It can be very lonely at the top. The major decisions lie with you. They are your responsibility, and your choices.

It’s confusing. Overwhelming. The responsibility lies solely with you and it can feel like a huge weight.

You feel the pressure of time. If you don’t decide now the opportunity will slip away.

Everyone around you has an opinion, but along with those opinions they have bias, their own agendas. So how do you see past this, get advice, input and make a sound decision?

There is always an element of risk in the decisions you make. Depending on the situation choosing one path means letting go of others.

What if you choose the wrong one?

What if the consequences are disastrous? It will all be on you because it was your choice. Your decision.

Do you feel the stress in that just thinking about it?


Making decisions

First. Step back. Do you have to make this choice right now? In a rush, without having the chance to evaluate all the complexities of each option. Is the pressure you are feeling to decide today, this minute, realistic? Or is it external? Coming from outside of you, from someone with a vested interest in the decision you make. Is the rush to decide for your benefit or theirs?

If you find that the decision doesn’t need to be made immediately this gives you the time to consider all the options. To become better informed. To let go of the whirlwind in your head so you can take a more logical and rational look at what is in front of you.

To make a good decision you need to be at your optimum. To not feel overwhelmed and stressed. We don’t make good decisions from a place of stress. Neurologically, biologically it is just not possible. Our thinking processes are affected by the flood of chemicals that being under extreme stress generates. Biases creep in and we are more likely to be swayed by arguments that in normal circumstances we would dismiss easily. So, wherever possible, take time.

Sometimes decisions do have to be made fast and that is a reality. If that is the case it is still vital to step back and take the time to be calm, to clear your head. This can be the matter of just a few moments or daily practice to keep stress at bay.

Even if you can’t fully explore every option then you can put yourself in the best possible position to make a clear decision. Let go of all the noise in your head, everyone else’s opinions and ask yourself,

What do I feel about this decision?

What are the most important questions that need answering before I can proceed?

Find a coach, a mentor, an advisor.

Someone outside of the organization, outside of your deals. Someone who can offer an unbiased opinion.

This may be an expert in the area you are dealing with who can offer practical advice or an expert opinion. It could be a small group from different backgrounds who can give you varying advice from their standpoint. This enables you to consider all the possibilities and make a more informed decision from a place of knowledge.

These are people who can advise on the practicalities. The day to day issues.

Then there are coaches who focus on you as an individual. Who help you reflect on what is happening for you. Your emotions. Your reactions. Your reasoning. Your state of being! The importance of this cannot be overstated. To become self-aware is the greatest challenge for leaders now.

Moving Forward

At the end of the day the decision rests with you. You can seek help and advice. You can get opinions, but when it comes right down to it the decision is yours and that is how it should be. You know yourself, the needs of your organization and the direction you want to go better than anyone else can. If you are making a decision that feels comfortable to you. That you feel is based on the best knowledge that you have right now. Then that is a good decision. Yes, there is risk. Yes, it may not be perfect and you will never know how other options may have worked out.

One of the biggest indicators of success for a decision is the ability to be fully committed to it once you have made it. To move forward instead of looking back and wondering what might have been.

As we move further into the 21st century the strength of leaders is to make decisions.

To be aware of themselves and their impact on others.

To make conscious choices.

With the increasingly fast pace of corporate life, change and technology, leaders need to be adaptable and react to ever-changing situations. So, whatever decision you make, remain aware, be open to adapting as circumstances change and know that each decision is just one in a chain of the many you will make. The key to success is acknowledging changing circumstances and being confident enough to be flexible and make these crucial decisions.

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