We’re all facing information overload these days. Trouble is, that information – whether it comes as emails, texts, tasks or questions – all to often demands action. Is it any wonder so many of us feel like we can't make a decision?
Big or small, profound or banal, our days are a series of choices. All of them take energy and time, and the longer they sit on your list the more they can start to feel that they’re sapping valuable brainpower. Yet sometimes the more pressure there is to take action, the more trapped you feel: as though you just can’t make a decision.
So knowing how to move forward when you can’t make a decision is a godsend. And this simple 4 step process is one you can share with every woman you know.
When it comes to supporting your clients, team or friends, sharing a step-by-step flow to make decisions with ease can be one of the most effective ways to make a difference.
You don’t need any expertise on what it is they’re choosing when you can help them access their inner ability to move forward. And it can make a serious difference to their effectivness.
So, without further ado, here are 4 steps to take for anyone who can’t make a decision:
4 steps to follow if you can’t make a decision
#1 Identify what’s happening
This sounds obvious, but it’s crucial. And surprisingly common to miss.
So many of us don’t recognise we’re lost in “analysis paralysis” until we’re way down the rabbithole of different options – the consequences of choosing X; the possible repercussions of Y; the strategic implications of Z.
If someone else comes to you they’ll often start by presenting you with a whole list of possibilities, or a simple cry for help: I have no idea what to do next!
Taking a moment to frame what’s happening – what decision needs to be made – is really important.
Listen to what’s being said, and clearly reflect back the decision that’s being asked.
Right. I need to decide how to respond to that client’s complaint.
So you have to choose what you’re going to be doing for Christmas, and let your family know.
Sounds to me as though it’s time to make a decision about what you want from the future of your relationship.
#2 Step back – and become the Queen
Just getting that clarity is often enough to get rid of some of the panic, and move towards taking action.
The next step is to put yourself firmly in the best possible mindset to make your choice.
Who's in charge right now? We all have many different sides to us, not all of which are helpful. See if any of these sound familiar:
- The good girl
- The people-pleaser
- The high-achiever
- The perfectionist
One of the hallmarks of “analysis paralysis” is the sensation of going round in circles, listening to the “chorus” of roles in our minds and trying desperately to make a decision by committee.
But you only need ONE wise, trusted inner voice to make a decision.
How can you connect to that voice?
At One of many we use 5 Women’s PowerTypes when it comes to resourcing our leadership from within. And top of the decision-making tree is the Queen.
Queens by their nature are responsible for making lots of decisions. But they’re also uniquely able to make those choices confidently. They’re infallible, after all – divinely appointed, unquestioned, and respected.
So, when you’re finding it challenging to move forward, take a deep breath and play with the idea of being the “Queen”. Maybe even mime donning your crown or fastening your robe – by all means, have some fun with this!
What if ANY choice you made was guaranteed to be right?
As the Queen, you can’t make a wrong decision when you act wisely and calmly. Take a moment to imagine how things would feel if you believed that to be true.
#3 What do you know in your heart?
This powerful question is the next vital step towards taking action. It might sound fluffy – especially if you’re not used to consulting your “heart” when it comes to big choices – but it’s actually the opposite.
When we try to predict the future, we get tangled up in knots. We think we’re being logical, rational and measured. But the truth is, none of us know exactly what’s going to happen. What we do is tell ourselves stories; and those stories can be incredibly persuasive.
By framing the question in this way, you allow yourself to let go of that “overthinking” brain and tap into a part of yourself that’s centred.
When you ask “what do I know in my heart” you move the focus from outcomes you can’t possible predict, to wisdom you can be sure of having.
Put it on paper, and you’re ready for step 4.
#4 Ask yourself, do I have enough information to make this decision?
The beauty of this process is that, by the time you get to this step, you’re in calm mode.
You’re trusting yourself; you’ve connected to your wise, infallible self, and you’ve noted down all that you know to be true.
The next question is a yes/no one. Do I have enough information to make this decision?
The answer might be yes. When you’ve looked at the situation through fresh eyes, you can see what needs to be done, even if it’s an action you’ve been avoiding. Note down what that action is – and do it
If no, then it’s clear why you haven’t been able to make the decision. But again, the key is to take action. Identify exactly what information you need – could be another person’s opinion, some facts or figures, or more data on the implications of a certain course – and take action straight away to get the information you need.
When you’ve made the decision
Celebrate! The relief of moving into action and no longer feeling the weight of a choice “hanging over you” cannot be underestimated.
Side effects include powering through the rest of your list, suddenly breathing more deeply than you have in weeks, and feeling able to make a whole bunch of other choices with ease. That’s the power of getting your Queen on, baby!
You’ll never know what might have happened if you’ve chosen differently. So don’t waste any time second guessing yourself. A Queen would never doubt the wisdom of her decision in the moment.
But it’s important to remember that any decision will have consequences. So you do need to pay attention to the feedback you get from your decision. If you’re walking someone else through this process, it might be helpful to prepare them for this:
"So you’ve decided what you’re going to do. Now you’ll get to see how they respond/ what happens next / how you feel about this."
And when you have that information, you can take the next appropriate action, knowing you can trust that you made the best possible decision you could to get to this place.
Do you want to help more women trust themselves to make powerful decisions?
If you’d like to practice this decision-making process in person, and learn how you can use the tool with others to create powerful results, join me for Essential Skills for Coaching Women.
It’s just one of the coaching tools I’ll be teaching in person at this live one day workshop, happening in London on 21st November or Manchester on 29th.
I’d love to see you there in person – click here to book your ticket.
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