How to Make Confident Decisions When You’re Not Confident

Making confident decisions is hard, made harder by all the pressure life piles on you, and we've all been in that place where we don't know which way to go.

In fact, if you’ve never doubted, second-guessed or been afraid of making a decision, I’ll buy you a speedboat. Or a castle. Or a castle filled with speedboats.

I can make that deal because I know struggling with decisions is part of of deal with being human.

So if you have a lack of confidence in decision making, and wish you could have more confidence in your decisions, here are seven ways to do just that.

1. What if it Didn't Matter?

How many decisions have you made in your life, both big and small? Thousands? Tens of thousands? How many of those do you remember, exactly?

We have a tendency to blow our choices up into grand, life-changing moment sometimes. Make the wrong move and you’re irrevocably screwed.

But of course the truth is that very rarely are your choices life-altering or world-impacting. Sometimes they're just choices you can make, see what happens, and then make another choice.

It's your brains' need for certainty that drives you to place more emphasis or importance on a choice than it might warrant, an emphasis that unwittingly drives second-guessing and self-doubt.

Left or right? Backwards or forwards? All guns blazing or slow burn? Sometimes, it just doesn’t matter which way you go. The important part in making confident decisions is being willing to make a choice and do something.

2. Get Some Support

Making a choice in isolation is like forecasting the weather from the inside of a locked box at the bottom of the ocean. It becomes guesswork.

Errr, sunny and 72; hail and strong winds; fog and blizzards. No idea.

You’re connected to more than just yourself, and bouncing an idea off someone or asking for help with a tricky choice can illuminate something that otherwise would remain dark.

Getting support or input ISN’T A WEAKNESS, IT’S common sense

You don't have to make every decision by yourself, but nor is this about acting on the advice and opinions given to you (because sometimes people don’t want you to change at all). This is more about feeling supported, before, during or following your decision.

It’s that support that gets you out of that box, up to the surface and breathing fresh air.

3. Reconnect

Making confident decisions is almost impossible if you're disconnected from the things that matter to you.

Without a foundation, a bedrock or a basis for decision-making, how can you possibly know which way is best, and then get behind that choice.

Your values—the things that truly matter to you in yourself, in others and out there in the world—are your bedrock

Explore and reconnect with the things that matter to you. The things that resonate. The things you give a damn about.

For me, these things include creating value, hearing people, laughter, creativity and more. So I base my decisions on these things, and get to be confident that they're the right decision.

What matters to you? 

4. You Might Never Have All the Data

When you're not feeling confident, it's easy to wait until you know all the information before you make your choice.

But of course, if you want to wait until you have all the data before you make a choice, then you could be waiting a really, really long time.

Sometimes, there are so many variables that you can’t factor them all in. Sometimes the nuances are such that projecting an outcome is nigh-impossible. Sometimes, you just don’t need to have every bit of information before you make a choice.

Sure, it’s great to make a well-informed decision, but the pursuit of more information can become a great way to procrastinate and put off making a decision.

You don't need to know everything. Knowing when enough is enough is key in making confident decisions.

5. Shaking In Your Boots Doesn’t Preclude Confidence

There’s a common misunderstanding that confident people don’t get scared. That they don’t feel fear. That they’re fearless.

Bullshit.

Fear is part of how your brain is wired, and it's there to remind you that things might not go to plan and you might lose out. Sometimes, of course, that's enough to get in your way, make you doubt your decisions and stop you?

But here’s the thing – you can be shaking in your boots in the face of a decision, and still trust yourself in the knowledge that you can deal with whatever happens on the other side.

BEING CONFIDENT IS THE QUALITY THAT ALLOWS YOU TO FEEL FEAR WITHOUT JUDGEMENT

Confidence is being able to notice fear when it bubbles up, then respond intentionally and deliberately.

6. The First Decision is to Trust

Before any big choice, what if you were to make one decision first?

THE CHOICE TO TRUST YOURSELF

You can still have myriad fears and doubts, but actively remembering and deciding to trust that you can deal with whatever happens takes the pressure off and makes it okay for you to take that first shaky step.  The choice to trust yourself is sometimes the only choice you need.

All it needs is for you to create the space in which you can make a confident choice.

7. The Distance You Leap Scales

The potential of a decision is only realised when activated with your own kinetic energy, otherwise it remains lifeless. This activation requires that you take a breath, puff up your will, and leap. That’s how you cross the gap between where you are and the other side of the decision.

Deliberately.

If you’re not used to making decisions and lack confidence in decision making it’ll feel weird at first; possibly unnatural and probably uncomfortable. Your brain hates discomfort and uncertainty and will do what it can to steer you back from the edge. But it’s okay.

Remind yourself what’s really important. Remind yourself how far you’ve come. Remind yourself what matters.

A full and rich life requires you to leap from one side of a decision to the other, and the more you’re used to making decisions the easier it becomes to make that leap and the further you can jump without giving yourself pause.

That's confident decision-making in action.

How about you? What do you do when you're not confident in your decisions?

More on confident decision-making

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The Only Way to Know if Your Decision is the Right One

Decision making can drive you crazy. What's right? What's wrong? Which way to go? Find out the only way to know if you're making the right decision.

MAKE BETTER DECISIONS BY AVOIDING THESE BIG MISTAKES

Make Better Decisions by Avoiding These Big Mistakes

Making decisions is hard enough, without falling into these common traps and mistakes. Start making better decisions right here.


  • If it doesn’t add up,or you follow your gut, stay out your feelings and “Remind yourself what’s really important. Remind yourself how far you’ve come. Remind yourself what matters.” I use to be the one to put all my eggs in one basket and say f@#%#%. It’s better to keep your sanity and expect nothing from anyone or anything. Sometimes we tend to pressure the situations and stress when its not worth it. Stop thinking and weigh your options and if the good out weighs the bad and its WORTH IT. Meaning it will benefit YOU.

  • My decision making process tends to be based on guts. If I feel strongly urged to do something, I do it. Not the best method but it usually works for me.

    Though I know I need to change that and the tips in this post are really helpful.

    Thanks for the nice post, retweeted!

    • Gut instinct counts for a *lot*. Crazy of me to leave it out of the article here so thanks for the reminder. That gut instinct / intuition / quiet voice tends to know what’s right for you and will give you the answer or at least a very strong hint. What gets in the way of that is all the “stuff” (i.e. thinking) that’s piled on top.

      Thanks Ishan.

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