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Creating Successful Leaders

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Have you ever found yourself at a turning point when you’ve had to make a decision? Maybe that decision was major (switching career paths, moving to a new city) or maybe it was less major but still important (deciding who to invite to a gathering, considering whether to take on a project). Whatever the case, making decisions can be difficult.

When it comes time to choose, we might freeze up and not know which way to turn. Sometimes we end up sticking firmly within our comfort zone, because we’re too nervous to take the plunge and commit to a new course of action.

To get out of a decision-making rut, try tapping into one or more different proven methods to make the best choice possible. Here are five techniques to try:

Map Out Possibilities

When you feel overwhelmed by choice, it can be helpful to create a visual representation of all your options. Mind maps are a great tool for this, as they allow you to see the paths before you in an organized and comprehensive manner. A pros and cons list is another useful tool for sorting out your thoughts and getting an organized view of your options.

Learn how to create an effective mind map by taking look at my past blog post on the topic.

Ask “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?”

When you plan for the worst-case scenario, you can worry less about making a mistake and start to realize that most of the time the consequences of a poor decision are not as dire as you might fear. Ask yourself, “What is the absolute worst outcome?”, and you will be more likely to act with confidence and a clear mind. Additionally, you’ll be better able to prepare for future “What ifs” if you consider possible adverse outcomes.

I’ve written more about this concept in my “How Bad Could It Be?” blog post.

Use the “Best Friend Test”

Before making an important decision, ask yourself, “What would I tell my best friend to do in this scenario?” This is a test author Daniel Pink recommends in a short, informative video. He says that asking this question is effective because it changes the perspective of the scenario. You certainly wouldn’t want to lead your best friend astray, so the advice you give to them should apply to yourself as well.

Journal About It

Writing is a process of self-discovery, and writing about your decision-making process can offer valuable insight into what you truly want. Keep a running log of your thoughts, feelings, and ideas about the issue at hand and explore different angles.

Get Support

When facing a difficult decision, sometimes it helps to turn to a few trusted advisors for input. Ask one or two people you trust for advice, but be careful not to get “advice overload” where you ask too many people about a topic. As with all advice, take these suggestions with a grain of salt.

Making a decision can be hard, but by tapping into different methods and taking a mindful approach, it’s possible to make the best choice. Taking the time to use these techniques can help you gain clarity and make the best choice for yourself.

Good luck and happy decision making!



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