“The percentage of mistakes in quick decisions is no greater than in long-drawn-out vacillation, and the effect of decisiveness itself ‘makes things go’ and creates confidence.”
— Anne O’Hare McCormick (1882-1954), First woman to win a Pulitzer prize for journalism
Contrary to popular belief, your decisions don’t drive your long term success – your decisiveness does. Said another way, when you reach a crossroads on any issue, the act of choosing creates power, not the choice itself. The issue is momentum. No matter what you choose, when you commit boldly with conviction, you create momentum. When you hesitate you don’t. And success is built on momentum.
One of the most common breeding grounds for indecision is to-do lists. One of my clients had over 100 items on his when we first met. He wanted me to help him create systems to get them all done. I told him the most powerful system I know is the 3 D’s – Do it, Delegate it, or Delete it. We carved up his list and actually deleted 75% of it in about 30 minutes (including some items that had been on there for 2 years!) The process was painful for him, but ultimately very freeing. “It was cathartic,” he later admitted. “Actually making the choice NOT to do all those things took a huge weight off my shoulders and allowed me to focus on things that were truly important.”
1. Get a copy of your to-do list
2. Be decisive about each item – are you going to Do it, Delegate it, or Delete it
3. Write out steps and a timeline for things you need to do.
4. Do it
5. Recognize that the more decisive you are, the easier the process gets.