Have you ever been 90 or 95% certain about a decision that you have made, but that last 5 or 10% have you second-guessing yourself? You lie awake at night asking yourself questions like: Is this the right course to take at this particular time? Am I stretching my business’s resources too much? What if the market shifts too soon? Will our competitors get the jump on us if we delay a couple of months until I am absolutely sure about this plan?
Second-guessing becomes self-defeating if we waste time wondering if we made the right decision and hoping that we got it right. Going ahead with a decision that is even a little questionable could have devastating consequences for our company.
Second-guessing can actually be a positive experience if we use it to spur ourselves to action. Vacillating after making a well thought-out decision is a wake-up call. Our gut is trying to tell us something.
If you are second-guessing, most likely your instincts are hinting that somewhere along the way, you must have made an assumption that is not solidly backed by facts. The best way to stop second-guessing is to fill in that gap.
Knowledge for decision-making comes from three main sources:
- Your own years of training and experience,
- Extensive research, and
- Knowledge from experts whose expertise is beyond your particular specialty.
When you catch yourself second-guessing, before you drive yourself crazy, do the following;
- Be confident in your own expertise. The wealth of know-how that you have amassed over the years through study and experience is solid. Your facts and logic are sound because you are working with what you know. Be confident in your abilities. When you are confident in yourself and where you are leading your business, team or career, much of the self-questioning fades away.
- Your feeling of uncertainty could be coming from a missing fact, statistic or factor. Double down on your research to find it. Get others on your team to join the search. Once you have confirmed that you have all the facts, you can stand behind your decision.
- There are always some unknowns in every decision. No one can know what the future holds, but you can make educated guesses based on the experience of people who have “been there and done that” or at least have experienced something similar. So, invite seasoned employees from within your company to give their opinion. See if they follow your logic and where they agree and disagree. Bounce the decision off an external mentor, trusted friends or colleagues, as they tend to have a helicopter view of you or your business. With this feedback, you can determine if you have projected correctly or adjust your plan accordingly.
Try these steps and I believe you can finally stop second-guessing your decisions, because you will be confident and have a sense of certainty that your decision stands on a solid foundation.
How often do you second-guess your decisions? Have confidence in your decisions by trusting what you know, researching missed details, and drawing from the expertise of mentors and the people around you.
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