future you is proud of the choices and decisions you made?
When you have the awareness of your future self guiding you, it adds courage and conviction to make the decision and begin the process of being that version of you now.
Decide today to be the person who makes that future version of you possible.
If you are struggling with decisions and would love a way forward sign up for a complimentary strategy session here. We’ll spend some time together understanding what’s not working for you currently, clarify your vision for what you’d love and explore how coaching can help.