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Expert Coaching Tips To Help You Overcome The Fear Of Making Decisions

Making decisions can be a terrifying prospect to many people who are afraid of what will happen if they don’t choose the right thing.

The fear of making the wrong decision, or "decidophobia" — a term coined by Princeton University philosopher Walter Kaufmann in his book Without Guilt and Justice — can affect people even when it comes to the smallest choices, such as what to have for lunch or what to wear. Decidophobia can lead to blurred thinking, a lack of clarity and increased dependence on others to choose for you, all leading to an overall lost sense of direction and control.

The fear of making decisions and embracing change, whatever the consequences, will keep us stuck in place when we should be moving forward toward new experiences. Below, 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council offer their best tips to overcome the fear of making decisions and help you progress at work and in life.

1. Break The Chains That Bind

Fear is a powerful force. Yet, when confronted, it can also be an equally powerful indicator. Instead of allowing fear to paralyze you, choose to break the chains that bind. This means taking bold, consistent action, in spite of any fear you may feel. Once you break its stronghold, you are free not only to make key decisions but to live life on your own terms. - Karima Mariama-Arthur.WordSmithRapport

2. Try The Decision-Making Quadrant

Beyond listing pros and cons, my favorite coaching tool for decision-making is the Decision-Making Quadrant. In relation to the decision to be made, list answers to these four questions: (1) What happens if X happens? (2) What won't happen if X happens? (3) What happens if X doesn't happen? (4) What won't happen if X doesn't happen? Your decision will almost always be found in your answers. - Michelle DumasDistinctive Career Services, LLC

3. Reduce The Number Of Decisions

If making decisions is a weakness, it's important to acknowledge that and reduce decision-making in as many areas as possible. Eat set meals. Wear standard outfits. Develop a morning, work, and evening routine. Do everything else you can to reduce decisions. Then, consider practicing making decisions with someone who is more decisive to observe how they operate and to help you take action. - Elizabeth SaundersReal Life E

4. Be Curious With Yourself

Ask yourself, "What is the absolute worst thing that could happen if I did X?" This should be followed by, "What's the likelihood that will occur?" Then, "What's another positive possibility?" Lastly, break it down, "If I decide to X, what's one small step I can take today to move this forward?" Decide to take one forward-moving step at a time. Trust it will lead to the next logical step. Decide and step. - Kris McCrea ScrutchfieldMcCrea Coaching 

5. See Things From A Different Perspective

Nothing ever changes until we change it. However, when decision paralysis has taken over and "what ifs" are holding you down, sometimes you need to step outside of yourself for a different perspective. This is where channeling a personality of someone you trust and respect can come in handy. Just ask yourself, "What would X do?" and help it be your guide. Small steps build trust! - Laura DeCarloCareer Directors international

6. Learn To Trust Yourself

Here is a simple exercise I do when fear kicks in. For seven consecutive days, say this phrase out loud a minimum of five times per day: "Because I trust myself!" On day eight, notice the differences you feel inside yourself and journal about them. Moving forward, when making a decision, state the phrase until you feel the same shift in your body you wrote about. Begin with small decisions; build up over time. - Susan TaylorGeneron International

7. Detach Yourself From Outcomes

If decision-making is difficult for you, first take a look at potential options and consequences. Which outcome do you fear the most, and why? What is truly the risk involved, what could you lose or gain, and what is the worst that could happen? Empower yourself by being prepared for the worst case scenario and realizing that you can handle it. Even unwanted outcomes can bring opportunity. - Andrea MacKenzieLead With Harmony

8. Take It One Step At A Time

Change can be hard. Not everyone likes to deviate from routine by making decisions, big or small. When making a decision, look at it as a learning experience, no matter what it is. Every choice we make teaches us something. Don't be scared of the outcome. Look forward to it. Making that next decision might be the best thing you ever did. - Erin KennedyProfessional Resume Services, Inc.

 9. Get Disruptive

One underlying factor that hinders clients with indecisive tendencies is confidence, or the lack thereof. Understand that inactivity or not making a choice is a decision in itself, which creates more uncertainty in its outcome. Using disruptive tactics to change this behavior may initially seem risky, yet may yield new opportunities. Create an action list with decision deadlines and stick to it! - Rachel Lourdes MestreRachel Mestre LLC

10. Start With Priorities
 

Start with knowing your priorities, which should be no more than three. Create goals and a plan to progress your priorities forward. If the decision doesn't fit into your priority buckets and the plan you created, the answer is "no" or "not right now." Keep a list of your "not right nows" and pick them up when the time is right. - Kelah RaymondSPARC Solutions Group

11. Stop And Breathe

If someone is afraid to make even the smallest decision, they've got too much going on in their mind. Another term: analysis paralysis. Take a moment, or five minutes, or perhaps take a vacation to really think through what's going on. Then mind-map or Post-It note map. Jot down what decisions you can make, and commit to one. Then move to the next. - Caroline StokesFORWARD Human Capital Solutions

12. Take The Next Small Step

First, write down the pros and cons of each option. Then, determine what information might help make the decision-making process clearer. Start gathering information. Seek advice from those in the know. Read up on the topic. Take action and experiment. Continue making small steps, and pretty soon you'll be informed, and the decision won't seem so scary. - Rebecca BoslDream Life Team

13. Learn About Impostor Syndrome

Many people suffer decision-making paralysis thanks to their inner critic whispering fear-based messages warning of impending failure if they make the wrong choice. This is a characteristic of Impostor Syndrome. Examine where those messages came from. Question how true they really are! Leap into the void with your big ideas. This builds your confidence muscle, and in tandem, fear diminishes. - Tegan TrovatoWorkplace Forward

14. Think Of Risk As A Two-Sided Coin

When we make decisions based on fear, we always overcompensate or undercompensate, leading us to experience the very thing we were afraid of in the first place. Risk is a two-sided coin. If an employee is afraid to share bad news with his boss, they only ask, "What will happen if I tell my boss?" They forget the other side of the coin, "What will happen if I don’t tell my boss?" - Brad FedermanF&H Solutions Group

Forbes Coaches Council   |   
Munoz's biggest challenge at United: fixing a 'toxic culture'

In this article, FHSG President Jerry Glass is interviewed about fixing the toxic culture at United:

Jerry Glass says people are right to be skeptical that United can change. But he's bullish. "I see a very different United taking shape," says Glass, who's been involved with United in the past but wasn't part of any recent negotiations. He points to the reaction last summer when Munoz hired Scott Kirby from American Airlines as president. "I saw excitement at United that I'd seen maybe never, that they were bringing in the best people they could. People I know at United went, wow!"

Crain's Chicago Business   |   
Your Mission Statement Sucks. Here's How to Craft One That Works

In this article, COO Brad Federman was interviewed by Inc. to give tips on how to write a successful mission statement. Besides serving as a touchstone, your company's mission statement can work for you. Here's how to craft one that pulls its weight.

The much-maligned company mission statement can be a powerful and lasting sales tool. Here's how to start.

Ask why, not what

Before you pen a mission statement, consider why your company exists, not just what it does. One company's execs told Brad Federman, COO of consulting firm F&H Solutions Group, "We make electrical parts. It isn't sexy." But its components are in the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge. That led to a new perspective and a clear mission: "We help build and sustain American icons through quality American manufacturing."

Keep it short

Three sentences are about the most you should ever have," says Federman. "If there are a lot of paragraphs, people won't remember them. One of the best was Pepsi's one-time mission statement 'Beat Coke.' People would come to work thinking, 'How do I beat Coke today?' "

If you can't do it right, don't do it

"If a consultant or marketing firm wrote it for you with nice, flowery language, it's meaningless," Federman says. A bad mission statement can hurt you, he adds. "If it says one thing and people see the company doing something different, it creates doubt in employees' and customers' minds. You're better off without one."

Inc.   |   

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