There comes a time when you have to make a decision, but sometimes that time comes and you still lack clarity. You’re stuck. What do you do?

Your team may be looking to you for a final call on the next direction. Your boss may be looking to you for a plan for a new project. Your client may be looking to you for a recommendation. You may be debating between two (or more) options, unsure of how best to move forward.

What do you do?

Working on my own decisions over the years – as well as helping clients when they felt most stuck – I’ve come up with a few points to consider when you’re faced with a decision you don’t seem to be able to make. They are as follows:

  • Trust your gut – as coaches we base our work with clients on the knowledge that our clients have their own answers already, and our job is to help them rid themselves of whatever’s in their way so they can learn to trust their gut. There is a strong chance that deep inside there is an option or choice that just “feels” right, and research has shown that our gut – or intuition – can make at least as good a decision as our rational brain. Get quiet, and see if your gut has something to tell you.
  • And do your research – while your gut may be right, your rational brain may want “proof,” and so might your team, boss, client, etc. Do the necessary research. Learn what others have done in a similar situation. Go through the background information and best case scenarios, and make sure you’re not missing something essential.
  • Gather input – not only might other people have perspectives and suggestions you may not have thought about, but by bringing others in early in a decision-making process, you most likely strengthen their buy-in to whatever decision you make or path you take. Make others feel included by engaging them, and see what you can learn from them.
  • Make it the right decision – I heard a few years ago, “make a decision, and make it the right decision.” So often we second-guess our choices and go back on something we’ve settled. Needless to say, that doesn’t help. While it’s important to keep your mind open in case there is new information to consider along the way, it’s also important to do your best not to unnecessarily waffle once your decision has been made.

Sometimes it is hard to know what to do, and sometimes we get in our own way while we’re trying to figure it out. By following some of these simple steps, you can get clearer and make (and stick to and flex when necessary) the decisions you have to make.

How have you learned to make your best decisions?
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