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15 Tips For Business Owners Looking To Boost Their Decision-Making Confidence

Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council

Forbes Source:

As a business owner, it can be easy to float by in the minutiae of the day. But when the time comes to make decisions, especially major ones, you may feel the anxiety start to creep in. You want to make the best decision for your company, but are lost in a sea of doubt that makes it difficult to know what the right path really is.

When this stress and total paralysis sets in, you may not know where to turn or what to do in order to find the confidence to make your decision—especially if the clock is ticking. To help, 15 members of Forbes Coaches Council share their best tips for business owners looking to overcome their anxiety and boost their confidence.

1. Gather Information

Notice if you have all the information you need to feel confident making your decision. If not, consider what additional questions you need to ask to find the answers you need to take the next step. Remember: you don't have to have the complete answer right away. And don't hold back asking questions, as you're the one who will need to live with the informed decision you make. -Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching

2. Take Your Time And Be Sharp

Unless a decision needs to be made right away, take the time to sleep on it. Get the information you need to move you closer to your decision and move forward with it only when it feels right to. Until then, take your time. As CEO, it's your job to make decisions every day, so do what you need to keep your mind sharp (using anxiety-reducing tools) and your handle on the pulse of your business even sharper. - Michelle Tegola, iTribe Social

3. Create A Mastermind Group

Join or create a mastermind. When a business owner speaks with the other business owners at a similar level who are smart and committed to helping each other grow, her thinking is clearer. The mastermind will clarify her goals, challenge her thought process and offer advice, as well as support. Therefore, the decision-making process is not only shortened but also solidified with confidence. - Amy Nguyen, Happiness Infinity LLC

4. Surround Yourself With Mentors

In order to overcome decision-making anxiety and paralysis, it is best to enlist a team of mentors, a business coach or an executive advisor to bounce ideas off and gain wise counsel. It is important to have a team in order to deal with the breadth of the inquiry. They can help you by asking questions and establishing your assumption set, which will allow you to make an informed decision. - Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience

5. Get Feedback

When people and finances are at stake, it sometimes feels paralyzing to make the right decision. A list of pros and cons, feedback from you and feedback from mentors, team members, colleagues and trusted friends go a long way to helping get clear on the direction to go. And sometimes we don’t have all the information we would like. Make the best decision with the information you have. - Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC

6. Focus On Facts

Decision-making anxiety/paralysis can easily develop into repetitive non-productive patterns of behavior. Avoid focusing on the fantasy of what might happen; focus on facts. Write on a chart what’s gained and lost by making: 1) a pro decision, 2) a con decision, 3) no decision or delaying a decision. This method is like opening the closet door at night to reveal there are no hidden monsters. Now breathe. - SueAnn Freeman, Active Coaching Techniques

7. Make Sure You Weigh All The Options

Most people view decisions as binary. This or that. But most decisions have many more options. I recommend drawing a matrix that includes all options, listed on a vertical axis. Then add columns labeled Pro, Con, Cost, Known Consequences, Potential Unintended Consequences and a last column for how much each option forwards your goals (in percentages). Then, do the math, choosing what is optimal. - Amie Devero, Amie Devero Coaching & Consulting

8. Develop Alternative Solutions

One method to overcome decision-making paralysis is to develop several alternative solutions, compare the solutions to a set of criteria and select the best option. This approach aims to produce the optimal solution by comparing options and emphasizes analytical reasoning, ensuring business owners consider and evaluate relevant factors to remain objective and make timely and accurate decisions. - Jonathan Silk, Bridge 3 LLC

9. Use A Visual

It sounds very simple, but when thinking is blurred, writing and drawing can help get clarity. I ask my clients to write down all the upside and downside points of both decisions. Perhaps even draw a visual of where their business will be, should they go with either of the choices. More often than not, when they are done writing and drawing, they have their answer already! - Marina Cvetkovic, The Peak Alliance

10. Take Small Steps Every Day

In business, there are always a lot of different moving parts. You can't control all of them! So focus on what you can control. Keep your eye on the horizon of where you want to go, but concentrate on the small steps you can take today to move you forward. Not only will you make progress little by little, but you'll also minimize the risks. And you'll build your confidence. -Gabriella Goddard, Brainsparker Leadership Academy

11. Discover Your Personal Decision-Making Style

Tune in to the part of you that made good decisions in the past. Is it your heart, intellect, gut instincts, values or the part of you that prefers spreadsheets? Honoring your innate decision-making ability will elevate your confidence. The next step is to prevent second-guessing your decisions. Begin by checking to ensure that all your decisions are aligned with your values and long-term vision. - Doris Helge, Women's Leadership Success Strategies

12. Focus On Long-Term Goals And Values

It can be easy to get overwhelmed with all of the decisions you have to make as an entrepreneur or business owner. There are a lot. Before making a decision, write down all of your long-term goals and values. Keep these with you and reflect on them each time you are confronted with a decision to make. Continually ask yourself, "How will this support my long-term goals and values?" - Kyle Cromer Elliott, MPA, CHES, Kyle Elliott Consulting

13. Consider The 'Both/And' Mental Model

Business owners limit their effectiveness when they apply a simple problem-solving model to complex dilemmas. Simple problems require an "either/or" approach with one right answer. A dilemma involves interdependent opposites (such as mission/margin, continuity/change, short/long term) and requires a "both/and" approach to managing over time. Neglecting one pole can mean going to the downside of both. - Kay Peterson, Institute for Experiential Learning

14. Don't Let Your Legacy Be Inaction

Any choice is better than no choice at all. Ask what's the worst thing that could happen. Have a backup plan if needed. But too many leaders take too long to make any decision, leaving the team and line managers floundering in a perpetual state of waiting. The fastest way for people to feel their life being sucked out of them is by creating a nothing state culture. Show courage and take a stand. - Joanne Markow, GreenMason

15. Use Decision Anxiety To Your Advantage

Don’t try to avoid anxiety, lean into it. Find your sweet spot ratio of anxiety to a performance by recognizing that anxiety is not all bad, and identify opportunities to use the power of anxiety to your advantage. This paradigm shift takes power away from anxiety and gives it back to you. You’ll find yourself regaining the confidence you had before anxiety started having its way with you. - Ron Young, PAIRIN

Article: ©2019 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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