Imagine it’s December 15th and Sherri is sitting at her desk late at night, wringing her hands and contemplating the last 11 months. She is frustrated because what she REALLY wanted to do this year was hire an Administrative Assistant. That never happened, and for months she has put in countless extra hours performing administrative tasks that could’ve been delegated. Now the holidays are upon her and she is tired, worn out and the last thing she wants to think about is planning for the new year. Why wasn’t help hired?
Next, we witness Jerry, Director of Sales, driving home feeling deflated from falling well short of his sales goals for the year. He had hoped to surprise his family with a BIG vacation to Europe, before his daughter moves across country to start college. He wonders how he got so off track. Why didn’t he pay closer attention to prospecting, time management, and what he really needed to do to reach his goals?
And finally Carol, tense and irritable because her laptop is slow and her printer keeps jamming, slowing her down from completing her work, would rather be spending evenings preparing for the holidays with her family, but instead she is at the office trying to meet deadlines. Why didn’t she just spend the money to get the right technology so that she could complete her work quicker and be in a position to pick up extra graphic design clients?
For all three, the “Why” can be answered with one word: Decision. We all make decisions every day, choosing to DO or NOT TO DO something. Either way, it is still a decision. Nothing happens without first making a decision and then acting upon it. We often ask ourselves, “Why didn’t I do that?” “What stopped me?” or “Why am I having a tough time deciding?”
Here are some reasons that keep people from deciding:
The Fear Factor
The fear of failure, making a mistake, rejection, loss and letting others down all keep us from making a decision and moving forward. How would you decide what is best for your family if you had to choose between a pay raise and moving them across the country away from their friends and family? Fear definitely enters in.
Not having a clear vision creates confusion. How do you know which path to take if you do not know where you want to go? Having a clear, concise vision of what you want is the only way to decide how to get there. How would you know who to hire if you do not have an exact job description in place?
Lack of Information
You can make a decision without a lot of information. However, for most they feel they need lots of information before they take action. Many times a person can make a decision and move forward with enough information to get started. Take Carol from the example – how would she know what technology package is best for her office, if she isn’t clear on what her office really needs? Or, does she know, but keeps making excuses, thinking something better will come along?
Not Taking Action
Sometimes a decision is difficult to make because you don’t know all the steps that have to be done, and hence worry about missing something – this links directly back to fear. Options always exist – what if you don’t take the best steps to increase your sales or plan your dream vacation?
Unwilling to Do What It Takes
Some people may call this Laziness. We know what the right decision is and we just do NOT do it. Why? Often the right decision is one that requires more time, effort and/or money than we initially thought it would take. We may know that in order to lose weight we need to burn more calories than we consume; however, it takes more effort to crawl out of bed at 5:00 am on a cold, dark morning to go to the gym than it does to stay warm and comfortable in bed, so we just don’t do it.
Napoleon Hill stated that Procrastination, the opposite of Decision, is a common enemy which practically every man must conquer.
So how do we conquer Procrastination and lack of Decision?
Realize that fear is a mindset
Taking the approach that making a “wrong” decision is not failure but an opportunity to learn and grow eliminates the fear. Have you ever asked yourself what decisions you would make if you knew for certain that you would not fail, lose or let someone down?
Create a definite vision for what you want
Dream it, write it, verbalize it, and DO it! The more detailed you become about your vision, the better. Set aside quiet time to really think about what you want and why you want it, until the decision feels right and you’re emotionally engaged in that decision (because emotion drives motivation). Set a date for what you want to accomplish and come up with a plan. Once you know for certain what you want, do not let obstacles get in your way. Set your eye on the prize, decide, and go for it.
Gather the information needed to make an educated decision, then make it – and DON’T look back
You can’t drive forward while looking in the rear view mirror. While successful individuals are able to make decisions quickly and stick to them, this does not mean they are uneducated decisions. If you are uncertain of something, do your research within a reasonable timeline (yes, set timelines even for conducting research). Counsel from others can be a useful tool as long as they are able to stay objective, providing you information and not opinions about what is best for you. Give yourself a little test to see what you think your counsel might guide you on – even before you consult them. Feel confident in your decision and then move toward your action steps IMMEDIATELY. Remember, fear will try to hold you back – don’t let it.
Do not let FOMO paralyze you
We live in a society of opportunity. Don’t miss the great things you have right in front of you because you are worried about missing out on something better. Who is to say that just because you decide to take the Hawaiian vacation now, that you cannot take the European vacation later? Just make a decision, stick to it, and enjoy the outcome.
Resist the temptation to do what is easy
It has been said that the thing you want to do least is the thing you need to do most. Remember that the easy way indulges instant gratification. It may feel good now but may not be the best long-term solution. Would a salesperson rather do more prospecting, invest in their sales skills or get an accountability partner, OR just float by day after day and not focus on goals, actions steps and accountability? Most will pick kicking back and relying on what they have always relied upon, instead of taking a leap and investing their time, effort and money into something that will help their sales catapult. Many often miss the bigger picture, that smart work and self-discipline pay off. Remember this the next time you are faced with making a decision that you know is the right thing, but the hard thing to do.
Big or small, all decisions are significant
Our decisions shape who we are, what we do with our lives and how we measure success. Imagine what Sherri could achieve in the following year when she decides to hire that new administrative assistant. Imagine how proud Jerry will feel when he is on vacation with his family after he decides to ramp up his prospecting and be more focused on his sales activity. And imagine what Carol will do with the time she frees up when she decides and then makes the investment in a new computer and printer.
YOU have the potential to DO more, BE more and HAVE more by simply making a DECISION. If millions of people around the world can do it, YOU can do it too!