Decisions are something that apparently more than a few people have trouble with. As I often have shared, I belong to the schools of thought that teach,…
What happens when you make a decision?
Either it works. Or it doesn’t
Makes perfect sense to me, but even here in my own household we have been dealing with some significant struggles on this topic.
My sister, GiGi, whom I love dearly and as her big sister I can be a bit ( well maybe a lot more than a bit ) overprotective of; is constantly at odds with her ability to make a decision. Large or small. Meaningful or not, she gets caught in “analysis paralysis” goes down every rabbit hole she can, stops, has a cup of coffee with Bugs Bunny and then returns exhausted crying, “I can’t get started!”
Admittedly too often the conversations have gone something like this…..
“Dammit GiGi, just make up your mind already!”
“ I can’t…..”
“Just do it. Just do something, please!”
“It’s too hard….”
“Quit whining, pull up your big girl panties and just take care of it!”
At this point GiGi is now sobbing and those tear filled eyes are telling me this conversation is not only not working, it isn’t helping either of us, the household or the situation in any way. So I have to make a decision to seek a new approach.
Then I knew it was time to say, “OK Google, what is involved in making a decision?”
So that search led me to UMass Dartmouth and their criteria for the Seven Steps to Effective Decision making. Now I have no connection with, have never been to and have not ever not knowingly known anyone affiliated with the University of Massachusetts, much less this campus, but their graphic really caught my eye.
Much like “Becoming”, their steps were drawn out with motion in two directions. Forward and Upward.
So let’s examine these momentum building steps:
Step 1: Identify the decision
You realize that you need to make a decision. Try to clearly define the nature of the decision you must make. This first step is very important.
Step 2: Gather relevant information
Collect some pertinent information before you make your decision: what information is needed, the best sources of information, and how to get it. This step involves both internal and external “work.” Some information is internal: you’ll seek it through a process of self-assessment. Other information is external: you’ll find it online, in books, from other people, and from other sources.
Step 3: Identify the alternatives
As you collect information, you will probably identify several possible paths of action, or alternatives. You can also use your imagination and additional information to construct new alternatives. In this step, you will list all possible and desirable alternatives.
Step 4: Weigh the evidence
Draw on your information and emotions to imagine what it would be like if you carried out each of the alternatives to the end. Evaluate whether the need identified in Step 1 would be met or resolved through the use of each alternative. As you go through this difficult internal process, you’ll begin to favor certain alternatives: those that seem to have a higher potential for reaching your goal. Finally, place the alternatives in a priority order, based upon your own value system.
Step 5: Choose among alternatives
Once you have weighed all the evidence, you are ready to select the alternative that seems to be the best one for you. You may even choose a combination of alternatives. Your choice in Step 5 may very likely be the same or similar to the alternative you placed at the top of your list at the end of Step 4.
Step 6: Take action
You’re now ready to take some positive action by beginning to implement the alternative you chose in Step 5.
Step 7: Review your decision and its consequences
In this final step, consider the results of your decision and evaluate whether or not it has resolved the need you identified in Step 1. If the decision has not met the identified need, you may want to repeat certain steps of the process to make a new decision. For example, you might want to gather more detailed or somewhat different information or explore additional alternatives.
I would also add to step seven. Review your decision and ask, is it worth the risk? Consider the rewards. Oftentimes we must step outside our comfort zone and take a chance in order to receive a significant return on our investment.
Every decision we make. Every action we take are all investments in our “Becoming”. Conversely every action delayed or decision not made have their consequences and those costs can and will compound greatly.
I never said “Becoming” would be easy. I never said “Becoming” would not be uncomfortable or require some risk taking. I do say that “Becoming” is worth it.
Tomorrow we’ll look at how procrastination plays a role in delaying decisions and ultimately “Becoming”, and if you said that doesn’t sound good, well you are right.
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