The past couple of weeks have been quite stressful. I was struggling with a career decision that had been presented to me. For several days I wavered back and forth uncertain which way to go. I knew I could provide the organization with what they needed, and the offer was very intriguing. I also knew whichever decision I made there would be disappointed people. One of my fears was that I would second-guess any decision I made and spend several days regretting the decision. Finally, I set a self-imposed deadline for making a decision which I gave to the organization making the offer. I wasn’t going to allow this indecision to go on any longer. Prior to the deadline I informed the organization that I would decline their offer.
As soon as I made the call, I felt immediate relief. There was no second-guessing. There was no disappointment on my part for the decision I made. I was asked if I regretted the decision I made. I didn’t.
Anyone in a leadership role has gone through similar circumstances. We face challenges and opportunities that force us to make difficult decisions, and many times those decisions create tremendous stress for us. We go back and forth trying to make the best possible decision fearing a bad decision. The stress robs us of our sleep, our appetite and our joy.
Several years ago I read something that helped in the past, “You don’t have a problem. You just have a decision to make.” I recalled that statement, and it helped me finally make my decision. It was really a simple decision. It was going to be either yes or no. It was not a life-threatening decision nor ultimately a life-changing decision. Once I realized that I had to make a decision, and that either answer would be OK, the decision came much easier. Once the decision was made the problem was resolved.
I have made some decisions that did have a significant impact on my life, and not all of them were positive impacts. But, I was treating this decision almost as if it was one of those. It wasn’t, and neither are many of the decisions we are called upon to make. We struggle and wrestle with problems that often turn out to be rather insignificant in the overall scheme of things. In such cases we should gather the information we need, take some time to absorb that information, and then make the decision.
Doing this will eliminate a lot of stress in our lives. It will also encourage our team members when they see that we are not afraid to make decisions. It will allow us to focus on more important things in our organizations than the relatively unimportant problems that we occasionally face.
The next time you struggle with a decision remind yourself that “You don’t have a problem. You just have a decision to make.” See if that helps you make your decision quicker. I’m betting it will.