Making confident decisions leads to success

Every day, we are all faced with numerous decisions. Some decisions are mundane, such as what we are going to wear (though I have witnessed some who take hours to decide this); other decisions are life-changing or even life-threatening. As a society, we celebrate others’ abilities to make confident decisions quickly. Could you imagine our society with indecisive firefighters, police officers, doctors, and airline pilots? The result would be chaos! But every day, we meet indecisive individuals who not only frustrate us but also lose credibility with us when they can’t make confident decisions.

If you want to be successful as well as a leader whom individuals will follow and respect, you MUST have the quality and character of decisiveness—period! (By the way, was that last statement written in a decisive manner?)

Everyone is a leader

Everyone reading this is a leader. Yes, everyone! You are a leader at some level, with someone. It could be at home with a significant other and/or parent. It could be at work, as a volunteer. And certainly, you are responsible for the leadership of your own life fulfillment and purpose. Your success is linked to your ability to make decisions. No exceptions!

In his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill conducted analyses of over 25,000 men and women who had experienced significant failure. Lack of decision-making ability was one of the major causes. Procrastination, the opposite of decision-making, is something almost all of us must overcome.

And one more dynamic of decision-making must be mentioned:

“Successful individuals (everyone I reviewed) had the habit of reaching decisions promptly and changing these decisions slowly. People who fail to be successful, without exception, have the habit of reaching decisions very slowly, if at all, and of changing these decisions quickly and often”.

Napoleon Hill

Your success depends on your ability to make decisions and your ability to stand by them and rarely go back to change them. This does not mean you will never reverse a decision; however, if you do this frequently to the point where it becomes a habit, you will not be respected or trusted by others. They will just wait for you to change your mind, yet again!

Decisions based on public opinion

You cannot be a decisive decision-maker if your decisions are mostly based on public opinion. Yes, we should seek feedback and wise counsel at times, but if you only make decisions when influenced by others – was it ever your decision?

Every group of individuals will have some kind of opinion. But opinions are a cheap commodity. If you run your life via committee, you are destined for disaster. In the end, decisions must always come from the decision-maker. You must be able to keep your own counsel and be clear about your values; be confident in your decisions; and be healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically to make decisive decisions.

An example of a decision

Here’s an example to help you understand this concept. I was elected to the board of our children’s private school. I must admit, I (and the others elected) inherited a mess. The previous board refused to make any difficult decisions. The board members procrastinated. They wanted to be “liked” and popular instead of leaders called upon to make decisive or unpopular decisions. The result was moral, emotional, and financial bankruptcy.

However, the new board (all but one of the previous board members resigned) was a decisive decision-making group. The success of the school meant making difficult and, in some cases, very unpopular decisions—including laying off some staff members, firing incompetent staff, and changing the entire way the school was being operated. If we had listened to popular opinion, we would not have made those difficult decisions―and we would no longer have a school!

Of course, the individuals with the loudest negative opinions left our school. But we stood by our decisions. No popular opinions were going to change what we felt was the right leadership decision. Our group did our research, gathered the facts, and reviewed them—and then decided, quickly!

The results were miraculous. Now several years later they have a new building, a waiting list and their biggest issue is how to manage the demand. This new foundation was achieved in less than six months of decisive decisions, which overcame more than five years of procrastination, decisions by popular opinion, and simple neglect.

Being indecisive

Being indecisive drains your energy and leaves you weak, both emotionally and physically. However, a mind-made-up brings tremendous extra energy and power.

So, how decisive are you? Has your success been compromised by your indecision or decisions that you make and change quickly?  If I were to ask your close colleagues and friends, what would they say about this characteristic in yourself?

Making decisions and being decisive is a choice. I have found, with over 30 years of coaching others, that a significant percentage of individuals do not know where to start to make this change. Their whole life has revolved around reacting to others’ opinions and being burdened by their own lack of decisions.

If this is your case, your most important decision is to learn how to make decisions that fit you and your purpose. Many individuals want to figure out the formula to make the right decision every time, but that is not a realistic objective. However, here are four areas you must become aware of which will inform confident decisions.

1. Values

Understand which values are important to you will help you determine your top values and assist you in comparing the values you might think are important to those that are actually important.

2. Self-worth

Assessing the level of your self-worth will help you determine your confidence and self-esteem. Confidence is situational; there can be areas in your life in which you are very decisive and other areas in which you are not.

3. Stress and Health

You must evaluate the levels of health and stress in your life.  Your well-being will have an impact on your ability to make confident decisions.

4. Your personality and preferences

You will want to raise awareness of your natural behavioural tendencies and how you naturally like to make decisions.

Image Courtesy of Depositphotos

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Ken Keis, Ph.D, President of CRG, is considered a global authority on the way assessment strategies increase and multiply your success rate. In 28 years, he has conducted over 3,000 presentations and invested 10,000+ hours in consulting and coaching. His latest book, The Quest for Purpose: A Self-Discovery Process To Find It and Live It! takes you on a step-by-step journey to discover your life’s purpose.

Ken is the author of Why Aren’t You More Like Me? – Discover the Secrets to Understanding Yourself and Others, and co-author of Deliberate Leadership – Creating Success Through Personal Style. He has also co-created CRG’s proprietary development models, written more than 3.5 million words of content for 40 business training programs, and written over 400 articles. Ken’s expertise includes assisting individuals, families, teams, and organizations to realize their full potential, and to live On Purpose!