Every single day presents situations that require you to make decisions. Many of them feel very natural to make, perhaps you don’t even think too much about them anymore. What should I wear today? Should I take a cab or the train? These are decisions you need to make everyday, they can affect the outcome of your life for the day.
And then there are decisions you need to make that can really alter the course of your life. Such as your choice of life partner, or the job you take, or whether you should have kids or not. These matters are clearly much tougher to make a decision on especially if you only want positive outcomes (who wouldn’t?).
Making Tough Choices: How to Be a Better Decision Maker
The ability to make the right decision is not easy, which is probably why a lot of people avoid situations and positions that will require them to make important decisions. But if you’re a parent, an official in any organization, or simply a responsible adult, making tough choices is part of the “job.” The issue now is what can you do to become a smart decision-maker so you can ensure the welfare of those who depend on and trust in you?
Here are seven tips that can make decision-making a less daunting responsibility to uphold:
1. Get schooled.
There are some people who naturally are able to easily go about the process of making logical assessments of any given situation. If you’re not, better learn especially if your decision can impact the lives of many. Say, you’re one of the new team leaders in your company. You may want to consider business leadership coaching to learn about the tools and principles of smart decision-making, as well as the methods you can follow in order to study your options more effectively.
2. Study your personal set of moral values.
The struggle people experience with decision-making often stems from their established ideas of what’s wrong and right. It always helps to refer to your personal convictions and even the people who molded those beliefs in you. Going back to your moral values will help you analyze potential outcomes and risks better.
3. Listen to your gut.
Gut or instinct is described as a sophisticated natural intelligence. It has the ability to guide you to desired outcomes, when combined with scientific thinking. Your gut is usually what will prompt you to think outside of the box in making decisions so you can achieve the results you’re aiming for.
4. Don’t let emotions affect your decisions.
While the natural inclination of most people is to let their emotions guide their decisions, as a leader, you need to transcend this. Emotions usually cloud the ability to be objective and they can prompt you to make decisions even when you’re not yet ready. Learn how to control your emotions, or to not make decisions when your emotions are high.
5. Conduct research.
Collect data and read materials that are relevant to the matter you need to make a decision on. Do the legwork necessary so you are armed with relevant facts and a more informed perspective that can support your final choice.
6. Get outside your perspective.
When you’re too involved or close to the situation, you’re liable to miss certain aspects that are essential in making a thoroughly informed decision. You need someone who can look at things from a different angle and in a completely “detached,” unbiased way. This is one of the most common tips for entrepreneurs who want a well-rounded understanding of the matters that are involved in the the decision.
7. Make important decisions in the morning.
This is the practice of some of the most successful people in the world. Since thinking clearly is a must when making decisions, doing so during the early hours of the day is the logical thing to do – that time of the day when your mind is not yet cluttered with bad news and other concerns.
Making decisions takes time, effort, energy and even money. If you’re willing to devote these in order to make the right calls, no doubt you can secure the results that will benefit you and the people who trust in you.
Thanking you, Salma El-Shurafa
We are very grateful to Salma El Shurafa for sharing such a wonderful article. Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.
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