What you’ll learn in this episode:
Have you ever caught yourself taking a really long time to make a simple decision?
Often, this is due to the fear of making the wrong decision.
What if I told you that’s something you can change? You could learn to make the best decisions for any situation within seconds.
Imagine ordering takeout and taking less than a minute because within 3 seconds you knew exactly what you were going to get.
We’re already making as many as 35,000 decisions a day. Imagine what you could accomplish if you let the majority of those decisions be about something that could grow your business.
Today, I’m going to provide you with the necessary skills to make faster, better, more effective decisions that will help you and your business create the results that you want.
Here’s a glance at this episode:
- An adult person makes, on average, 35,000 decisions every day. 200 of those are decisions around food alone.
- We will always notice other people taking forever to make decisions, but never notice it in ourselves.
- Your decision fears are habitual, so you can change them.
- When you don’t make a choice, you’re making a choice.
- Once you let go of this idea that there are always right and wrong decisions, you get to make more decisions that are just decisions. That’s all they need to be.
- Practice makes perfect. Practice making decisions.
Mentioned in this episode:
Work/Connect with me:
[00:02] Jessica: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the practical mindset podcast. I’m Jess Miller and I’m so excited to have you all here.
[00:08] As many of you know, we’re kicking off another round of my 10k accelerator group program and, as such, I have been handpicking different topics that we talk about in the accelerator that I think are really important for you all to hear about, and just to give you a glimpse into some of the things that we talk about and focus on in that group, that we work through. Today’s topic is really near and dear to my heart. In fact, I think it’s one of the most important skills that you could learn as an entrepreneur, or even for your personal life, and that is the topic of decision-making.
[00:46] If you want to move forward and make progress in your business and in your life, and really capitalize off of opportunities in a way that feels energizing, you need to be able to make decisions quickly and easily. This is a super important skill if you’re wanting to make money, because as you make decisions and being able to do that in a timely manner, and take advantage of the things that are in front of you, you are able to produce more and make more money in your business. I’m breaking this down into two different parts and today’s part is going to really focus on this concept of how we make decisions. We’re going to learn about three different things. We’re going to learn about how and why we make decisions, we’re going to learn about why we often take too long to make decisions, and then we’re going to learn how to make them more quickly and easily.
[01:51] Before I came on the podcast I did some research around decision making. I personally am fascinated by how peoples brains work and how we process information to take action, and part of being able to do that is our ability to make decisions. So, as I dug into that research I was floored by what I learned about decisions. One of the most amazing facts that I learned about decision making is that, on average, adults make 35,000 decisions a day. Are you letting that sink in? That’s like 35 with three zeros after it – 35,000 decisions a day, on average. Interestingly enough, I saw a study that was done by Cornell that said that around 200 of those decisions, 200 decisions are just about food every day. So, we are making an exorbitant amount of decisions every day, and it takes a tonne of energy and time to make decisions. I would go out on a limb and say that you literally aren’t doing anything in your day that you are not making a decision about, and often (very often) we are making those decisions automatically. We don’t know that we’re making decisions. We’re not consciously doing things and thinking, “I’m going to move my hand now” or “I’m going to click on this website” or “I’m going to tell this person ‘no’”. We’re just doing it. We’re just making these decisions all the time. We’re filtering information in through our brain and making choices all the time. Because of that, it takes a lot of our energy and it takes a lot of our our time, and we have our brain to become conditioned to do that based on the the wiring that we’ve done, the habits that we’ve created, so most of it is really done on autopilot.
[04:03] But most people, when it comes to the conscious decisions that they’re making, they take way too long to make decisions. Have any of you ever notice this about yourself or about other people? Have you ever noticed how long it takes you to make decisions? What your patterns were around making decisions what really tripped you up or took a ton of time? I find we notice this in other people a lot more than we notice it in ourselves, especially in our partners. I will share with you that my husband and I make decisions very differently. We’re very aligned on so many things but the way that we process information is very different. I tend to be a quick start, I make decisions super quickly without kind of thinking through them and planning out all the repercussions, and my husband tends to be more calculated about it and has, I think, a more involved decision tree when he thinks about things. So, it’s so fascinating when we’re trying to decide different things. For instance, one of the things that I see him make decisions about very carefully would be things like “what are we going to have for dinner if we’re going to order out? What are you going to get?” For me, I don’t really care as long as it falls into these three categories, I’ll eat it – especially if I’m hungry. So, it’s so fascinating to watch where we’re making decisions how we’re making them and where we’re taking more time to make decisions than we might need. Inherently, there is nothing wrong with taking whatever time it takes to make decisions, but I want to offer that it’s very important that we’re doing that deliberately – that we are intentionally taking time to make decisions where it’s important. What I have found that, oftentimes, we are taking a long time to make decisions in many areas where it may not be important, or we’re taking a long time to make decisions around things that we fear we’re going to make the wrong decision. For my clients, I see this type of thing come up a lot in business. In fact it is one of the number one things that holds people back from making decisions and moving forward in their business toward what they want or making progress. They get stuck in this place where they are really swirling in indecision because of this fear of making the wrong decision.
[06:50] Now, as I mentioned we make decisions out of habits – it is habitual, and, oftentimes, the things that we are fearing making wrong decisions about are also very habitual. They are very consistent – we fear making decisions around the same things. For my clients in business, many times that’s around the fear of either losing money, making money, the fear of either stepping forward and putting ourselves out there to do something that’s vulnerable. There’s a lot of different things that come up for them but those tend to be some of the biggest. The reason that we stay in confusion and have this fear of making the wrong decision is because we’re afraid that if we do that we’re not going to be able to undo it and we’re not going to be able to come back from whatever it is that we have created, and a lot of times that fear is really caught up in this idea of failing . Here’s what I want to offer for any of you who are resonating with this fear of making the wrong decision:
[08:08] First of all, staying in indecision is costing you time and money, which might sound really counter intuitive, because usually people are not deciding to do something because they are afraid that it will either waste time or it will cost them money, but, by staying in indecision, you are actually costing yourself time and money almost 100% of the time, because when you don’t make a choice, by default, you are making a choice. The catch to it, though, is you’re actually not making any progress. If you make a choice and then you learn from it, you have made progress toward making another decision, but if you do nothing, you actually cost yourself time and money but you go nowhere and you learn nothing. So, making no decision is making a decision. Second is that when you think about making the wrong decision, you have to always keep in mind that there is one person that gets to decide for you whether or not your decision is right or wrong. Do you know who that person is? It’s you. When I speak with my clients and I ask them about what they’re afraid of doing, like when something is wrong after they make a decision, what are they afraid of? What are they afraid will happen? I hear almost 100% of the time that they are afraid of what somebody else will think or what what will impact someone else. It’s always that it’s coming from somebody outside of them, but in reality, all the decisions that you make, whether or not they are good or bad, that decision, the deciding whether it’s good or bad, actually comes from you. I don’t know if any of you have ever had an experience where you’ve done something, or something has happened, and you are elated about it and the people around you are like, “I don’t know what the deal is” or the other way around, people are like all jazzed about something and they’re like “this is the best thing ever” and you’re kind of looking around like “I just don’t get it”. That’s because your decision, the decision around how to think about that experience, comes from internally, and you get to own your own decision. You get to decide what you want to think about it. We say that all the time on this podcast. So, whether or not your decisions are right or wrong are always always up to you. The other thing that’s so important when you think about being afraid to make the wrong decision is that when we stay in indecision or when we choose to not make a decision because we are afraid of it being wrong or we are afraid of essentially failing at it, what we are doing in that moment is choosing to fail ahead of time. We are essentially choosing to not do anything, so, basically, if we don’t make the decision and we don’t do the thing, we’ve essentially failed at it, but we’ve decided to do that before we even tried. That seems like it is logical to us, like “if I don’t do anything, I’ll just protect myself from failing at this or getting it wrong”, but the only way to really get it wrong is to not do it at all. The only way to really fail at it is to not do it at all. So, we think we’re avoiding the failure and we’re avoiding the “wrongness” of it by not doing it at all and failing beforehand. When we don’t do it at all and we don’t fail and, we’ve talked about this on other podcasts that we’ve talked about here, when we don’t fail we literally can never succeed, and we’re just making the decision to do it first, to fail first. So, this idea that we we are going to make the wrong decision is really a self-fulfilling prophecy – it’s something that we come up with, we have our own parameters of it, we decide what is right or wrong, and then we basically sit in it, and the way that our brains work is we always create the result based on that thought to validate the thought. So, if, for instance, you wanted to do something and you decided you weren’t going to do it and you had no results from that, you’re validating that this thing is not going to work because, essentially, it doesn’t work because you’ve never done it. So, we stay in this place of this fear of wrongness because we are not making a choice, we’re not making a decision but we are essentially deciding to fail ahead of time.
[13:34] The other thing that’s so important about this, and around if we are staying in this place of fear and we’re not making these decisions, that we’re taking too long to make them, we’re in this swirl of indecision that’s getting us nowhere. By the way, just as a side note, I want to say, for many of us, especially the clients that come to me to talk to me about this, they are suffering. They are suffering. It’s like we’re afraid to suffer by making the decisions, we’re afraid to make the wrong one, we think that we’re going to avoid that pain, but being in indecision and not making decisions, or deliberating over it, is so painful. If any of you that are listening to this are in this place where you’re struggling to make a decision or you consistently struggle to make decisions, you know what I’m talking about, about this friction and this pain. By the way, you are not alone and many people struggle with this, and, I believe, we’ve never been taught the skills to be able to make quick decisions and to be able to support ourselves through making them, so we stay in this place of fear of being afraid to make the wrong ones. What I want to offered to you is that there is a way to make quick and easy decisions, and it just takes a slight twist in your perception and how you think about it, and, also, it just takes practice.
[15:05] So, what I discovered with making decisions, and I make quick decisions and I love making them, and guess what, they are not wonderful 100% of the time. I wouldn’t even go as far as to say that they are “right” 100% of the time. They are just decisions. I have taught myself that decisions don’t need to be right or wrong. They just need to be what they are, and whatever that outcome is, I get to decide if it was the right one or the wrong one. For me, personally, I have learned and I have taught myself that 100% of the time I am going to support myself in the decisions that I make. By default, I am always learning how to make decisions and I am always embracing that I made the best decision that I could make, and that it was the right decision in that moment with the information that I had and the things that I had to go on to make the choice. What I’ve also discovered is that no matter what happens in my life, even the things that I love, even the things that I would categories as the best things in my life, or the best decisions that I’ve made, I don’t love any of them 100% of the time. I want you to really pause and I want you to think about the things in your life, the decisions that you have made, or the the circumstances in your life, the things that you really love, that you really enjoy, and I want you to ask yourself, “do I love this thing 100% of the time?” and for most of us the answer is “no”. Even my favorite foods, I can’t eat them all day long. I love ice cream, it’s one of my favorite things, but in reality, sometimes I’ve just had enough ice cream. The people in my life, my favorite people, I love them to the ends of the earth and back – sometimes they totally irritate me. My favorite song – sometimes I get sick of it, sometimes I just don’t want to hear it. So, 100% of the time of loving something isn’t really possible, in my opinion. So, if we embrace this idea that no matter what decision we make, some of it is going to be awesome and some of it is not going to be so great. Basically, every decision and every experience we have, some of it I’m going to like and some of it I’m not going to like, no matter what decision it is. Some people have described this like 50% of the time you know it’s positive and 50% of the time it’s negative – we hear this with the Yin and the Yang of life, and sometimes I think living a rich life is being able to hold those two things constant – I love it and that is true and I hate it and that is true. It’s like a love hate relationship, that’s where that saying comes from. But, if we learn to embrace this idea that no matter what we decide, we’re going to love it and hate it, then no matter what we do, if we are willing to support ourselves in, we can learn to accept our decision, no matter what it is. That when we get to the other side of that decision, when we have the result of that decision, if we’re willing to embrace that some of it’s going to be good at some of it’s going to be bad, and that we can make another decision that will be equally as good or equally as bad, that will have some good times and some bad times, then we, essentially, are not afraid to make a decision and keep making the decisions, because in those moments after we make the decision, we know we are not going to be beating ourselves up about the decision that we made – we are not going to be buying into the story of why this is a horrible decision. There may be some horrible parts about it, just like there is with everything, but there’s also going to be some great things about it, and regardless of what that is, we’re going to be able to support ourselves through that, and we’re going to be able to make our decisions quickly and easily.
[19:45] So, how do you go about doing that? How do you go about making quick and easy decisions? The answer is: you practice. You literally practice making decisions. I encourage you all to start trying to do this right now. You can start with very simple things like, for instance, if you’re going to decide what to have for lunch, you give yourself 3 seconds to decide and then you make the decision. Once you make the decision, you stay with it, you follow through with it, and then you support yourself on the backend, and if you want to make another decision, you make it quickly and you keep making these decisions and supporting yourself as you go along, and what you find is that making decisions can be easy and it can be quick, and you don’t have to beat yourself up about it, no matter what it is. You can just make those decisions and support yourself, and keep making another decision. Here’s the thing, every time you make a decision, you learn something. You learn if you want to make that decision again, you learn if you don’t want to make it, you learn what you like about it, you learn what you don’t like about it, and you keep moving forward. Making decisions is literally the key to making progress. Here’s the real linchpin – people think that it has to be making the right decision or good decisions, but actually what’s most important is that you are just making decisions, because, many times, there is no way for you to know what you’re going to think about it until you’ve made it. We try to preempt that, just like we tried to preempt the making the wrong decision, but in the process, we end up doing nothing or we end up making some story up that is not in service of the thing that we want to create. If you want to go after your dreams, if you want to build your business, if you want to make the money that you want to make, you need to consistently make decisions and then you need to marry your story about those decisions with the result that you actually want to get so that you can keep making decisions toward that goal. The worst thing that you could ever do is not make decisions, or sit in indecision telling yourself a story that is not in service to the thing that you want to create. I’m going to repeat that. The worst thing that you can do is not making any decision, or say stuck in indecision with a story that is not in service to the result that you want to create.
[23:00] So, if you want to make progress, you need to: one, be on to how you’re making the decisions, be on to the fact that you are making decisions, many decisions, 35,000 of them a day – many of them are on autopilot. Where are those decisions that you’re getting hung up on that are taking you a long time, that are costing you time and money? Two is, how are you going to move through that? How are you going to practice making decisions in a way that is quick and is fluid, and in a way that you go through it and then you support yourself on the other side, so that you can continue to make decisions and support yourself so that you get closer and closer to the result that you want, to the goal that you want? Because, as you do that, you’re collecting data and collecting data, and sometimes you’re failing, and sometimes you’re deciding you don’t want to make that decision again, but then you’re making more decisions, and making more decisions. In every step of the way, you move closer to what you ultimately want – one decision at a time. Really, success in the business that you want, the money that you want to make, is made, literally, one decision at a time, and through that you end up compounding all of these decisions to make up a life that you have literally chosen and created by design, because you are intentionally making these decisions toward the things that you want.
[24:39] Next week, we’re going to talk about decision-making from another angle, but I want to offer to any of you listening to this who are struggling to make decisions, who feel like you are swirling in that place of indecision, to reach out to us and schedule a call to hear more about the 10K accelerator program. In our accelerator program, we talk about how to make decisions quickly and easily with a very simple formula with understanding what is coming up specifically for you in your business as it relates to the decisions that you need to make to move your business forward. This is not something that you have to take a lot of time to learn. Oftentimes, people just need to dig in and see what it is that’s holding them back, and work with someone who can guide them through how to make decisions in a way that feels good and that is reproducible so that they can go through their business being able to make those decisions quickly. So, check out the link in the show notes for the 10K accelerator consult link and book a call with us today – you’ll be so glad that you did.
Until next week, see you all soon.