The infamous sage, Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”
It may not feel like it, as we careen madly between work, family, and Facebook, but we are considering important choices and opportunities that will affect our future every single day. All these little decisions taken together, which don’t seem like much one by one, add up to a career, and even a whole life.
But, how are you arriving at all of these decisions? Can you explain how you come to the ‘right’ thing to do?
Whether it seems like you are just closing your eyes and taking a stab in the dark or considering your options endlessly, each of us does have a process for deciding how to move forward. Consider what it is you do to come to a decision. Do you make a pros and cons list? Just go with your gut? Or do you find it all too much and decide to opt out, allowing whatever what may come to happen to you?
Recently, a number of experts have been weighing in on the decision-making process.
In Decisive, the Heath brothers are back with an interesting meditation on how we make decisions. Turns out, we aren’t all that good at it. We tend to be overconfident, seeking out information that supports us and downplaying information that doesn’t. And our short-term emotions rule our thinking. Must have chocolate now!
Decisive outlines a great four-step process to help us balance our innate biases: widen your options; reality-test your assumptions; attain distance; and prepare to be wrong.
Author and journalist, Suzy Welch offers a way to cut through our intense short-term emotions and gain distance from our decisions. The 10/10/10 rule requires you to think about a decision in three different time frames: How will you feel in 10 minutes? How will you feel in 10 months? Will I care about this in 10 years?
Brian Whetten, an executive coach and leadership consultant, also considers decision making in in his thoughtful treatise, Yes Yes Hell No!. In his approach, he recommends saying yes to the decisions that meet three criteria: Do they light you up intuitively? (Yes); Do they make sense rationally? (Yes); Do they scare you? Not because they are a real and present danger, but because they offer something exciting and new – an opportunity for growth or change (Hell No! I can’t do that!). In this case, Brian recommends carefully considering the fear to determine whether it’s truly cause for alarm, or just something that just requires your awareness.
Give some thought to how you come to your decisions – maybe you could benefit from the help of a coach to set your own process. It’s never too late to change your life.