We all make choices. Everyday each of us decides what we will do, not do, where to spend our time, who to share our love with, and who we choose to ignore. The decisions we make are informed by our experiences with people. Bad experience leads to one set of choices in how we act, good experiences lead to an entirely different set of choices. No matter, life is about choices. The goal is to make better choices more often than not. Doing this takes practice, self-reflection, and perspective. Try these 3 things the next time you need to make a difficult choice.
- Get it on paper. Put the circumstance in writing. Frame it. What’s the problem, the choice that needs to be made? Who are the people involved in that choice? Husband? Wife? Boss? Co-worker?
- List the various choices, or decisions, you could make and what the pros and cons are of each. Your internal compass is critical in this step. Often times making the right decision is difficlt to do. Beginning the decision making process by burdening yourself with what others will think will often times lead you to making a poor decision. Having the courage and intestinal fortitude to make the tough calls are what separates good decision makers from the bad.
- Finally, after you’ve identifed the best decision…your decision…consider its impact on those affected by this decision. The purpose of this step is not to second guess your decision, that’s already been made. Instead this step is necessary in order to create your story…your logical, intellectually sound story, that informs those impacted by this decision as to how you went about making your decision.
Difficult choices are never easy, and regardless of how logical your reasoning is you will never please everyone. Great leaders are those who can make difficult decisions, communicate those decisions, and get most people to buy into the decision they’ve made. Those leaders who focus on trying to get everyone to buy in to their decisions instead find themselves following more than leading. After all, if my choices were based upon what others did, felt, thought, etc, would I not by definition be following? Be a leader.