Developing “Decision-Making Mental Toughness”

Anyone else feel particularly stretched by 2015. For me it was a year that stretched me in ways no other year in business has (and I have 11 others to choose from). It was a year of tremendous pruning and tremendous growth (both personal and professional). This past year was full of moments when I had to make crossroad-type decisions that will have a big impact on the kind of business we will and won’t become, and it seemed like the most important decisions had to be made based on incomplete information.

Have you ever had a goal you were ready to run hard after, but felt the next steps you need to take are less obvious than you’d like? It’s a bit disorienting isn’t it? Depending on how much clarity you lack regarding the right path to take, the feeling you’re left with can be anywhere from wishful to paralyzing. I think of wishful as hope without confidence—a “well this seems logical, so hopefully it works,” and paralyzing is a “Holy crap! What if I choose the wrong path? This could really set me back!”

The Three Best Lessons of 2015:

#1: There’s a third option

I discovered there is a third option besides wishful and paralyzed when it comes to a tough decision—for lack of a better name, I’ll call it “tenacious, adaptive learner.” I can never account for every variable when making tough decisions (especially when you have to make a decision based on incomplete information). But what I can account for is personal tenacity to make the most of a decision, even if in hindsight it wasn’t the best one I could have made. Finding ways to learn and grow from any decision is always possible and that leads me to the second big lesson of 2015.

#2: Action is better than inaction

You can’t steer a car that’s not moving. Sometimes I just need to make a decision. It's only a bad one if I don’t learn from it. So, my new course of action with tough decisions is to set a decision date, think hard, decide, and learn…quickly if the situation demands, but learn. Then, dust myself off if I have to and get back up. Keep fighting. It’s amazing what you can accomplish…when you have to. Can anyone else relate to that?

#3: No regrets

I’d rather look back on life and say I gave it my all (even if I failed) than look back with regret and say, “I wonder what would have happened had I tried.” No one cheers for the person who doesn’t try. The world doesn’t rally to support those with analysis paralysis. The man we cheer for is in the arena, fighting. Even more inspiring is that we cheer harder for him when he gets beat down but gets back up! If I’m going to take my lumps (and who of us isn’t?), I want to be that guy you cheer for, the guy my family cheers for, the person who lays it all out there. Maybe I’ll get a bloody nose, but I want to be the guy who gets back up with the look of tenacity and focused determination on his face. The world may knock me down from time to time, but darn it, I’m getting back up!

Bring it on 2016! We’ve got this!

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