Ep #206: Being Decisive
As human beings, we have the privilege of looking into the future, planning what we are going to do, and using our prefrontal cortex to honor that decision. This unique ability allows us to create incredible results in our lives and in the world.
A lot of you spend way too much time indulging in confusion and don’t make decisions, which causes you to miss out on reaching the next level and evolving into an even better version of yourself. This lack of decisiveness is holding you back.
In this episode of The Life Coach School, we take a look at why you absolutely must make decisions more often. Join me as I share my best tips to help you increase your decisiveness, save time, catapult growth, boost your confidence, and achieve amazing results in your career and any area of your life.
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Listen to the show
What You will discover
- The benefits of making decisions ahead of time and honoring them.
- How the indulgent emotion of confusion is holding you back.
- The key reasons why you must make decisions more often.
- How necessary it is to ponder whether you should make a decision.
- My tips for helping you make decisions more quickly.
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hello, my friends. My dogs just got excited when I said that. They're my friends too, but you guys are my friends. Oh my gosh, what an amazing day. I just got back teaching a master class and it was just amazing. It was like - I think it's been like, two weeks now since I taught it and when I say I got back, I mean drove back from the hotel that's 20 minutes away from my house.
But here's the thing. The reason why it's on my mind is because one of the things that I asked them to do was to write a couple line testimonial after the six days they had spent with me, and I decided to do a master class because I'm normally spending time in person training coaches. So I decided - one of my students actually asked me, could you please do a coach training for clients and just teach us everything we need to know.
So I decided to do a six-day training just for clients who wanted to learn all of my material and be coached by me, but not become a coach. And so, we had a group come and spend the six days, and they all wrote testimonials. I asked them at the end if they wanted to write a testimonial and I just got done reading the testimonials, and I cannot even tell you guys like, how amazingly profound it is to read about people's experiences and what this work does to their life.
A couple of the people said it was the most transformative experience of their life. And I believe them because so many people came there with no understanding of these tools or how to apply them to themselves. And I feel like they will never be the same again, ever. So I'm just feeling like, so much gratitude and just so much love for the work that I do and the people that I get to meet and the lives that are being changed because of this work. So, super grateful. And all y'all for listening to the podcast and staying connected with me.
Today we're going to talk about being decisive. We're going to talk about making decisions because some of y'all spend way too much time in confusion because you don't make decisions. So I've talked on the podcast before about making decisions. I've talked about making decisions ahead of time and how important it is to access your prefrontal cortex, that highest part of your brain to honor a decision that you've made, to make a decision and then to honor it.
That is one of the privileges of being a human being is we can look into our future, we can plan on what we're going to do right now. We can make a decision right now on what we're going to do then, and then we can honor it. It's something that animals can't do at the level that we do it, and I think that when we start truly accessing the abilities of our humanness that aren't available to lower forms of animals - is it lower forms? I don't know. My dog might disagree. That's when we really tap into our potential, I think.
So I've talked about that before, decisions ahead of time. I've talked about it in terms of making a decision about whether you're going to drink or not, making decisions about what exactly you're going to eat, making decisions about what you're going to do as it relates to building a company, or working out, or anything that you want to do in the moment that you're not going to feel like doing. Making decisions ahead of time and honoring them is the way that you overcome that primitive brain that likes that instant gratification.
The second thing I've talked about on the podcast is indulging in confusion. I talk about indulgent emotions and confusion being one of them. We spend a lot of time in, "I don't know," so if you go to thelifecoachschool.com under podcast, and you search for, "confusion," or you search for, "indulgent emotions," or you search for, "I don't know," you will find multiple podcasts on this topic.
One of the things that I see holding back most of my clients is this idea, "I don’t know how to do something," or, "I don't know what I want to do." And the problem with staying in there is always indulging in confusion and no momentum forward. And it feels important, it feels like you need to be confused for a while, but confusion is always indulgent. It doesn't serve a higher purpose for you or for the world.
The third thing that I've talked about is that there are no wrong decisions. A lot of people like to disagree. They're like, "Yeah, that first marriage was a wrong decision." People like to tell me, "Dating that guy was a wrong decision." "Moving to that place, doing this thing, making that mistake was a wrong decision."
And I encourage you to not think that there are any wrong decisions, to think that everything happens exactly the way it was meant to happen, and that all of our decisions that we make are the path of our life and we can honor that path and we can honor ourselves for the decisions that we've made, and we can have our own backs for those decisions.
And if we do that for our past decisions, we're going to be much more eager to make decisions now because we know that we will back ourselves up and have our own backs in the future. We won't call those decisions wrong.
I want you to think about it. What makes something a wrong decision is only you deciding that it was a wrong decision. Isn't that crazy? Like, there are no wrong decisions unless you decide that something was wrong. And I encourage you not to do that.
So why am I doing a whole podcast on being decisive? Why am I encouraging you to make decisions? And I'm going to give you some really good reasons on why you need to make decisions and make them more often and be decisive.
Number one, making decisions saves time. Being in confusion, being in, "I don't know," wastes your time. It's indulgent and it burns your time up. "I don't know if I want to have kids, I don't know if I want to get married, I don't know if I want to get a job, I don't know if I want to change my job, I don't know." All these I don't knows keep us in a place of limbo.
And that limbo is what costs us our time of our lives. By not making decisions, what we do is postpone the decisions. Because here's the thing, not making a decision is a decision in itself, right? So we're just indulging in confusion and staying where we are when really, we could have made that decision way ahead of the course and been much more proactive with it.
So number one, make decisions because it saves time. Number two, making decisions increases your action. So many of us are not taking enough action towards the things that we want, we are saying that we're confused, we're saying that we don't know how, or hemming and hawing over what to do and which decision to make, which means we're not putting any contribution out into the world.
And most of us, when we don’t make decisions, we just consume more information, or more food, or more alcohol to make up for the fact that we haven't made a decision. When we make a decision, then we can start taking action towards that decision.
So, should we start a business? Should I not? I don't know. I don't know what my business should be, I don't know what my niche should be, I don't know if I should marry this guy. As soon as we're like, yes, I'm going to marry him. Or, yes, this is my business and this is the decision, then we can start taking action. And when we start taking action, we learn so much. And we participate in the world and we show up in a better way.
Number three - so the first was save time, the second was increase our action, the third is increase our growth. The way we that evolve is by expanding our experience. The way we expand our experience is by making decisions and doing something. Confusion is the opposite of that. Pretending we don't know what to do is the opposite of that. So we want to grow.
Number one, save time. Number two, increase our action. Number three, increase our growth. And number four is increase our confidence. The way that we can increase our confidence is by taking action and learning and knowing what we want to keep doing, what we want to stop doing, what we want to move towards.
As soon as we make a decision and we get out of, "I don't know," our insecurity goes away. Think about how you feel when you're confused, when you're doubting, when you're hemming and hawing. And then think about how you feel when you're decisive, when you make a decision and you back yourself up on that decision. That is a whole different level of confidence.
The way that we have to think in order to make decisions and have our own backs is the kind of thinking that creates the feeling of confidence. And when you create the feeling of confidence, you want to make more decisions. And the more decisions you make, the more you increase your growth, the more you increase your action, the more time you save and the more confidence you increase.
Decisions are always made in an instant. Thinking and pondering and discussing only seems necessary. All it does is prevent you from making a decision until you make a decision. So a lot of times, people say, "Oh, I took a month to make that decision." No, you made that decision in one minute, you just waited a month before you made it.
Do not confuse yourself with this. Decisions are made in a second, and when you keep changing your mind back and forth, you make a decision, you unmake a decision, that is the opposite of making a decision. So I want you to encourage you to make a decision and then stop. All other options, have your back, follow through, honor your decision no matter what.
The only time you change your mind about a decision is once you have taken action and gotten more information, and you feel positive about that decision. A lot of people will make a decision, they'll take a little bit of action, they get scared and doubtful, and they want to go back into confusion.
That's not the same as making a decision, taking some action, realizing something was not what you wanted, and then making another decision. Instead, we just sometimes go back on our own decisions and then we don't have our own back.
So the question that you may have in your mind is, "How do I decide? How do I get out of confusion and make a decision?" And I'm going to give you some guidelines. Number one is I want you to consider everything, and here's what I mean by that. A lot of times, when we're making a decision, we have self-imposed limitations on it.
So someone will say, "I can't decide whether I should call them back right now or not," as if they're considering all of their options. And I'm like, there are so many things that you need to consider, so many different options at this point, and you're only giving yourself these two, so step back for a minute and consider this: would you choose it now if there was no history bias?
So if you were starting brand new, would you choose whatever it is that is the status quo? So for example, if you are deciding whether you should leave a job or not, re-decide whether you want to take it or not. If you're deciding whether you should keep an employee or not, ask yourself, would you hire this person again? Would you marry this person again? Would you buy this house again? Would you spend this money?
Whatever it is, consider all your options and ask yourself, would you choose it now by removing your history bias? A lot of us say, "Well, I've just been doing it for so long." That may not be the reason that you want for choosing something. And remember, when you make a decision, you want to make sure you like your reason for choosing it.
The next thing you can do - and this is one of my favorite tools to give to my clients when I'm coaching them, when they're trying to decide between two things, I say, I want you to imagine that both decisions turn out amazing. You succeed at both of them. Then, which one would you choose?
One of the reasons why some of us don't choose one option over the other is because we've played it out and we've already anticipated failure. We've already anticipated that we won't know how to do something or we've succumbed to our own doubt about something.
And what I want you to do, when you're making a decision, you're trying to decide between one thing or the other, if I stay married, the marriage turns out amazing because I make it amazing, and if I leave, my life is amazing because I make it amazing. So knowing that either way I could have an amazing life, which one do I choose? Clears up decision making so quickly.
The next thing I want you to consider as you're making a decision is what if failure is no big deal? What if you're just either winning or learning? If it didn't matter if you failed at it, would you do it? If it didn't matter if you failed at trying something, or quitting something, or moving out into something, would you do it if failure didn't matter?
Because remember, failure is just the way you think about it. If you're only winning or learning, then there really is no failure. Nothing is a failure. So when you take out the thought that failure ruins everything and that you could fail, which one do you do?
The next thing I want you to consider is can you say yes to both things. A lot of times when we're making a decision, we sometimes think that if we say yes to one of them, we're saying no to the other. And sometimes we don't want to say no to the other and so we don’t make a decision. But what if you could say yes to both things. Maybe a timing thing, you may be able to have both things.
Like should I leave my job to become a life coach, well what if you could keep your job and become a life coach in the evening? What if you could have both? Would you choose both instead of saying yes to one or no to the other? I always want you to consider that you don't have to make a decision, and you can really make a decision to have both things that you're trying to decide between.
The next question that I think is helpful is 10 years from now, what does your future self say and why. When I'm making big decisions in my life, I always ask my future self what should I do and why. My future self always seems to know exactly what to do. I anticipate myself, 55 years old from today, what do I tell myself?
I'm like, so much wiser 10 years from now. I always have the best answers. Here's the thing. If you have a big decision that you're trying to make, if you've been anticipating one thing over the other, give yourself a deadline to make that decision. Make the decision and move forward.
So I just coached someone on this recently. They couldn't decide whether or not to have kids. And I said, "How long are you going to be deciding?" there's no risk in deciding. The only risk you have is in the decision, in making the decision. So give yourself until the end of the month and then you will decide one way or the other to do something.
Now, if that feels scary to you, you're doing it right. It's okay to be afraid. Making decisions is what propels us forward. It's what makes us grow. It increases our action, our growth, our confidence. It saves us time.
Another question you can ask yourself is what would love do? I can't even explain why this question works so well, but it does for every single decision I've ever made. I always want to do what love would do. Every situation. And sometimes love means you leave, and sometimes love means you say no.
Another question is what moves you towards who you want to be? Fear is not a reason to not do something. In fact, most of the things we're doing we're going to be a little bit afraid to do. Discomfort is not a good reason not to do it. In fact, discomfort is the currency to getting to what you want in your life. So just be really clear and answer the question, what moves you toward who you want to be?
And then finally, ask yourself, what is the best and worst-case scenario? I have a podcast on this and this can help you. Look at both options, or all the options, and for each option, consider what is the best-case scenario and what is the worst-case scenario for each of the options.
And here's what I think you'll find out: the worst-case scenario is missing out on the best-case scenario. Alright my friends, have an amazing week. I'll talk to you next week. Bye-bye.
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