Make Decisions Like A Boss
Have you ever stopped to think about the process you go through when you’re faced with making a decision? Have you ever noticed how that process can disrupt you and your peace of mind leading up to the actual decision point?
Most of us, when faced with a decision bigger than “which should I wear? Grey or black socks?” will go through a similar process to figure out what the ‘right’ thing to do is: we’ll think about it, make a list of pros and cons, consult with friends about what they think…
The thing is, when you’re making decisions using that process, most of the time you’re left feeling like you have to defend what you’ve decided to do:
- You’ve decided to leave a job and now you have to explain (or defend) your choice to other people
- You’ve decided that you want to give that relationship one more try and as you tell people that’s what you’re doing, you feel like you have to defend your choice… you may even avoid telling some people because of the reaction you’re afraid you’ll get from them!!
- You’ve decided you want to end a relationship and then you have to explain your reasoning to your close friends to make sure they think you’re doing the right thing and not following an old pattern.
Being stuck in that situation is never fun and until you become aware of the issue, it’s impossible to actually do something different. I recently had an eye opening experience that made what I’m talking about in this article crystal clear for me. It really distinguished the difference between:
- Doing something because that’s what was right for me
- Doing something because it looks like the best option based on all the circumstances
What I learned through this situation was a game changing lesson about personal power and making people wrong.
Just pick already!!
When it became clear to me that I needed to end the relationship I immediately started rationalizing the reasons that supported what I was going to do. Basically I made a mental list of all the things that obviously pointed me in the direction of pulling the pin.
This process went on over the course of about 4 days and the whole time I could feel my anxiety level climbing. I felt jumpy, ill at ease, and by the fourth day noticed that I was becoming really defensive and angry.
That sense of anxiety was leading me down the path of justifying my decision to end things by making the other person really wrong for a number of things that I thought needed to change in their life. And the thing is – who am I to be suggesting something needs to change in their life? It’s their life!! I just get to decide whether their lifestyle and choices align with me and go from there. No judging and making people wrong allowed!!
However, I couldn’t seem to stop. Noticing that I was leaning towards making this person wrong made me really uncomfortable. I knew I was doing it and yet whenever the topic of ending the relationship came up all I could do was jump on the make-wrong-train and create a list of justifications and reasons to support my decision.
Every time one of my friends would ask for an update on the situation I noticed I would get my back up and feel really defensive, especially if the friend was questioning whether I was doing the right thing or not.
This roller coaster of feeling calm and ok with my plan for a period of time and then feeling like I needed to defend what I was going to do, was almost worse than having to deal with actually ending the relationship.
It wasn’t until after the deed had been done that I was able to let go of the anxiety. Upon reflection, this is what I discovered:
I already knew what I wanted and needed to do. Rather than trusting myself and claiming that powerfully, I basically went about polling my friends to see if they thought I was doing the right thing based on all the supporting reasons I provided. Inevitably what happened was, each of my friends wanted to discuss and question if I had considered this or that, which maybe hadn’t been mentioned in my original list of supporting reasons. It was ridiculous and ineffective in helping me feel good about my choice.
My friends were trying to support me in making the right decision for myself by asking if I had considered all the angles. The way it came across to me was that they were questioning my decision. They were questioning me!
When I look at this now, I realize I was giving my power away by looking for some level of approval about my decision from my friends. I’m sure the experience would have been totally different if I had just said “I’m ending the relationship.”
When I look at the way I was being around making that choice I realize that, to an extent, I was abandoning myself and what I knew was best for me by putting the decision out there for everyone else to weigh-in on. As I started to see that, I also became painfully aware that the process of asking a bunch of other people for their opinions leaves me not being fully responsible for my choice.
By providing my friends with a list of reasons why this was a good idea, it was almost like I was asking permission or seeking approval. This left me feeling completely powerless in the situation. Debating with my friends whether I had considered all the angles and if I was making the right choice.
It was MY DECISION to make!!
Your life is not a democracy – the vote is yours and yours alone.
Even if my friends didn’t feel like I was doing this, seeking their approval of my decision, I’m sure they felt the need to say yes that’s a good idea or no it’s not – in effect voting and allowing me to make a ‘majority rules’ decision as if my life was a democracy…
Until I was able to see that I was somehow seeking approval or validation about my decision, I felt horrible: anxious, stressed, agitated, and constrained.
As soon as I was able to see what I was doing and then just powerfully OWN and be responsible for my decision, regardless of what anyone thought, all of the negative feelings just disappeared.
So the bottom line is, you have to OWN your choices.
You have to get to a place where you know you’re making that choice with no justification or need for approval from anyone else.
When you have a choice to make about something, it’s only YOUR choice if YOU make it on your own. If you make it based on what other people say or the circumstances of the situation, then you’re never really responsible. If things don’t turn out or you end up unhappy with the results of your decision it’s always easy to blame (even silently) the input or the circumstances that had you make the decision.
When you make the choice because you’re making it – then you’re responsible for it and the outcome! Taking responsibility for your decisions amps up the power notch on the ride of your life and puts you in the driver’s seat. Where else would you rather be sitting for this one way trip??
Until next time ,
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