What would it be worth to stop making bad decisions?

How many times have you hesitated to make a decision because you were so concerned about making the “right” one? How many times has your hesitation led to missed opportunities?

If you’re like many entrepreneurs, the answers are “lots” and “lots.”

Last week I spoke about how courage in the face of change and choices enables you to tap the power of possibilities. And, since you always have the power to choose how you’ll respond to events, you also have the power to stop making “bad” decisions. The trick lies in how you to choose to view the results of your decisions.

Here are three simple steps to eliminate both “bad” decisions and missed opportunities.

Make decisions by design, not default.

If you miss a deadline, you’ve decided by default. I’ve come to realize that, if I miss a task deadline, it typically means I was unwilling to do the task and to admit I was unwilling. For me, such situations were a classic case of decision by default.

A much more powerful – and effective – option would have been to honestly acknowledge my choice not to take action. This is decision by design.

Too often entrepreneurs “should” on themselves when it comes to deciding what actions to take to build their businesses. And all the “should”s do is weaken your confidence in yourself, increase your fear, and damage your self-esteem.

How ‘bout just finding the guts to say “no” to some things?

Assume the best.

In other words, get in the habit of setting positive expectations that things will work out for your good.

This is easier to do when you wholeheartedly commit to making a decision that’s well (not perfectly!) informed. When you’re confident you’ve given all your options careful consideration, it’s easier to get in the positive mindset of expecting positive outcomes.

You can choose not to lose.

In fact, when you’re picturing the various results you might get, it’s a great time to keep in mind Mike Dooley’s pithy reminder that “thoughts become things.”

Choose to identify and acknowledge all possible “up” sides of your various choices.

This is the real bottom line.

You know there are pros and cons to every decision. In fact, trying to figure them out is one of the key factors contributing to procrastination.

The good news is this: The fact that there are “up” sides to every decision means you can choose to see yourself as being in a no-lose situation. Go with decision A? Then you get to enjoy benefits A1, A2, and A3. Go with decision B? Then you end up enjoying positive outcomes B1, B2, and B3.

Years ago, a friend of mine was sweating over which tile she wanted to put into the master bath of her custom-built home. She kept going back and forth, back and forth, until finally I asked, “If you’re having this much trouble deciding, doesn’t that mean you like both a lot and will be happy with whichever you choose?” Silence. Then she said, “You’re right”, chose option B, and freed up her energy for all the other decisions facing her.

The beauty of this approach is that, even if the positive outcomes from your chosen decision turn out to be somewhat less positive than you’d anticipated, you’ve still  benefited from that decision: You’ve identified things to do differently and more effectively next time. See? No-lose.

So my challenge to you is to create (or strengthen) a purposefully chosen mindset that enables you to look for and find some positive outcome from every single decision you make. Stop being so afraid of making a “bad” decision that you keep yourself playing small by making no decision.

(BTW, thanks to Alan Levine for posting the “no lose” image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)

About our Guest Blogger

Kathleen Mavity realized that many people—including her—were playing and living smaller than they deserved to. She began to research, apply and share ways for getting out of our own way and joyfully stepping into a bigger game. During the course of her own journey, Kathleen was personally certified by Mike Dooley, one of the stars of The Secret and the author of Indefinite Possibilities, to teach a program based on Mike’s powerful book.  Kathleen decided long ago, that despite her MBA, she was a round peg in the square corporate hole of arbitrary rules and “That’s just how things are” thinking. As a result, she’s been successfully self-employed for the last 30 years, always serving as an information resource and problem solver for her clients. As the principle of Stepping Into Big, LLC, she serves as an ideas-to-action consultant, business coach, and as-needed butt-kicker to entrepreneurs who are stuck.  

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