If you’ve never doubted or second-guessed one of your decisions I’ll buy you a speedboat. Or a castle. Or a castle filled with speedboats.
I can make that deal because I know we’ve all been there. Making decisions can be bloody hard, which is especially annoying when you consider that making them is what makes the difference between those who put their dent in the universe and those who don’t.
Here are 7 ways you can start having confidence in your decisions right now.
It Doesn’t Matter
How many decisions have you made in your life, both big and small? How many do you remember?
Blowing up our choices into a grand, life-changing moment is something we human beings are pretty good at. Make the wrong move and you’re irrevocably screwed.
Only, it doesn’t work that way. You place so much emphasis on your choices simply because your need for creating certainty takes over; your brain wants you to be sure that you’re making the right choice and elevates the drive for certainty into a driving force greater than the decision requires.
Left or right? Backwards or forwards? All guns blazing or slow burn? Sometimes, it just doesn’t matter which way you go. The important part is being willing to engage at all.
Get Some Support
Making a choice in isolation is like forecasting the weather from the inside of a locked box at the bottom of the ocean. It becomes guesswork. Errr, sunny and 72; hail and strong winds; fog and blizzards. No idea.
You’re not independent of your environment, and your relationships are a key part of that environment. Bouncing an idea off someone or asking for help with a tricky choice can illuminate something that otherwise would remain dark.
It isn’t a weakness, it’s a source of strength.
This isn’t necessarily about acting on the advice and opinions given to you (sometimes people don’t want you to change at all), but more about getting the right kind of support around you so that you feel supported following your decision. It’s that support that gets you out of that box, up to the surface and breathing fresh air.
Trust Your Capacity for a New Choice
It’s easy for your vision to extend only to the end of the choice you’re making right now and the potential ramifications of that choice.
But the capacity you have for decision making is inexhaustible.
Confidence is being able to choose your behaviour with implicit trust in that behaviour – not in the outcome of that behaviour. That means that whatever happens you get to make a new decision and trust your behaviour once more. You always get to choose.
There’s always room for another choice; there’s always the capacity to make a new decision. How’s that for taking the pressure off?
You Might Never Have All the Data
If you wait until you have all the data before you make a choice then you could be waiting an awfully long time.
Sometimes, there are so many variables that you can’t factor them all in. Sometimes the nuances are such that projecting an outcome is nigh-impossible. Sometimes, you just don’t need to have every bit of information before you make a choice.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to make a well-informed decision, but the pursuit of more information can become a great way to procrastinate and put off making a decision.
Know when enough is enough.
Shaking In Your Boots Doesn’t Preclude Confidence
There’s a common misunderstanding that confident people don’t get scared. That they don’t feel fear. That they’re fearless.
That fear response is deeply coded into your brain - when you’re feeling fear your amygdale fires up, giving you strong signals that you’re about to die and that you need to fight, fly or freeze. The fear is just there to remind you that things might not go to plan and you might lose out, which is sometimes enough to stop you, right?
But here’s the thing – you can be shaking in your boots in the face of a decision, and still be confident that you can make a choice and deal with whatever happens on the other side.
Being confident is the quality that allows you to feel fear without judgement.
In today’s world, listening and acting on fear is when your life shrinks and you diminish. What confident people do in response to that fear response is to notice it. They then get to divert energy back to their pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain that allows you to think consciously and deliberately.
The First Decision Is One Of Trust
Before any big choice, what if you were to make one decision first?
The choice to trust yourself.
You can still have myriad fears and doubts, but actively remembering and deciding to trust that you can deal with whatever happens takes the pressure off and makes it okay for you to take that first shaky step. The choice to trust yourself is sometimes the only choice you need.
All it needs is for you to create the space in which you can make this choice.
The Distance You Leap Scales
The potential of a decision is only realised when activated with your own kinetic energy, otherwise it remains lifeless. This activation requires that you take a breath, puff up your will, and leap. That’s how you cross the gap between where you are and the other side of the decision.
If you’re not used to making decisions it’ll feel weird at first; possibly unnatural and probably uncomfortable. Your brain hates discomfort and uncertainty and will do what it can to steer you back from the edge. But it’s okay.
Remind yourself what’s really important. Remind yourself how far you’ve come. Remind yourself what matters.
An extraordinary life will always require you to leap from one side of a decision to the other, and the more you’re used to making decisions the easier it becomes to make that leap and the further you can jump without giving yourself pause.
How close are you to the edge? What helps you make decisions?