The Decision Making Process: 7 Strategies for Success

Tough Decisions Ahead Road SignThe ability to make good decisions is a key to success in life, and in maintaining work-life balance, wouldn’t you agree?

Yet many of us, myself included, struggle at times in the decision making process, for fear that we’ll choose the wrong option.

This is especially true when it comes to important decisions regarding our family, career, business, etc.

Like whether to go back to school, quit your job, start that business you’ve always wanted, start a family, or work from home. Or maybe decisions regarding how to care for an elderly parent or how to help your child pay for college/university.

Yesterday, in my post on How to Make Good Decisions, I promised I’d give you some tips on how to make good decisions, so…

the decision making process

Here are some seven tips on how you can improve your chances for success in the decision making process:

  1. Embrace the decision making process – Yogi Berra said, “When you come to the fork in the road…take it.” My interpretation is that when you are faced with a decision, embrace it. Don’t shy away from it.
  2. Start with a well-defined goal – Be sure you fully understand the question or problem before you make a decision or provide an answer.  As one of my mentors says,” Sometimes, how we see the problem is the problem.”  If the decision has to do with major areas of your life, like your career, family, finances, etc., you really need to develop a life plan so you know where you’re going.  Decision making is easier when you have a clear goal in mind, because you choose from choices that will move you toward that goal and avoid choices that won’t.
  3. Seek wise counsel – Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, said “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success.” (Proverbs 15:22)  Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – from wise people you know, or even from people you don’t know personally, but you know they have experience you can gain from.  Most people are more than willing to share what they know, if it’ll help someone else.
  4. Don’t fall into the trap of the paralysis of analysis – While it is important to weigh all the options, don’t allow yourself to freeze up for fear that you’ll make a wrong decision.  A friend said, “A good decision is not always the best decision, but it is better than no decision.”
  5. Resolve yourself to the fact that you may not make a perfect decision -  You’ll never know all the things that you don’t know about a given situation.  Be diligent in doing the best research you can, make your decision, and be OK with it.
  6. Pre-make your decision – If you have the luxury of time (and let’s face it, sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t) make a decision and then sit on it a while.  Spend a few days, a week or a month living in the decision, as if it had already been made.  For example, if you’re considering whether to take out a loan to buy a car, and the payment will be $300 a month, start living that way now by putting away $300 a month into savings.  How does it feel?  How does it impact your other spending decisions?  Does it line up with your financial goals and life plan?  Them imagine what it would feel like a year from now?  Does it still feel good and seem like it makes sense for you?
  7. Make your decision with FOCUS – Once you’ve made your decision, go all-in with your decision.  Don’t second-guess yourself or try to re-analyze it.  I love this acronym from Nicole Dean:  Follow One Course Until Successful.  Figure out all the things you need to do now that you’ve made your decision, make a plan, and do them until it’s done.

Would you add anything to this list?  Have any of these strategies benefited you in the past?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.  In my next post, we’ll explore ways to recover from, and make the most of, a bad decision.

You might also like:
How knowing your life’s purpose will help you make great decisions
How to turn problems into opportunities
Decision making process – WWJD?

Pillar #9 – Visualize Your Success

Welcome back to Life Compass, where I’m sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design.  Congratulations on making it this far!  Here’s what we’ve covered in the first eight Pillars:

In this post, we’ll cover Pillar #9 – Visualize Your Success.

You already possess one of the most powerful tools that will help you succeed in achieving your dreams and goals.  Master it, and nothing will stand in your way.  Ignore its power, or use it wrongly as many people do, and it will surely keep you from achieving success.  What am I talking about?  Your mind!

One of the biggest reasons people achieve success is that they regularly visualize their success.  In other words, they make time every day to create a picture, or a movie, in their mind’s eye of the things they want to bring into reality – whatever it is they want to do, have, or achieve.

Professional athletes and highly successful people use this technique regularly.  One of the most famous examples is Jim Thorpe, known as one of the greatest athletes of all time.  He was a Native American, All-American, Olympic champion, star NFL running back and Major League Baseball player.

On his way to the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Thorpe and his fellow Olympians sailed aboard the ocean liner Finland. As others trained on a cork track laid on a deck, Thorpe sat nearby in silence. A sportswriter named Francis Albertani asked him, “What are you doing, Jim? Thinking of your Uncle Sitting Bull?”  “No,” Thorpe said, “I’m practicing the broad jump. I’ve just jumped 23 feet eight inches. I think that can win it.”

Thorpe, who preferred visualization to actual workouts, did in fact win the broad jump event in the Olympic decathlon!  He also won three more of the 10 decathlon events en route to the gold medal. He also won four of five pentathlon events to earn a second gold.

How does visualization work?  When you visualize an outcome you want over and over again, you build “cells of recognition” in your memory bank.  This helps you become consciously and acutely aware of everything that can help you achieve the visualized outcome that you desire.

When you continuously focus on an idea or image in your mind, you program every cell in your body and mind to work toward achieving that idea or image.  Once you impress it into the subconscious part of you, it eventually becomes ‘fixed’ and you automatically attract and move towards that which you desire.

The reason athletes do this is because they want to condition their mind in such a way that the body automatically behaves the way they want it to without effort.  They become “unconsciously competent”.

The same is true for you!  If you visualize the success you want over and over again, your body will eventually automatically do whatever it must to make the image a physical reality.

Take the time to review the Goals you’ve set in your Plan of Action.  Write out a vivid, detailed description, or draw a picture, for each one.  Then review that description or picture in your mind at least three times a day.  I’d suggest morning, noon, and bedtime.

For example, if one of your Goals is to have a better relationship with your spouse and children at home, visualize yourself coming home at the end of the work day, and greeting each member of your family with love.  Visualize sitting around the dinner table having a great conversation about each person’s day.  Whatever it is that you want to see happen, see it happen first in your mind.  Make a picture, or movie, in your mind’s eye and review it over and over.  Eventually, it’ll become a reality.

That’s it for Pillar #9 – Visualize Your Success.  Next time we’ll cover Pillar #10 – Review and Track your Progress.