Decision-Making The Root of All Action 118 Step 9: Deal with any roadblocks standing in your way If you've tried to balance the objective analysis with the subjective approach and are still stuck, try to figure out what's holding you back. When you find yourself unable to make a decision, ask the following questions: · · · · · · · Could I benefit from more outside input? Have I done enough research? Do I need to force myself to stop researching and start deciding? Am I trusting my instincts and judgment enough? Am I keeping my priorities and goals in mind? Is fear of making the wrong decision holding me back? Is that fear justified? Am I delaying this decision because I'm concerned about what I'll have to do after I make it? If you demand honest answers from yourself to all of these questions, you'll zero in on the root of your paralysis, and you'll be able to get past the roadblocks. If you still can't get around the road- blocks on your own, consider working with a coach, career counselor, or psychotherapist for an objective and supportive perspective on the situation. Step 10: Take the plunge At some point, you have to do one simple thing: Decide already! Keep in mind what I said earlier about how most decisions come without bells, whistles, and light bulbs over the head. You might find this tenth step to be somewhat anticlimactic. Don't let that deter you. If you've carefully pro- gressed through the previous nine steps, then you're in a good position to make a sound decision. Go ahead and do it! Don't Sweat It Very few decisions in life are totally irreversible. It might be inconvenient, expensive, and even a little embarrassing to admit that you made the wrong choice and need to go back to square one or plan B, but doing so is almost always an option. If you find yourself putting too much pressure on any decision you make, keep in mind that having freedom of choice is supposed to be a good thing; it should not be something that causes undue stress. The Least You Need to Know · When you delay making decisions, you put your life on hold and miss out on opportunities that might not come around again. · Decision-making is a skill that can be learned. · We often make decisions more difficult than they need to be because we expect the perfect choice to materialize before us. · Avoid spending too much time on minor decisions that someone else could handle for you or that don't warrant much of your mental energy. · Good decisions are based on a combination of rational analysis of the choices and listening to your gut instincts. · When you're faced with difficult decisions, follow the simple 10-step method described in this chapter.