If you find it difficult to make decisions, or you worry that your
decisions are not good decisions, or you lack the confidence to make
decisions in a timely manner... you're not alone! Many people express
their concerns about their decision-making abilities. But if you ask
them, "What's your routine for making decisions?" they often will tell
you they don't have one. Truthfully they do, but they don't recognize
it, or they don't like it. Their decisions are based on SOMETHING, and
if they stop and think about it they'll discover what it is. However,
it's much better to purposefully and thoughtfully develop your
decision-making system, and then follow it whenever you need to make
I'll share with you some basic rules I follow:
1. If I'm really tired, I don't make significant decisions (except in
2. If someone is pressing me to decide something "right now," unless
an immediate decision is critical, I say, "If I have to decide now, the
answer is no. After I have had a chance to catch my breath and review
the facts, there's the possibility it could be yes." Then I put the ball
back in his or her court and ask, "Do you want my decision now, or
should we wait?"
3. I like to determine the maximum benefit of a decision, assuming
that everything goes my way. Then I ask, "Suppose nothing goes my way?
Suppose this doesn't develop and materialize as I expect it to? What is
my maximum exposure? What would I lose?"
4. For significant business-related decisions, I run them past my
advisors. These people are successful in their businesses and
professions and have a considerable amount of knowledge, experience, and
wisdom, all of which are musts in the decision-making process. I get
their advice and follow their recommendations, with good results in most
cases. If the decision is too minor to involve my advisors but I still
want input, I get my family together to look at the pros and cons.
5. I like to pray about my decisions. I ask God to help me see the
truth of my motives and to lead me in the way I should go. If I'm about
to make an unwise decision, I simply don't have peace about that
decision, and I consequently act on that feeling of unease. I ask
myself, "How will this decision affect all the areas of my
life--personal, family, career, financial, physical, mental and
spiritual?" Obviously, not all decisions affect all areas, but if the
decision involves a financial reward but also carries considerable
family sacrifice, for example, I think carefully as to whether what I
give up is compensated for by what I gain.
One final note:
Prioritize your decisions. Some are more urgent than others!