Is the decision making process tiring for you? Do you put off having to make decisions? Some people do. If this is true for you, maybe you are concerned that you will make the wrong choice or you are afraid of what the result of your decision will bring. Well as a good friend of mine used to say, “No decision is a decision.” In other words, if you do not make a decision about something, it does not prevent events from unfolding; it just means you were not proactive about those events. Someone or something else will make the decision for you. That might not always be to your advantage.
Here is a simple approach to use for those times when you are having a difficult time making a decision. Examine your options and for each option ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen, what is the best thing that could happen and are you prepared for either scenario?
These are three simple questions to ask yourself when you are trying to make a decision. I confess, I have used these questions to help myself for many years and I now use these questions to help my students and colleagues too.
Perhaps you are weighing whether or not you should ask your boss for a raise.
What is the worst thing that could happen? This sounds negative, but it is very helpful. The worst possible thing probably will not happen, but answering this question gets your fear out in the open. If you are having a hard time making a decision or taking an action, this helps uncover what is holding you back.
If you ask your boss for a raise what is the worst thing that could happen? She could say no and yell at you and throw you out of her office. She might tell you that you are not as good as you think you are and you are not worth a raise. In a very extreme situation she might even fire you. Whatever you pick as the worst thing that could happen to you is the thing that is holding you back from asking for that raise.
What is the best thing that could happen? Unless you suffer from fear of success, this is a fun question. Now you can think about the positive consequences of the decision or action that you are considering.
You ask your boss for a raise and the best thing that could happen is that you not only get the raise, but you get a raise and a promotion. Or you get twice the amount you requested.
Sometimes the best thing that could happen does in fact hold you back. Maybe you want the raise, but you are not certain that you want the extra responsibility that could come with it. Perhaps that is causing you to hesitate? It is important to consider the ramifications of your best case scenario.
Are you prepared for both scenarios? If you can handle whatever the worst thing is and whatever the best thing is, you are ready to make the decision or take the action.
In reality, when you ask your boss for a raise you probably will not face your worst case scenario and perhaps you will not face your best case scenario. But if you are prepared to handle either one, you have what you need to move forward.
There it is a simple approach and three simple questions, now all you have to do is to decide to give this a try next time you are faced with a difficult decision to make.