Do you ever struggle with making decisions? Are you one of those people who agonize over their choices? I am not. I am one of those who can make a decision and generally be satisfied. For the most part, even when things don't turn out exactly as I would like, I don't have regrets. I have learned to be kind to myself, recognizing that I have done the best I could do with the information I was given.
Of course, the life span of a decision making process varies depending on the person and the subject. Some findings are easy to come to, while others take a long time to manifest. It matters not. The only wasted time is when we are not actively seeking to come to some sort of resolution. I often refer to this as "limbo land" -- when we are just hanging in limbo doing nothing to resolve things, while our stress levels mount due to our inactivity. That is no fun.
I haven't always been so decisive, mind you. It's just that I have a simple but effective process that helps me come to the conclusions I need to. And it works. I'd like to highlight the progressive steps I call The Top Ten C's in Conclusions.
1. Be cognizant. To be cognizant means to be aware and informed. Gather all the information you need to make an educated decision. If you need to know something just ask someone or research the topic. The more knowledge you have, the less regrets you have later. This is the foundation of all decision making.
2. Give consideration. Give regard other ideas that may seem unusual to you. Pay attention to new ways of thinking and looking at challenges. There are often many solutions to a situation, but sometimes we can only see what we are familiar with.
3. Use caution. Having said the above, also notice anything that really does not feel right for you. We innately know when things feel "icky." Notice and acknowledge these feelings for the very important message they are sending you.
4. Clarify. Combine the first three steps given here -- cognizance, consideration and caution -- and see if there is anything that is perplexing to you. If there is, repeat the first three steps until you understand all the implications involved. When you are clear, move ahead and...
5. Get Comfortable. Give yourself some time and to get used to new insights and make adjustments as you need to. No stress -- just acclimate yourself.
6. Enlist cooperation. Hey, who wants to make decisions alone? Talk with somebody (or Somebody) about things. Share your ideas and get the support you need. Build your support team!
7. No character compromises. You are in integrity when what you think, say and do are all in alignment. Check and then double (and triple) check to make sure that you are not compromising your character in any way.
8. Feel your confidence. At this stage of your conclusion process, you should feel pretty good about your progress. Don't allow fear to get in the way! If there are doubts, go back and repeat the above steps until you feel confident about your desired outcome.
9. Have conviction. Beyond confidence lies conviction. Here you have developed a viewpoint and have certain beliefs that will propel you forward. Expect the best! Sometimes faith is our greatest conviction -- let it carry you on to...
10. Commitment. It is here that the conclusion process stops. It is here that one takes outward actions to come to the conclusions needed. It is here that I borrow the Nike slogan and say, "Just do it."
The next time you are wrestling with a decision follow these steps and see of it doesn't make the process easier. It works for me!
Oh! And if all else fails, add #11 to this top ten list -- flip a COIN.
Beth Burns is a Professional Life Coach, partnering with motivated people on their personal and professional goals.