Do you ever wish you could take back a bad decision?
Investing in Bitcoin when it was at its all-time high. Anyone? Just me?
I’ve said “Yes” to the wrong opportunities and “No” to the right ones. It’s only by looking back on these situations that I’ve learned to improve my decision-making skills.
Many of us have these regrets, but most don’t have a system to review our decisions. Our decision-making process needs to improve. Otherwise, we won’t reach our goals.
Many people struggle with uncertainty, fear of making the wrong choice, lack of information, emotional biases, and conflicting priorities when making important decisions. Social pressures, past experiences, and self-doubt may also influence them. These factors can make it difficult for individuals to weigh the options and make a clear, confident choice.
I struggled in many aspects of my career. I would let my fear of mistakes hold me back. When I made a mistake, I would berate myself. I didn’t want to be mean to myself. I hurt my future decisions for months, even years.
As author Ryan Holiday writes, this is why our ego can be our enemy (Amazon Link). We try something challenging, and when it fails, as it often does, we beat ourselves up. No wonder we don’t take smart risks. We are too afraid.
I remember working for a client who wanted my help rewriting the company’s board of directors report. They added to my scope of work, but I was afraid to speak up. I didn’t feel like I was good enough to speak up. My inner voice kept saying, “Just do the work. Worry about payment later. You’re just lucky to have this client.”
This made me so angry I destroyed one of my favorite possessions.
It starts with the lens that we bring to each and every situation.
We can see life from any lens we create. You might see life as serious, beautiful, amazing, painful, boring, or a little part of them.
You tease out the life you want through practice.
How you currently see the world is due to many factors. The main ones are because of your DNA, your past influences (parents, teachers, friends, etc.) and how you used these experiences to forge your mindset. Your lens isn’t fixed. Once you appreciate this, you can learn to adjust it to make better decisions faster.
Did you ever play video games as a kid?
I still love a good round of Mario Kart with my sons. Each game always has its rewards to encourage you to keep going and dig a little deeper to learn and grow so that you can overcome the next level.
Try the lens of seeing yourself as a character in a video game: A character going to work, trying to earn money to level up their life. You get to pick your character’s clothes, food, and attitude. You get to choose who to talk with and support throughout your day. (Pro tip: The more people you help in this video game, the more people want to help you.)
It’s all about seeing how flexible your mind can be when you choose the lens in that situation. Life is not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes we need to get angry or upset to get stuff done. The idea is to consciously choose this option instead of allowing past habits to dictate your decisions.
Openness to a situation means you don’t become entrenched in your expectations. This hope helps us get back up when we get knocked down.
When my client wanted me to help them with the board report, I got excited because I earned his trust. I dove into the work before setting expectations. I didn’t want to upset them by talking about money.
I did a great job helping them improve the report, but I kept procrastinating on sending an invoice or saying something because I didn’t want to complain. After a few weeks passed, it was too late. I worked late to give them feedback and adjustments. It was hours of work that I never saw payment for. They loved the work.
I got so mad at myself that I went into my closet and ripped apart an old Batman t-shirt that I loved. I needed to destroy something, and it was the first thing I found. It was how I let go of my anger. I’m not proud of this, but it helped me process my feelings.
I had one client who liked to write her bad decisions down on a piece of paper and burn it in her outdoor fire pit. She liked to do this at least a few times a year.
You must figure out what helps you let go of the bad decision so that you can learn from it.
This situation showed me how I viewed money and my difficulty advocating for myself. I didn’t value my time enough to set clear expectations and explain that this was outside the scope of work.
Looking back on this now, I didn’t even realize I was self-sabotaging myself. I was so used to my inner voice being mean that I didn’t think to question it. Now that I’ve dug into this part of myself, I’m getting a better understanding of my beliefs and how they influence me. It was a huge step in improving my decision-making process.
I’ve learned to make adjustments. You can adjust what you say “yes” to and what you say “no” to whether you are in the corporate world or own a small business. The first step is releasing your feelings. Then you can learn from the situation and make better decisions.
How do you let go of past mistakes?
Learn your decision-maker personality type, so you can make better decisions faster. Just take the Decision-Maker Personality Quiz and you’ll learn how you adapt to each situation with a few small adjustments.
Photo by Ezra Jeffrey-Comeau on Unsplash