How to make smart decisions about important things
- May 20, 2018
You cannot hear this often enough! Your Big Bold Business Dream is super important because only you can fulfil it! The world needs you and your contribution. Your gifts and experience are unique. We are waiting to see you become all that you always dreamed of being! You deserve to be happy doing what you love!
But how do you decide what is your ‘thing’? How do you even dare to decide to chase your Big Bold Dream? How do you move from where you are today to where you want to be? How do you get onto the path to your brighter future? Where do you start?
For me, you have to start with yourself. When you know yourself well and what your options are it will be easier to make the best (smartest) decision possible. The ‘What Matters to You’ worksheet gives you many questions that will help you to get started identifying what matters to you. Download it here and open your journal and start to describe what you already know about yourself and your dreams.
Why do you need to make smart decisions?
They say “What you don’t know, can’t hurt you!” Maybe that’s true in a spy movie where the less you know about some dubious activity, the safer you will be. In life, when it comes to your decisions, what you don’t know can hurt you. It can certainly hurt your dreams!
Poorly informed decisions will waste you a lot of time and cause you a lot of pain.
You don’t need me to give you a case study! You already know people who made the ‘wrong’ decision!
Think about your friend who studied the ‘wrong’ courses at school or college and dropped out. Here of course, you have to translate ‘wrong’ to mean the ‘wrong-course-for-them’. Or another person who followed their parents wishes and got the degree but is now in a job or career they hate. It might not be that the path was wrong, but that it was the ‘wrong-path-for-them’.
That’s the challenge – to figure out what is ‘right-for-you’! A smart decision is a decision that is best suited to you and your circumstances. It might be very sensible to study to be a brain surgeon, but if that isn’t your thing, then it’s not a smart decision for you.
What do you need to make smart decisions?
A smart decision requires, well, … information…good, solid reliable information. That usually requires research, but that doesn’t have to mean book or classroom learning! It means opening your eyes and ears to everything that is around you.
Live with curiosity! Learn from every experience!
Every experience, can teach you a lot. Sometimes you learn from the things you do and sometimes you learn by watching what others do. Success and failure are both excellent teachers.
TIP: – as you do your research try to collect all the info in one place. Some people keep a notebook just for this topic. Take your time to gather the info and observe, reflect and imagine! You can keep a notebook with images or doodles, start a file/folder on your laptop, write or record on your device, collect images / quotes that inspire you and pin them in your vision board.
Getting the best evidence and information is one part of smart decision making. You need to be well-informed, logical and rational.
The other part of making smart decisions comes from your feelings, instincts and emotions. We are rational beings and we are also very emotional.
The highly successful entrepreneur Derek Sivers has a process very much in touch with your emotions. He says: For every opportunity that comes your way, ask yourself, “Do I want to _______________?” and you will intuitively respond in one of three ways:
- “HELL YES!!!!! Abso-freaking-lutely! YESSSSSS.” – When this happens, you should do it. Right now.
- “Yeah . . . This makes sense. I can see this working. Yes.” – When this happens, you should table it for now and revisit it later. Or never.
- “Maybe. That could be cool. That might work.” – When this happens, you should walk the away. Mediocre is not good enough.
What is a smart decision?
A smart decision is one that blends all your research (knowledge, info and facts) with your emotions. A smart decision is the right-decision-for-you-in-your-circumstances, based on what you know and feel to be true in that period of time.
A sensible (rational) decision might be intellectually wise and correct, but if you aren’t emotionally ‘into it’, when things get tough you will find it too easy to opt out.
Because it’s your life and your choice, you want to make a smart decision. You don’t want to spend years climbing the mountain that is the ‘wrong-mountain-for-you’!
How to make a smart decision?
To make a smart decision you need to take time to consider things carefully.
- Start by getting to know yourself better. You can use the questions from our What Matters to You worksheet and continue from there. Gather all the facts and information you need to be sure you are well-informed about the issue. (Don’t just read information from one source.)
- Learn more about the areas where you have knowledge gaps. Keep all your research and observations in one place.
- Consider your options. You can write in your journal; do a ‘Pros and Cons’ checklist; think about the opposite views and understand their perceptions.
- Trust in your emotions, your ‘instinct’ and what feels right-for-you.
- When you have considered all your options and the related consequences, make a decision. Sleep on it over night and test how it sits with you. When you wake in the morning are you excited, nervous, fearful, regretful?
- Confirm your decision by telling someone you trust or writing it down in your journal. Then start to flesh out your action plan to implement your decision, including your next action steps and key milestones and a ‘Plan B’ of what you will do if things don’t happen immediately.
In the end, you have to remember that any decision you make is not final. You will have several steps to take and if you find the pathway is always hitting a dead-end, you are free to take a diversion or detour. Your life is yours to live.
Decision-making is not easy and it usually comes as a result of days and weeks of research and consideration.
I know from my own entrepreneurial journey that things change and evolve with time. I took my life decisions at the time based on my knowledge and instinct at the time. I’m not the same person now that I was ten years ago. The decisions I took then made sense for that time and for me in that time and space. It will be the same for you.
All any of us can do is make the best decision we can with the information we have at the time. Once we start moving forward, the next step will become clear.
We move forward in the direction of our Big Bold Business Dreams, one smart decision at a time.
Remember, you are worth it. It is going to be an exciting entrepreneurial journey. I am here to cheer you on! You are not alone! You have a great business idea within you – let it mature.
Your comments are like gold to us and I value them so much – I even reply. “Your life is yours to live.” What is the mountain you have decided to climb? Tell me what you have learned and what you still want to learn.
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