How many people do YOU need to talk to before you make a decision?

By , August 28, 2012 5:50 pm

“Today, as leaders are called on to build their companies by creating the future rather than investing in the past, vision matters more than ever. Vision requires what looks to others like a leap of faith: the ability to go beyond the data and make a smart guess.”

Daniel Goleman, Author and psychologist

Have you ever tried to make a decision when you’ve felt confused and uncertain? You weren’t sure what to do? Perhaps you’ve gathered so much information that you didn’t know which way to turn?

I used to be a professional involver…

Whenever I needed to make a decision I’d start asking friends, colleagues (and anyone I spoke to!) for their opinion because it felt so difficult for me to make the decision on my own. I based a lot of my decisions on other people’s opinions of my situation (including my early boyfriend choices!).

I know now that I was terrified of the uncertainty and vulnerability of getting it wrong.

“Listen to your gut…” my friend would say, but I couldn’t hear a thing! All that was there was the knotted and uncomfortable feeling of having to make another decision. Lost in fear and uncertainty, I’d throw my decision straight out to others… HELP ME!

I believed that if I gathered other people’s opinions it would help me to feel stronger, and after all, I could share the blame if things didn’t work out because it wasn’t me making the decision – I had the excuse that others influenced me.

I’d procrastinate and survey those around me for opinions,grasping at any help I could get from others. I’d want certainty before I could make my decision. Most of us aren’t good at not knowing and crave a need for certainty. In the absence of certainty, we look for reassurance from others.

Looking back, I know that I felt so vulnerable.

Last week, I was coaching a client who was procrastinating over making a decision because she was scared of exploring the options. She was worried that it would ultimately take her away from what she really wanted.

Sometimes we are too scared to even manifest options because we don’t want to know the answers in case it’s not what we want. Or, if you have to think about it and gather the data, then you’ll have to make a decision… and things change!

Exploring can be scary – but it’s a great way to help you get clear. I imagine it like trying clothes on in the changing room before you decide to buy – you get an insight to how it looks and feels. This data helps you to make an informed decision.

Here are some thoughts on how to become a better decision-maker by tapping in and learning to trust your intuition…

Intuition is an important skill in business today because there is an explosion of information and data overload. Neurological research has proven that attuning to your feelings helps you to find meaning in data and you can make better, rational decisions. The smart guess matters to leaders especially when there is no clear map of the future and you are creating your strategy through visioning. You can’t predict everything through data!

1. Create some space to listen – Not knowing creates fear and worry that makes you feel vulnerable. The loud noise of anxiety drowns out your inner voice. Take some time out on your own, away from your busy day – quiet time where you can hear yourself think. Listen to your inner voice – don’t ignore it. Learn to trust your intuition as it will guide you. Even if it doesn’t always have the answer, it will help you find the next step.

2. Generate some options – Go into the changing rooms and create some options to try on for size – what does it look-sound-feel like for you? Exploring doesn’t involve you having to make an instant decision. Gut feelings are part of the data too! Sometimes our gut tells us that we don’t know enough to make a decision without exploring some more… so explore!

3. Tune into your feelings – Start to notice what feels right. Our intuition gives us a compelling sense of what feels right by creating literally a gut feeling! This offers us a guide beyond the data presented, that tells us what we need to know or directs us to fact-finding and reasoning. Sometimes it’s a quiet voice; sometimes it shouts very loud!

We pick up many life lessons subconsciously without being aware of learning them. Throughout life you accumulate wisdom from your day-to-day experiences.

Your intuitive self is VERY wise and allows you tap into this wisdom while holding space for uncertainty.

 

6 Responses to “How many people do YOU need to talk to before you make a decision?”

  1. Stacey Pruim says:

    Well, your timing is perfect, as usual ;-)

  2. Elaine says:

    …Call it intuition! ;-)

  3. Marina says:

    Hi Elaine, great article! I used to ask around a lot as well but the only true answer(s) you find in yourself! :-)

    “Intuition is an important skill in business today” – love it and it is sooooo true! and it would make a perfect quote… :-) might use it if you dont mind (of course with your name next to it)

  4. elaine says:

    Thanks Marina! You’re so right – the only true answer is found within.

    You are so welcome – feel free to use the quote.:-)

  5. Hi Elaine: Good article. It is interesting what you mentioned. Yesterday, I happen to talk with my husband about the inner self and that we all have it but, we don’t listen to it or let ourselves be aware of it. The conversation came about taking the right steps in our businesses and what directions to take and for those to be the right one. I’m still a bit of a professional involver, but I am trying to change it. Four years ago a made a decision influence by family it was not wise and led me to a degree of unhappiness. Since then, I trying to be more independent with my decision making.

  6. elaine says:

    Yaritza thank you for the lovely feedback and for stopping by and sharing this with us.It’s hard breaking away from being a ‘professional involver’ but once you tap into your own wise intuitive self you are living authentically and from a deeper level.

    Love and light to you

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