It’s funny how you can look back at decisions and be amazed at your choices. When you look back it always seems crystal clear. You think to yourself- “How could I have made such a bad decision?” It can be downright frightening. You realize that at the time it seemed like the right thing to do. You had reasonably good information. You are not really much smarter now, than when you made the decision. You think- “How could my judgment be so clouded?”
Bad decisions generally require added work and risk. If you make a bad decision you are often thrust into the clean-up mode. You must straighten it out and make it right. This is usually painful- at least on some level. I’ve made some bad decisions and paid the consequences and picked up the mess. It’s not fun and it can shake your confidence. You have a difficult time finalizing a decision and you freeze-up! You just can’t decide. Here are some tips to avoid the freeze-up in decision making:
- Learn from your mistakes! Have you ever watched a dog with one of those invisible fences in the yard? They first will get a shock when they reach the barrier and generally that is enough. They will learn the exact location of the fence and stop abruptly before hitting the mark. Sometimes we just think it will be different this time and we charge straight for the fence! Why do we do it? Even a dog is smart enough to learn. Somehow we think it will be difference this time. Don’t kid yourself. Learn and avoid the pain!
- Do your homework! You must be ready when you are confronted with a similar decision. If you take the time to really think through the dynamics and results you will likely make a quality decision next time. Often in the heat of the battle you will not have time to think objectively. Your vision gets clouded. Analyze what went wrong and what you could have done differently. Next time you will be prepared and ready!
- Get advice! I have shared some of my failures with friends and have received amazing advice. We are all prone to a particular viewpoint and this perspective is not easy to change. When you share your story you are also inviting someone in to help you unload your burden and help you heal from the damage of a bad decision. Find a trusted friend and talk it out. Don’t argue with them even if you do not fully agree. Take some time and ponder the advice. It may not be exactly on target, but I can guarantee that there will be nuggets of truth that will lead to reconciliation and healing.
- Jump! Eventually you will confronted with a similar situation and you must be ready to risk again. Regardless of how much preparation and learning that has occurred, there will still be an element of risk in moving forward. However, you must move forward. Avoiding, postponing or failing to act will only hurt you. Risk is part of life. You must be ready.
We all freeze-up sometimes. It’s a built in defense system to keep us safe. The key is to recognize the freeze-up and to deal with it. If you find yourself hesitating, you are likely to be confronting something that you have not completely dealt with. Being cautious is good- but getting stuck is no good. You must move forward and get back in the game. You are needed. There are folks that are counting on you!