Stop Making Decisions Based on Other People’s Opinions

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” ~Roy E. Disney

Basing your decisions on other people’s opinions is a good way to find yourself dissatisfied and unfulfilled.

Most decisions you make have a ripple effect – sparking a chain of events that can affect others. This can bring a level of awareness, which is great, and it can also bring hesitation, doubt, and worry.

When you come from a place of fear, you hesitate to make a decision. The fear is allowed to spiral into an endless game of “what if?” – worrying that others will dislike your idea, that you’re not qualified to make the decision, or in the worst case scenario, that the decision will blow up in your face.

Making Decisions as a Leader

In a Forbes article on making better decisions, author Mike Myatt says “nothing will test your leadership mettle more than your ability to make decisions.” Myatt goes on to suggest that leadership cannot be separated from decision making – they are forever linked.

Quoting Cyrus the Great, Myatt explains that while successful leaders do seek the counsel of others, they maintain control over the final decision.

Yet, so many of us – leaders included – allow caution over the decision-making process to paralyze us.

Through my work coaching leaders, I get behind-the-scenes access to the decision-making process. When I witness avoidance to make a decision, I find that it’s usually fear-based, and not because there isn’t enough information to aid in making the right choice.

Banish the Fear

When you’re making a decision and the “what-if’s” start, did you ever notice many of the “what-if” scenarios that play out in your mind are rooted in what other people might think of you?

We’re human. Most of us do seek approval from others. We want to be part of a group, appreciated and liked by our peers. When we think of the “right choice”, too often we allow our decision to be guided by our perception of what other people might think about our choice, or what someone else might believe is right.

The truth is, we all make bad choices from time to time. When we rely more on what other people think than our own values, we increase the likelihood of making a bad decision.

Decisions Based on Your Values

Start making better decisions today by first developing a vision of your work and life that represents your strongest values. Think about what’s important to you, what you love, what you value.

When the big moment comes and you need to make a decision, go back to the exercise above to come into alignment with your values. Knowing what matters most to you can give the clarity necessary to reduce the stressful “what-if” factor of decision-making.

3 Tips to Make the Right Choice

  • Stay true to yourself. Define what’s really important to you and outline the impact that your decision might have on your overall vision of your work and life.
  • Remain well-aligned with your values. Remember that other’s opinions are based on their own limitations and limiting beliefs – they are not the experts on what is right for you. Relying on someone else to make a decision for you diminishes your own power and confidence in your abilities.
  • Consult with experts or others who have accomplished similar goals. While you should never allow anyone else’s opinion to cloud your judgment, it’s important to gain all the insight and knowledge you need to help you make the right choice. What better source than someone who has done what you want to do?

Whether you’re a leader in the corporate world, the owner of a business, or the head of your own household, you’ll be asked to make many decisions during your lifetime.

Some decisions will be so straightforward, they will be no-brainers.

But when you encounter a more difficult decision, put your values first and don’t worry about what others will say or think about your choice. Consulting with the right people can aid you in gaining the facts you need to make the decision, but in the end, it’s you who must rise up confidently and declare your choice. Now that’s leadership.

Leave a comment below and let me know what holds you back from making immediate decisions. I’ll bet the group of us has more in common than we think!


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  1. Sanjay S. Pandaram

    Knowing your values is key. Don’t worry about the policy documents, procedure manuals, how to, decision metric, flow diagrams etc – use your values as the criteria. It will always guide you in the right direction.

  2. Karen Osburn

    Great article, and I am a HUGE proponent of basing your decisions on your values. Awesome!

  3. FireStarters

    Totally agree! When our values are in line, we can not only make decisions, more importantly the best decisions.

  4. dollybelle

    Contacting your values in order to make a life plan with potential is key. Loved this article! As a life coach myself, I couldn’t agree more with your process! Love it!

  5. Staying true to your values, staying true to yourself, and getting expert help… This article was a value bomb with tons of maturity. Great read!

  6. Jodi… I wish I had a buck for every time I made this mistake… I’d be on a tropical beach somewhere! Thanks for another great post!

  7. Absolutely, Kevin! It’s great to get an experienced perspective on your situation but at the end of the day we all need to make the decision that fits with our unique vision and and values.

  8. Jodi, THANK YOU for this – it’s such a great piece because I feel like making decisions and just saying “no” is something we ALL struggle with. It’s easy to let others’ opinions and views get in the way of our own desires and what we know is the right thing to do, but when we do this, we risk reaching our own goals. Why would you ever want to put that at risk? Great tips here!

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