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How to Make Hard Decisions Easy

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How to be more confident when you're making tricky decisions

The average person makes 17,000 decisions a day. Most of those are easy ones like what to have for breakfast or what time to leave for work, but some of them are harder.

Hard ones usually involve:

  • Infrequent or unknown situations that you aren't confident about (like buying your first house, or hiring for a new position)

  • Situations where there are no clearly superior options (where every alternative has a downside)

  • Scary decisions that have a high perceived risk (like a significant financial or personal commitment that could go wrong.)

  • Milestone choices that change how you think about yourself (like personal development or a job change.)

You'll know it's a tricky decision when generic Google searches are totally unhelpful and no-one can make the decision for you.

I've been making a few of these lately, as my business grows up at pace. We're going from "Alicia McKay the person" to "Alicia McKay the experience" and it's throwing up all sorts of big choices and fears.

In the last week alone I've made choices about our brand identity, hired a lead facilitator, looked at new office space, set ambitious targets, committed to a terrifying budget... and had to constantly challenge the little whisper in my head saying "who do you think you are, Alicia McKay? This is madness!"

Every tricky decision is unique and has its own considerations, and the more important it is, the less likely there is to be a 'right' answer. But there is a handy trick you can use to be more confident in your choices and keep you moving on your life plan.

You need to tap into your personal compass.

You know the one. Maybe you think of it as your gut, or your integrity. It's the reason why no-one else can give you the answer - because you're the only one that has it. 

Tapping into your personal compass means asking yourself questions like:

  • Why do you care about this?

  • What is the broader significance of this decision for you?

  • What would living your values look like?

And most importantly...

  • What failure could you live with, if you knew you'd done the right thing?

Then, if you get it 'wrong' or it blows up in your face, you'll be able to live with the consequences. No level of safety, sensibility or logic can give you that. Nor can Google.

Rock on.