Being Decisive Matters

Making Decisions on the Fly

It’s better to be boldly decisive and risk being wrong than to agonize at length and be right too late. – Marilyn Moats Kennedy

One of the most common traits of successful leaders is the ability to make adjustments and quick decisions.

There’s nothing wrong with planning, forecasting and working out detailed processed systems. As a matter of fact, every project should begin with a strong foundation and blueprint to follow. However, anyone that’s every produced anything knows that NOTHING every goes as planned.

If you’re always worried about making mistakes, being decisive can be a major hurdle to overcome.

I grew up in a household where there was never an incentive to do great, just an understanding to make sure I didn’t fail. For example, I was a good student. I was always on the honor roll and top of my class, but on report card day I was never rewarded for the 5 “A’s,” but you could guarantee we would have a conversation about the one “B.”

To make sure I didn’t embarrass my parents, they always reminded to remember who I was and what family I belong to… In other words, don’t make mistakes.

This way of thinking brought out a lot of great qualities, but because of the fear to make mistakes and fail, I struggled with making decisions on the fly.

Making Decisions on the Fly

The biggest challenge for anyone that struggles with being indecisive is making decisions on the fly. The thought of “winging it” is a sure way to cause major stress and anxiety.

Keep in mind, your future, career and any aspirations that you have will require you to make decisions on the fly.

If you’re like most indecisive people, it’s hard to make a decision with everything. Here’s an exercise that you can do to help you start right now!

Action Steps

  1. Eliminate Options – The next time you’re at lunch, take 5 seconds, pick one thing, close your menu and place your order. Here’s another exercise visit a theater without any knowledge of a movie you want to see, take 5 seconds to look at the movie poster and then go buy a ticket. The biggest challenge is to eliminate options. The quicker you can do this, the easier it will be to make decisions on the fly.
  2. Accept Failure – The biggest killer of being decisive is perfectionism. Waiting for the perfect opportunity usually leads to doing nothing. While nobody wants to fail, accept the fact you will make mistakes, it won’t always be perfect. Use your mistakes and failures as learning opportunities. Being able to take yourself less seriously always works like great medicine.
  3. Trust Your Gut – Learning to “trust your gut” is a much as an exercise as learning to read and ride a bicycle, but with practice you’ll get better over time. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you had a gut feeling the moment you had to make a decision, but because of the “what-if” you wrestled back and forth with making a quick decision. If you can master listening to your inner voice, you’ll discover making a quick decision no longer carries such a painful sting.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice – For the next 30 days, be intentional about making quicker decisions. Setup a point system and every time you make a quick decision give yourself a point. Likewise if you revert back to your old ways, take a point away. Make a game of it and then reward yourself after your first 30 days.

Give it a shot! You could open a whole new world.

image courtesy of gary h

  • Erica Thomas

    Wow, it sounded like you were writing that exactly to me! I do this in my professional life, as well as personal life. I will definitely try all these. 

  • David Finch

    Erica, thanks for the comment. Like yourself, I’ve wrestled with it both personally and professionally. The good news is that if you keep chipping away at it you will get better.

  • Anonymous

    I love these David. I find at times it can be challenging to may decisions instantly. But at the end of the day a well thought out plan with no action behind it is useless.

    Great post!

  • David Finch

    Dave, I think it’s normal for people to be afraid to pull the trigger. However, it’s very rewarding when you put action to your plan. It has a way of putting fear in its place as well.