Prefer to have this article read to you? At your service.
Last weekend I was at an amazing restaurant with a friend, and everything on the menu looked SO good, that I got that old familiar feeling. . .
You know the one I mean.
Where you think, “There’s way too much to choose from—I’ll never be able to decide.”
Now of course, this is not a huge problem—at least for most people.
And I was able to decide what to eat eventually.
(Steak with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes, thank you very much.)
(Sorry if you’re vegetarian and that sounds gross to you.)
In other words, I didn’t let that fleeting feeling of overwhelm completely stop me from moving forward on my meal.
In fact, it seems incredibly silly to imagine myself at that restaurant saying to my friend, I just can’t do this. It’s too overwhelming. I need to leave.
I mean, can you imagine if I walked out of there and started panicking? Maybe I’d have to schedule some time in my calendar to meditate over it.
After all, this is a BIG decision. I’m actually putting food in my body that will either fuel my energy or weigh me down (figuratively and literally).
But how ridiculous would it be if it were THAT hard to make a decision about what to eat?
Yet, how often are we presented with opportunities to decide “what to do next” in our businesses and in our lives. . .
Where we actually DO let that decision stop us in our tracks?
I see it all the time, and most often it doesn’t actually LOOK like a decision-making problem.
Most of the time what it looks like is, “I feel so bummed that no one bought my program” or “I can’t figure out how to get past this feeling of inadequacy that comes from my childhood” or some other issue that appears to be emotional or even spiritual in nature.
But it’s not really an emotional or spiritual problem at all.
It’s actually a decision-making problem.
Because when you’re saying, for example, “I’m sad that no one likes my stuff,” you haven’t DECIDED that you will. . .
- Sell your stuff no matter what challenges come up
- Not take it personally if your stuff doesn’t sell right away
- Make adjustments to your strategy if things don’t go well at first
Instead, you’re letting outside circumstances dictate what you’ll think, feel, and do.
You’re sitting on the fence of indecision, wondering, “Should I keep selling this or pull it off the market?” or, “Am I even cut out for this?” or, “Does this mean I can’t sell?” or some other unhelpful line of questioning.
Because the hard truth is. . .
Nothing in your outside circumstances means anything, except what YOU make it mean.
If you’re asking, “Does this mean I can’t sell?” then, yep, it does.
But if instead you’re asking, “What can I do to tweak this offer so that it will sell?” then you’re in a decisive, resourceful state where solutions can be found and progress made.
(By the way, if you ask yourself a question like, “Do I REALLY want to sell this?” and get a NO. . . then by all means hop off the fence and DECIDE to pull that puppy off the market, pronto!)
The point is, decision-making should be swift and powerful, and should lead to swift and powerful action.
Let’s look at how decision-making works around personal issues.
When you’re saying, “I can’t figure out how to stop feeling inadequate because of the way my parents treated me,” you haven’t DECIDED that you will. . .
- Leave your parents’ words (which were informed by their OWN feelings of inadequacy) in the past, where they belong
- Consistently focus on what you KNOW you’re good at to reinforce feelings of adequacy
- Consciously re-direct your thoughts any time you find yourself spinning out on a particularly unhelpful one like, “I’ll never be good enough”
Now, I can almost hear you arguing, “But it’s not that easy!’
And you’re right. It’s NOT easy. But I challenge you to find a better alternative.
I mean, what’s the alternative to making a DECISION that you’ll take control of your emotions and actions and, thus, your destiny?
The alternative is NOT to decide to take control of your own emotions and actions, and instead to let the world take control of them for you. . .
So even though it may not be EASY to make the above decisions (or myriad others in your life). . .
It’s actually simple.
You always have the power to choose how to think, feel, and act.
I say this with immense love, because I’ve been on the fence about a million things in my life. . . so this ain’t Sunday, and I’m not up at the pulpit, believe me.
But I’ve discovered that the times I’ve experienced the MOST success in life were the times I made a strong decision to just DO, BE, or FEEL something.
And to not let anything get between that decision and me.
It’s a discipline that takes practice, like any other discipline.
But the rewards are immeasurable (not the least of which include FREEDOM from emotional pain).
I’ve recently had to make a few tough decisions in my business and my life.
(And several simple ones.)
Some of them will become apparent in the coming weeks in this space.
Some of them are much more personal.
In fact, I’ll share a REALLY personal one with you, just so you can see that I’m walking my talk (again, not from a pulpit!).
A few weeks ago I noticed something really peculiar about my habitual self-talk.
It’s not something everyone does (I know, because I've discussed it with a few people)—but if YOU happen to do it, then maybe sharing this example will help you find freedom like it did me.
The ‘something’ I noticed was that I would be going about my day, washing the dishes, shopping for groceries, driving to pick up my son from school, folding laundry, brushing my teeth. . .
Anything where my mind didn't need to be super-focused on the task at hand (and thus could wander aimlessly). . .
And suddenly, I’d be struck by a memory of something I had done in the past (maybe it was 30 years ago, maybe 2 days ago) and be overwhelmed with guilt over how ‘wrong’ I had been to do it.
I’m talking knife-through-the-heart overwhelmed with guilt.
I would take a moment to ask God’s forgiveness (I see God as the energy that connects all of us, by the way, not some bearded dude in the clouds).
And while asking forgiveness isn’t a bad thing, and it isn’t all that peculiar on its own. . .
I noticed that I had a habit of revisiting the SAME wrongdoings, over and over again.
I would remember that cruel comment I made when I was 16 years old that hurt someone’s feelings. . . or that BIG thing I did to break my (now ex) husband’s heart, for which I’d apologized to him a hundred times. . . or that irresponsible financial decision I made several years ago. . .
And I would find myself asking forgiveness for it, again and again.
And yet, I am well aware that the purpose of forgiveness is FREEDOM.
So in the act of continuing to dredge up the same ‘sins’ time and again, I wasn’t finding any freedom at all.
That’s when I knew I had a decision-making problem.
I had to DECIDE, once and for all, that I would only ask forgiveness once, for any indiscretion.
This means that I’ll acknowledge that yes, I did something that was hurtful or irresponsible in some way, and yes, I need to apologize and make retribution for it in any way possible (including apologizing to someone I’ve hurt).
But from there on out, it’s done.
I think it’s actually quite interesting how much guilt a lot of so-called Christians feel AND mete out to others, while simultaneously professing to believe that Jesus died for our sins and gave us a clean slate.
I guess maybe they think the clean slate happened at the time of the crucifixion and the clock was then reset?
Of course, that doesn’t jive at all with Jesus’ words.
I’m digressing. But I’m digressing to prove a point.
As a society, many of us let ourselves get away with NOT deciding what personal standards and truths we will hold for ourselves.
Believing in the grace of God while simultaneously beating oneself up (and condemning others) is a classic case of not DECIDING.
Is God graceful and forgiving, or judgmental and condemning? Which is it?
I can tell you that I personally know the former to be true—but you must decide what’s true for you.
In any case, the power lies in the DECISION.
When you decide—when you really get committed to your truth—you no longer waffle back and forth, dissipating your energy between the two options.
And THAT is how you become unstoppable.
You stop being led along a rapid river of unhelpful thinking patterns that do nothing but keep you small and stuck and fearful.
And instead you throw your oars in the water and start rowing to where you want to go.
Now. . . as I said, you’ll be seeing the results of some of my professional decisions in this space—and I’ll even be sharing some more of my personal decision-making processes here too.
But right now, it’s your turn.
What will YOU decide today?
I’m going to get all Tony Robbins on you (literally—because it was from Tony that I learned the power of decision-making) and tell you that listening to this without acting on it is useless.
So what have you been waffling about, that you can make a decision on RIGHT NOW?
I’d like to challenge you to make that decision—today. So you can become unstoppable in business and life.