Do you make decisions that work for you? Or are you more likely to procrastinate, to a point where the decision is made for you? The fine line between success and failure depends upon the decisions we make, those we choose not to make - and how quickly and effectively we make them – every moment of every day.
Do you make decisions that work for you? Or are you more likely to procrastinate, to a point where the decision is made for you? The fine line between success and failure depends upon the decisions we make, those we choose not to make - and how quickly and effectively we make them – every moment of every day. Everybody has a mindset for success and process for making a decision, even though they may not realise it. Knowing what to Do, and when to Ditch an idea or action lies at the heart of having the confidence to make things happen.
Managing your business, your life or your workload involves making decisions: lots of them. Effective decision-making means developing the skill of achieving real clarity of thought and trusting your intuition to know ‘this is right’. At its core, making any kind of decision comes down to saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to an idea, an action, behaviour, or outcome – quite quickly. It is also a response to a want or a need. Wants will almost always drive decisions more than needs. Giving priority to what you want to do, rather than what you need to do is not necessarily a good idea.
A useful way to keep yourself firmly on track is to ask yourself regularly: ‘On a scale of 0 to 10 how much closer will this action take me towards my primary goal?’ (10 being ‘Yes’ and 1 being ‘No’). A low score doesn’t necessarily mean you should ‘Ditch’ your idea. It just means you need more information or to make adjustments before you take things further.
If it is not a 10, ask yourself:
‘What next action will take me to a 10?’
‘What is stopping me from taking the next step? (Is it money, skills, family, confidence, resources?)’
What is my greatest fear? (Is it failure, loss of face, loss of security, getting it wrong?)’
Commit to taking action: Identify the area that isn’t working. Look at your options. Identify what is working. Choose to do something about the area you have control over.
Prioritise: Prioritise those things that will take you closer to your goal.
Schedule: Don’t let your decisions escape. If you have identified an action, decide on an action date. The more you get used to doing this, the clearer your priorities will become.
Delegate: Try to confine your actions to those tasks that only you can do. Outsource or delegate anything else.
Monitor and measure: Stay in control of the process. Once you have scheduled a task or an activity, keep it under review. Revise or ditch those things that aren’t working. Focus on doing only those things that truly add value to your life, your work or your business.
An important part of taking decisions is the willingness to take responsibility for the outcome. This means in part being able to weigh up options and having the strength of character to make the best possible decision quite quickly. The characteristic that I have noticed consistently when working with successful people is that they are ready to be accountable for things that go wrong and they don’t dwell on past mistakes. When you take personal responsibility, you put yourself in control, and are able to influence the future outcome of a situation. If, on the other hand, you are constantly looking for someone else to blame, you make yourself a victim of circumstance. Do it! or Ditch it – but take responsibility for it.
The decisions you make will always depend on what drives you to succeed in the first place. For some it will be the heady draw of material success, for others the desire for recognition and belonging. Some will be motivated by stability or the needs of others; some will act because they know they will succeed. Your motivation is always connected to your main goal. People who have lost focus and direction have often lost sight of WHY they are doing something. When the going gets tough, the why keeps us on track.
If you find yourself constantly distracted from the task at hand, ask yourself what you are being motivated to do instead and why. What is your true primary goal? As Aristotle said, ‘We are what we repeatedly do.’ The important thing is to know what you want, why you want it and to make sure that every day your actions and behaviours take you closer to your true objective. However, motivation needs to be supported by clear goals and targets, and by positive action. The more we succeed the more motivated and confident we become – and the more likely we are to set the bar higher in the future.
The most important criteria for success are personal and relate to:
How many times on average does someone attempt a goal before giving up? Would you guess 1, 2 or 3? The real answer is less than 1. Many people give up before they even try. Self-discipline is the trait that makes the difference. If you know you can rely on yourself to be disciplined in approach, you know that there is the possibility of success. Without it, it is easy to feel defeated before you start.
I work daily with experts who are at the top of their fields in business, sport and every area of enterprise. When I am asked, “What is the one thing that sets those who succeed apart from those who fall short of their true potential?” or “What do successful achievers do that others don’t?” the answer is always rooted in self-discipline.
Successful people are willing to do the things that they don’t necessarily want to do, in order to deliver the results they want. Rather than stopping to question whether they want to do something, self-disciplined people are more likely to just get on with it! They put in extra hours and effort because they always have an eye on the long-term goal. A self-disciplined approach delivers improved performance and successful results – and keeps people on track.
Self-discipline is easier to maintain when developed as a habit in every area of our lives. Build your self-discipline muscle, daily. Ask yourself, “What changes in my own approach will make the most difference to my success?”
What do you need to START doing? Take action? Set achievable goals? Monitor your progress? Seek advice?
What do you need to STOP doing? Procrastinating? Living in the past? Having regrets? Blaming others? Putting yourself down?
What do you need to do LESS of? Spending? Watching TV? Eating junk food? Putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own?
What do you need to do MORE of? Networking? Saving money? Planning? Monitoring cash flow? Taking action?
By matching your desires to the actions you need to take to make your dream a reality, you can begin to apply the self-discipline required to make your future a certainty.
The successes that mean the most in life tend to be the ones that are hardest won. When things come easily we may undervalue the prize; when we feel safe we may stop challenging ourselves to grow and develop. At the root of every successful endeavour lies the courage to face fears and take action. To fulfil our true potential we need to step outside the realm of our ‘normal’ behaviour and do something that stretches our boundaries, broadens our knowledge, raises adrenaline and challenges us to explore new frontiers.
Being brave helps us to face up to anxiety and recognise it as a normal stage in learning something new. When self-doubt strikes and asks, “What if I fail?”, “Is it worth the risk?” “Am I good enough?” “Will I make it?” there is only one form of defence that will combat all known doubts – and that is to ‘adopt an attitude’ of bravery and step outside your comfort zone. The good news is that the braver you are, the larger your comfort zone becomes, and the more self-reliant, resilient and successful you will become.
If you have a great idea, Be Brave. Commit to DO-ing it or DITCH-ing it – but make sure that your best ideas don’t die a death from indecision.
Tags:DO IT! OR DITCH IT Bev James the coaching academy mindset success self discipline prioritise schedule delegate monitor ad measure responsibility for your actions TCA positive mindset positive outcome master your motivation be brave
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