Do you know that feeling of being torn over a decision? When you mull it over in your head for days — or even weeks — not knowing which path to take?
Decision paralysis. I’m more familiar with that feeling than I’d like to admit.
I spent many years dragging my feet when faced with decision. Even seemingly small decisions slowed me down. It was not unusual for me to call the waiter back to change my order two minutes after ordering dinner in a restaurant!
There are many reasons why decision-making can feel challenging or slow: fear of getting it wrong, not liking the choices, the risk of disrupting what you have with a new choice. But I also have learned that once a decision is made, it’s a huge release of energy. All of the anxiety and fear that exists before the decision is released, clearing the path for focused progress.
That’s one of the reasons successful people make decisions quickly. Decision-making takes up energy — even more so when there’s anxiety — that could be spent more productively towards progress rather than debate.
The second reason why successful people make decisions quickly is because they know that no decision is perfect. Did you know that during the Apollo missions to the moon, for the entire journey, the spacecraft was never on course? That’s right. They were never perfectly on course. They made continuous course corrections, turning slightly along the way to reach the moon.
No matter how much you turn the wheel, you can’t turn a car that isn’t moving.
You have to be moving forward to know if you’re heading in the right direction. You have to have progress in order to assess and change course. I am practicing making decisions faster and with less data, knowing that almost any decision can be changed as I move forward and see if I’m on course.
But what if you don’t know what decision to make, or what direction to go in? What if you’re stuck? Many of my clients come to me in that place. They realize they’re off track because they don’t like their job, they’re working too many hours, or they feel pulled in a new direction but don’t know how to make a change.
The first step to any challenge is almost always a decision. It could be a decision to get help. To talk to someone. To take action. The energy release that comes with a decision is like a rocket blast propelling you forward. And as you move forward, you’ll get feedback so you know if you’re heading in the right direction.
What decision is waiting to be made in your life, leading you to the next level of happiness?