Have you ever struggled with decision paralysis? If you have, then you know how easy it is to get bogged down by your own thoughts, insecurities, and fears when trying to make an important choice. You worry that you’re choosing wrong and you end up second-guessing yourself.

How do you put yourself in the best position when faced with difficult decisions? For women in leadership, how can we more consciously bring those critical thinking and problem-solving skills into the way that we work and lead? 

I have a lot of conversations about these things with my own clients, and truth be told, even myself! 

So, I thought best to bring in an expert to talk about critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. That person was Bethan Winn, a critical thinking facilitator, speaker and coach. Bethan believes that critical thinking skills are vital for the future of work. They help you make conscious and confident decisions, solve problems, support you to act in line with your values and purpose, prioritize, save time, and save money. AMEN!! 

Here are 6 pieces of practical advice from Bethan on how you can make decisions with confidence. 

1. Identify what’s really important.

There are studies that state we make 30,000 decisions in a day! But, it’s not that we need to think critically about all of them, because literally, you’d be in complete paralysis and you’d never do anything! The solution? Take a step back and identify what’s actually important (and don’t get hung up on the mundane little things!) – doing this will help you make those truly important decisions. Focus on the big picture stuff, put it into perspective and identify the major life choices that you need to make – whether that’s in your career, where you live, your life partner, or your life in general. 

“I’m a big proponent of taking responsibility, taking control, and being self-aware in what you’re doing, so that you can wake up and be like, ‘YES, this is where I want to be,’” Bethan says. By being self-aware and identifying what’s really important to you, you can be more confident in the decisions that you’re making.

2. Get a clearer picture of what the real situation is.

“I’m trying to juggle my family and work”, “I feel lost in my career”, “I feel stuck” – do any of these sound familiar? To make better decisions, Bethan suggests getting a clearer picture of the real situation. What can you change that IS within your control? Sometimes, it’s about changing the situation. But, you also don’t have to make life-altering decisions overnight – take baby steps. It’s not about throwing everything out and starting over, but more, “What would an ideal situation look like?” Think of an alternative vision. Remember: You need to see it, to be it. 

3. Speak to people outside of your echo chamber.

We need to continue to consciously expand our echo chambers, because it’s usually so easy to keep being the victim or keep thinking that everything is happening TO us when we’re surrounded by a small chamber of people who are echoing the same sentiments. Hence, it’s important that we consciously find ways to break out of that and continue to expand our belief on what is possible and what could be. 

4. Have courageous conversations.

If you’re in a leadership position; particularly, if you’re a woman in leadership, know that your decisions are just as important, valuable, and needed  in the situation as anybody else’s. As women, we can shrink ourselves and make ourselves smaller in order to fit in. But the fact is, we need women in leadership to use their voices to stand up and be strong and be brave, and we also know through plenty of research, that when we do Organisations achieve better results. Have the uncomfortable conversations, look for the allies that you need to be heard. Know that what you have to share and say and offer is valuable.

5. Embrace the coin flip technique.

Here’s a very quick and easy technique when you’re trying to decide on something: do the coin flip technique! If it’s a decision you’re overthinking and it’s not that much of a big deal, this technique can help you decide. (You’ll have to check out the poddy to find out what this one means). 

6. Do the ‘nibble, don’t scoff’ technique. 

“I’m a big fan of ‘nibble, don’t scoff,’” Bethan says. Essentially, it means finding ways to test out a decision first before going all in. For instance, in the corporate setting, you might want to put someone on a temporary contract first before hiring them full-time. So, you can apply that same principle to those other big decisions that you’re really stuck on. Whether it’s a financial decision, a life partner, a business partner or a job, you never know until you’ve actually done it and tried it. But, the nibble approach kind of gives you permission to take action in smaller bites. Because when we’re overthinking things, we have a tendency to make them bigger than they are. With this approach, even the tiniest of steps, a nibble, will help you feel better about the situation.

The Bottom Line

It’s impossible to know whether the decisions you’re making are 100% right. But, instead of feeling powerless, remember that your gut can be just as powerful a reason to make a choice as everything else mentioned here. 

Want to listen to my full conversation with Bethan Winn for even more gems? Check it out here.

If you’re reading this blog and know in your gut that you need some support getting clear on your career and leadership strategy and vision, then don’t wait. Take that first ‘nibble’ and book a call in my calendar HERE