Do you struggle to make decisions for your life or business, because you never know if you’re making the “right” choice? The truth is, you may never know if you made THE “right choice” at the moment, and chances are there’s more than one option that could be right for you, depending on the circumstances. You don’t get to make two choices at once and test them against one another like a science experiment, so you have to just take a deep breath and choose the option that feels the most right and go forward from there.
Previously, I’ve talked about the biggest obstacles that hold you back from making a decision. Now, I want to give you some tips for narrowing down your choices and getting clear on the most right decision for you and your business, no matter what your options are.
How to Make Better Choices
Take Your Time
Things tend to feel very urgent in the moment. There’s a deadline looming, or you’re caught up in the idea that you’re going to miss some significant opportunity if you don’t figure out all the choices right now. In reality, we often create a false sense of urgency when we’re struggling with a decision, and it’s usually not even necessary. Opportunity does knock twice, no matter what people might tell you, and there is always another train to catch. Give yourself the time and mental space you need to make a decision because rushing through the process usually results in negative outcomes.
Whether you’re a “Star Trek” fan or not, chances are you’re at least a little familiar with the character Spock, who is from the planet Vulcan. The Vulcans are known for having eliminated their emotional responses to every situation through a rigorous system of meditation and a focus on logic. You may not be able to channel your inner Vulcan, but in many cases, an emotional response may be clouding your vision when making a decision. Take a few minutes to journal about the feelings associated with a decision, and it may bring a lot of clarity on why you’re feeling stuck. You shouldn’t discount your emotions entirely – after all, your “gut feeling” may be leading you in the right direction. However, you also don’t want to make decisions based solely on emotions, because they have the power to affect your judgment. Once you can identify what you’re feeling, it gets easier to separate yourself from that emotion and move forward with a decision that is rooted in logic.
Narrow Your Options
In your school days, if you had to take a multiple-choice test, the best strategy was to start by eliminating some of your options. Usually, those types of tests had at least one answer choice that was obviously wrong, if you just took the time to evaluate it. The same strategy can be applied to your decision-making; if you narrow down your options, you can make an easier decision based on what’s left over after you’ve eliminated the choices that are obviously wrong for you and your business.
If you’ve given yourself time and space, you’ve identified your feelings and balanced them with logic, and you’ve narrowed down your options, you can then make a decision knowing that you have thought through your options completely.
As an entrepreneur, you face many choices in all areas of your business every day. Sometimes it’s not clear which part of your business you should start with. Take the GEARS Assessment today to help you identify which area needs your attention before the others.
Confidence is the key to taking on new challenges, meeting your goals, and achieving success. There is no doubt that hard work and perseverance also play a critical role, but confidence is the kick in the pants that we need to get the ball rolling.
During the early years, fearlessness and the ignorance of the challenges ahead often are the tools that get us started on a path to success. But as life continues, the pitfalls or outright failures remind us that we are not indestructible. Experience teaches us that not everything will be “easy.” Ultimately our own doubts, fears and negative self-talk begin to hold us back.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. Confidence to the rescue!!
Almost everything we take on without hesitation is a result of confidence. Think of any new, different, or unknown situation or project you took on without a pause – why was that? The answer is simple: you had confidence in your abilities going in.
Everyone has SOMETHING that they are confident about. The more of those things we have, the more confident we appear to the outside world.
Confidence and success go hand-in-hand.
Confidence Is a Skill
Most people believe that confidence is a gift, given out in great quantities to only the chosen few. But confidence is a skill that can be developed and improved for anyone willing to invest in the effort.
Unfortunately, like all skills, greatly improved results are not instantaneous. Instead, it takes focused effort, practice, and a willingness invest time to see significant results. However, if you are willing to make the investment, the results will transform your life in ways you can hardly imagine.
The following are three simple steps to begin developing the skill of confidence:
1. Identify your superpower(s), skills, and other talents you already have. If your first response to this idea is, “I don’t have any superpowers,” I can assure you, you are wrong. Maybe not in the “leap tall buildings” category, but we all have some area in which we are exceptional. The problem is that it comes so naturally and easily, that we don’t think of it as unique. (If you still need help figuring this one out, get our Superpower Identification Worksheet here!)
List all of the abilities, skills and talents that you have, including the areas that you already have confidence. This is not a time to be modest. You don’t have to be the “best” or the “most” for it to be on the list. If someone else appreciates it, then it should probably be on the list. The list also doesn’t have to be complete, just give yourself 15 minutes and put as many things down as come to mind.
2. Own everything that is on the list. This sounds simple enough, but it is often the point where we struggle. True confidence is belief in yourself. Not just words, but deep heartfelt belief. If you aren’t comfortable stating your ability to another person without feeling like an impostor, then you don’t own it.
Make a notation on the list of which powers you truly own and which are works in progress. For those still in progress, ask yourself why you were able to list it, but not own it. What would it take for you to fully own that particular skill or talent?
3. Add or fully own one new skill or talent every week. This step takes intention, but only requires a few minutes every day.
If you are trying to fully own an item from the list, identify it at the beginning of the week. Pay attention to any time it you utilize it within your day or someone else acknowledges it in the course of conversation. How can that activity help you more fully own this particular skill or talent? At the end of the week, test it as we did initially in step #2 until it changes status to “fully owned.”
If you fully own everything on your list, look to add something new. We often have many more skills and talents than we can initially list in the 15 minute exercise in step #1. Make the goal to note just one new item within the week. If you can fully own it, great. If not, go through the “ownership” process until it has been fully embraced.
As the list grows, so will your confidence. With confidence you will see how you can leverage the skill and talents you already possess to solve problems and achieve success in areas in which you are less familiar.
With each win your confidence will continue to grow and the process continues.
When is a time that starting with confidence ultimately led to success for you?
Lately I’ve been working hard to figure out my next path, and to map out the details of my next adventure. And for me, at least, that path has led me to a belief that I have long held, and how that belief can be a benefit to other women.
Here it is, my basic belief: All women lead.
Now, not all women claim that leadership as a title, or wear it as a mantle of honor, but they should. Being a mommy is a leadership role. Big sister is a leadership role. Whatever your professional title is, that’s a leadership role. That time you pitched in to help with the church youth group? Leadership. That time you sat on the PTA committee for the school dance? Leadership. Helping your parents make choices about their retirement lifestyle and elder care? Leadership.
Leadership isn’t always something we pursue with intention. Oftentimes, it’s something we literally fall into (or get roped into). As such, we sometimes don’t even realize that in saying yes, showing up, or volunteering – we’ve put ourselves in a position of leadership. And then we don’t own that title, or recognize ourselves for the leaders we are.
The thing is, though, if you approach everything in life as a leader, you’re more effective at everything else – even supporting others, because a good leader is a good follower!
So it’s my mission to help my fellow women by showing them how to…
- acknowledge and embrace their leadership roles
- own their wins
- strengthen their leadership skills
- recognize opportunities for leadership and put their strengths to work
Right now I’ve got two preliminary projects I’ve been working on. The first is a free gift – my Confident Woman Checklist is a 5-step method to help you boost your confidence and take daily action to recognize and strengthen your leadership skills. If you’d like a free copy, just click here and enter your e-mail in the form to get it. After you do, you’ll be taken immediately to the landing page for my second project.
The next thing I’ve been working on is a brief single-question survey (seriously, ONE question!). The responses I get from this survey will help inform everything I do next, from the products & services I create to the blog posts I write and the emails I send. So even if the checklist isn’t your thing, I’d REALLY appreciate it if you could click here and tell me about the single biggest challenge you’ve been facing in your life as a leader (even if you didn’t realize until now that that’s what you are!).
It will seriously help me out, so please click here and take just one minute to give me your feedback. As always, you can also leave a comment and begin a conversation about women and leadership – I’d love to hear from you.
In case you don’t know, I have been a PSIA certified part-time ski instructor for the past 8 years. I also broke my leg skiing about 5 years ago. Luckily it was near the end of the season so I had plenty of time to physically recover. Mental recovery took longer.
The scenario was fairly simple: we were on a week long trip to Aspen with friends. The first day was a beautiful day for skiing and we had enjoyed the morning and were heading to the base of the hill to take a lunch break. I was making some wide, smooth, rather fast turns as we were headed toward the bottom. I noticed that the lead part of our group had stopped, so I started putting on the breaks and the next thing I knew, I was on the ground and my right foot/leg felt strange. I yelled for my husband to come up and help me and when he arrived he quickly ascertained that this was much more severe than I imagined: I had broken my leg.
People who know me consider me to be confident; in fact, I attribute much of my success to that confidence. What I now understand is that success and confidence are inextricably intertwined.
I was lucky to be raised by parents who instilled confidence in me from an early age. I also was able to experience success in school as my learning processes lined up with the ways information was taught and tested. I have been known to say that many of my accomplishments were a direct result of my ignorance of the challenge I was facing. In recent years I have come to discover that one of my gifts is not just possessing confidence, but the ability to help instill it in others.