I quite often live in the past. I focus on the what ifs. What if I said this instead? What if I did this differently? Would the outcome still be the same?
I love the quote in the title of this post. While it’s good to reflect on what has happened and why? You shouldn’t let your past decisions consume you.
I’ll be the first to stick my hand up and admit that I have been letting my past consume me. All of the decisions I have made, especially the ones which in hindsight really weren’t the best decisions. The flow on from this being that I now hesitate in making decisions.
I agonise over the decisions I have to make, and, in the end, I don’t make any. Or I am wish washy with my decisions.
In the last 12 months I have made so many decisions that I have back peddled on, and then my toxic trait is blaming everyone else for that happening.
Let me tell you that is not a good way to be.
A month ago, my boss asked me to make a decision on a leadership role for next year. What En slewed was not pretty. In the middle of the staff room, I broke down. I resorted back to the blaming everyone for the reason that I couldn’t make a decision. Honestly, I was just scared I would make the wrong one.
My boss was empathetic, and she took the time to listen and comfort. Hats off to her she could really see what was going on. I was burnt out. Pure and simply completely burnt out. She offered some solutions and left me to it.
As I was packing up and leaving for the day, she sat me down to check in on me. And she said one thing that stuck with me. ‘You need to tell me what you want, no one else can do that for you.’
So, I went home and I ugly cried. But then I thought about it all. And I had this sense of clarity. What do I want? What is best for me? And I made a decision!
I have a new role next year which will give me the extra time with my family. And I have enrolled and started back at university. I feel at peace with my decision, and I can see the light at the end of tunnel.
I know it is only just one decision and I am sure I will continue to be indecisive especially if I continue to let my past decisions consume me. As I said before it is good to reflect on your past decisions because they can help to guide you, it’s when you let those past decisions consume you so much that you can’t move forward.
Here are some ideas I will be using to help in future decision making
1. Manage the stress that can come with decision making
When you have to make a difficult decision, it’s easy to feel apprehensive and stressed out. Because of the stress, you may have a tendency to make snap decisions without giving them much thought, or you may decide not to make any decisions at all. If you are feeling stressed, take a break. Get out into nature and go for a walk, catch up with friends or whatever it is that you do when you are feeling stressed. When you come back to it you might just see things in a different light.
2. It’s okay to give yourself some time
It’s hard to think clearly under pressure. If someone asks me for a decision I rush and think they need to know right away. But it is okay to say, can I get back to you on that so I can think it over.
3. Weigh the pros and cons
Write a list of pros and cons for each course of action and then compare them. Sometimes when things are set out on paper you can see them clearly. This also gives you a chance to really think it through without rushing for that snap decision.
4. Talk it out
The biggest thing I have learnt over the last 12 months, is that I am not in this alone. It can be helpful to talk it through and to get someone else’s perspective, especially if they have had to make a similar decision in the past.
5. Reflect on past decisions (but don’t dwell on them)
As I have said previously, I get stuck with the looking back at my past decisions. Rather than reflecting on my past in a constructive way, I let it consume me.
But what if you could reflect and learn to help you move forward. If it didn’t work out in the past, what can you learn from this? What can you do differently.
The absolute truth of the matter is, you are not going to get it right all the time when it comes to making decisions.
Instead of letting it consume you, you could ask yourself –
- Ask yourself, what was good about the decision I made?
- What was bad about it?
- What can I learn from it to make a better decision next time?
6. It’s okay to be flexible
This took me a while to wrap my head around this idea. But just because you make a decision does not ultimately mean it is set in stone all of the time.
For example, when I took on the Assistant Director role at the start of the year, I took it on as an ongoing role. It became too much and hence the burnout now. But my replacement in the role, she wasn’t too sure and instead of deciding to do it as ongoing role, she asked to do it for a term. She wanted to test out the waters first to see if it was the right fit. She took the pressure off, knowing she could easily opt out if it wasn’t for her. I was like wow! Why didn’t I do that?
Not all but for most decisions you can be flexible and remember that it’s not always set in stone. You are allowed to change your mind if it isn’t working for you.
If you are a sign person, take this as your sign. You’ve got this! Go out and continue to be amazing.
Until next time
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