Everybody knows that tough decisions are a part of life. Oftentimes, we have to do things that we don’t have much choice in. Those decisions include confronting people, following up with a client, asking people out on dates, and so on. Why not simplify your decision-making process?
Before we go on, I want to share a story of where I got this idea. My company’s 2015 convention was coming up, and I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to go because I went to the previous event (the convention was in Texas, and I live in New Jersey) at a time when I was low on money. I believed that my faith would earn an epiphany that would turn my business around. Instead, the convention was little more than a weekend-long pep rally that year. On Sunday night, I came home to a lack of hot water that lasted for 3 weeks.
Unfortunately, I was so afraid of what my colleagues would think of me skipping the 2015 convention that when it was first announced, I began splitting the monthly payments for the hotel, tickets, etc. with my sponsor. As the months went on, I felt more and more stressed out, especially since my sponsor later ended up having to pay for both of us.
Of all times, four days before my flight, I finally decided to skip the convention. It was after 1:00am, and I was angry at myself for doing something so stupid over peer pressure. In case you haven’t noticed, one of my stress-relievers is writing. So I decided to write a list of what I’d gain from cancelling the trip, and what I’m afraid will happen if I do.
Of course, the “gains list” ruled out. So I texted my sponsor to explain my situation and apologize. We went back and forth two or three times, and he eventually gave in. I slept amazingly that night, and the confrontation was nowhere near as bad as I had feared.
I was afraid that my local teammates would never let me hear the end of it. I was afraid of being judged as not being serious about my business. I was afraid that people would make fun of my lack of success. The worst that really happened was my sponsor’s brief attempt at talking/texting me out of the cancellation. I’m not even sure whether he was angry.
There’s an old saying that about 95% of the things we’re worried about haven’t happened yet. In a way, we’re altering the course when we do the thing that we’re afraid of. For all we know, none of those fears will actually happen.
Back to the list, here’s how it works. Get a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center. On the left side, write “Great News.” This is where you write down all of the positive things that will or may happen if you make that decision. Maybe you’ll finally be standing up for yourself. Maybe your decision will help you save money. Maybe it will help a loved one.
On the other side of the page, write “Bad News.” Of course, this is where you list all of your fears. Write down the things that can go wrong if you take the action. If you think people will react unfavorably, list it. If your planned action will have negative long-term effects, write them down.
When you have everything written down, focus on the Great News list. Take a while to visualize the scenarios on that list. When it overpowers the fear of the Bad News, take the action.
This list technique has helped me permanently overcome several issues, including public speaking and giving out cards — which I used to think were a waste of time. I challenge you to make the great news/bad news list into a habit of your own.
Make a nice day!