5 Ways to Improve Your Confidence in Decision Making

By Andy Hayes

Every day we are bombarded with decisions: cream or sugar in your coffee?  shampoo and conditioner or just shampoo?  send the proposal or send the client elsewhere?  You know where I’m going with this…

When it comes to complex decisions, or decisions that have long-range consequences — like buying/selling stocks, purchasing a house, deciding to get married, leaving a job, starting a business — those bigger decisions can lead to a lot of anxiety and indecisiveness.

Don’t fret about making important decisions – here are five ways to improve your confidence.

1. Educate Yourself

One of the biggest things that can undermine confidence is a lack of knowledge – but hey, easy fix! There are so many sites online to educate yourself – DailyWorth, Udemy, Skillshare – so there’s no excuse.  Google also makes for a good teacher.

Don’t hesitate to go offline and seek out more help – from a professional consultant or local expert. When getting help, here are two things to keep in mind:

  • What specific parts of this topic do I not understand?
  • How will I know when I have enough knowledge on this topic?

Otherwise, you’ll spend all your time learning and avoiding the decision making part.

2. Phone a Friend

You know those TV shows where someone can phone a friend in a pinch for help?  You can do the same – but who you call matters.  The best person to call is a friend that you trust and doesn’t have an attachment to the outcome.

Explain the situation in enough detail for them to get the idea, and ask for their opinion – or, if appropriate, what they would do in your shoes.

Then, thank them for their advice and hang up the phone or pay your bill at the restaurant.  You’ll need to decide whether or not to use their advice, but do that privately.  No, you don’t need to always take the advice – in fact, the new perspective may help you know what you really think.

3. Write Down the Consequences

Still having trouble making your mind up?  Improve your confidence by full understanding the consequence of your decision.  Few decisions will end up in death and disaster, but what could happen?

I say write it down, because drawing out what the future could look like (good and bad) can help your mind really unlock what you are afraid of.  Making the risks and rewards clear can help increase your confidence.

4. Try to “Flip It”

Business and lifestyle expert Melody Biringer offers another great tactic for tackling tough decisions, which she calls Flipping It.  Basically, what if you did the total opposite thing, how would that feel?  For example, if you’re trying to decide how much money to invest in the stock market, what if you decided to invest that money in gold bars instead? Or invested it in a local startup?

The crazier the idea, the better.  At the best, you’ll find a new great idea, and at worst, you’ll get a fresh, upside-down perspective on your decision.

5. Trust Your Gut

Recent research has proven something that we’ve all know is true:  our gut is often right.  If you’re having trouble making a decision, what would the answer be if you just trusted your instincts?  If you’ve exhausted the previous four tactics, then your gut is more than likely has the best answer possible.

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