How do you decide what to decide? There is a great line in the play Into the Woods that we have used in our Total Leadership connections program that shows how so many of us wait to let others make decisions while we stand on the sidelines waiting for a signal for our next move.
Picture Cinderella all dressed attending the fashionable royal ball and having a wonderful time with the handsome and charming Prince.
She is not used to making decisions and so leaves the ball to catch her pumpkin home before the clock strikes midnight. Talking later she says she was not sure how to tell the Prince she wanted to see him again. Her comment was “I left him a clue, my shoe and now he has to decide what to do.” (Yup it rhymes.)
In any case, she is so proud of herself because her decision was not to decide.
Any out there relate to this?
How many time have you held back waiting for someone else to make a decision so you can’t either be blamed or regret?
Do you, like Cinderella bide for time or do you have a clear idea of what you want and need and simply state your preference?
There are two main ways to decide. You can either be a maximizer or a satisfier.
Here are some questions to answer to find out which style you prefer:
Answers are from 1 which is strongly agree to 5 which is strongly disagree. Please answer quickly since your first thought is usually coming from your subconscious and will tell you more about yourself than you realize.
- Are you happy with your life right now? Remember 1 strongly agree, 2 is agree, 3 is neutral, 4 is disagree, and 5 strongly disagree.
- I like to learn from my decisions rather than get angry if things don’t turn out well.
- I always live up to the highest standards I set for myself.
- I have trouble deciding what I want to eat at a restaurant, especially if I am with other people.
- I pivot to blame others if my decision leads to a poor outcome.
- I don’t like to expect a positive outcome; I just don’t want to be disappointed.
- I love to look back and constantly revise my history with lots of ‘if only’ or ‘it was not the right time’.
- I aim low so I won’t be disappointed.
- I am more right than wrong when making important decisions.
- I tend to delay (like Cinderella) and prefer others to make the choices.
- I am proud of myself for being strong and standing for what I believe.
- I do lots of research before making decisions.
- I ask at least a dozen people their opinion to be sure of what I decide.
- No one in my family ever taught me how to make effective decisions.
- I was a rebel and would make snap decisions rather than listen to others.
Add up all the strongly agrees.
If you have at least 6 or more, good for you, you tend to be a maximizer and have a positive and healthy way to look at life decisions.
Add up the strongly disagrees and know that if you have more than 5 you need to practice making decisions on a daily basis.
Start with something small in the morning, like choosing what you really want to eat for breakfast and keep going through the day. Notice what happens to your breathing each time you make a decision. Those who are Minimizers often feel a tightness in your gut, almost as if you are waiting for something awful to happen or that you will be judged or get yelled at.
The rest of you can be considered Compromisers and pleasing others is a major priority for you. Yet, while you may take more time to make a decision, often it turns out well for all parties involved.
My theory is that each of the three ways to decide is right in different situations.
We are all complex human beings and deciding what and how to decide the next steps is both exciting and curious. The fun is to go where you have not gone before and keep learning and growing.