Stop Making Decisions Based on Other People’s Opinions
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” ~Roy E. DisneyBasing 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 LeaderIn 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 FearWhen 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 ValuesStart 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.
- 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?