Are you holding back from making a major organizational change you know is best in the long term, but you just don’t know how to get started?
Whether it’s changing your business model, upping your marketing game, or rethinking your customer service practices, some decisions just seem so, well… big. And intimidating. And downright painful. In these situations, we can become paralyzed and unable to take action.
But inaction isn’t the answer. Because the longer you avoid the decision, the more scary that decision becomes. Likewise, the longer you avoid change, the more daunting change becomes.
Don’t get caught in the indecision trap! Take these steps and you’ll soon be on your way to being Captain Decisive! Or at least Corporal Decisive.
Step 1: Educate yourself
Inaction often comes from a lack of knowledge and understanding that prevents us from being able to make a good decision. Overcome this problem by doing your homework. Read up, ask questions, and seek advice from knowledgeable people.
A word of caution: Be careful about turning to well-meaning friends, family members, or associates who want to give you advice but don’t really have the knowledge or experience to accurately assess the situation. Talking with people who are familiar with the subject matter will allow you to gather facts instead of emotional reactions.
Step 2: Make a decision
But only in your mind. If you’ve gathered your facts and think you’re ready to commit, but still have hesitations about putting it out there to the world, you can make the decision internally and sit with it for a bit. This can work for teams as well. Just keep it quiet amongst the group until you’ve collectively decided to move forward.
Try it on for a while and see how it feels. Think and act as though you’ve made the decision and the change. Does it feel right? Do your shoulders feel lighter? Is there a spring in your step? Great! Then move on to the next step of telling people about your decision.
But what if doesn’t feel right? What if you’re losing sleep or getting the sweats over it? This could mean a couple of things. Either it’s not the right decision, or it is the right decision, but it’s going to be tough.
Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of. Is it the decision itself or the fear of what it’s going to take to follow through with it?
If it’s the fear that’s holding you back, you need to think about your long term strategy. Lots of things that are painful in the short term are worth doing. Childbirth. Exercise. Eyebrow waxing. If the results are what you want, the fear shouldn’t stop you.
However, if the decision itself feels unfair, unrealistic, or even unlawful, those are legitimate red flags. Make some tweaks to your internal decision and try again. Re-evaluate until you get it right.
Step 3: Get started
How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.
You can use this same logic to move you toward your decision and your goals. Commit to accomplishing one thing each day, and keep that momentum going.
No matter how big or small, do something that will move you in the right direction. It might be as easy as making a phone call, reading an article, setting or attending a meeting, writing a plan, or making a commitment to hire or reallocate resources.
Some days will be more productive than others, and that’s okay. If you’ve got multiple people working on this issue, make sure everyone on the team is participating in the one-thing-a-day program, and your results will be exponential.
Making decisions can be stressful, but being stuck in the land of indecision is even more nerve-wracking. There’s no clarity, no direction, and nowhere to go. There is only the pain of knowing something needs to happen that isn’t.
Once you’ve made a decision, you can focus on solutions. You can focus on mitigating damage. You can focus on improvement, learning, and growth. Sometimes, this means focusing on your next big achievement.
And that's where the magic happens.
Photo by Yulia Kireeva