Strategies to help you make great decisions (even if you’re shy or anxious)

Back in the 80’s, I was able to participate in a Pepsi Challenge.  It was quite simple, you sipped two colas and chose your favorite.  For the non-cola drinkers, there was a serious conundrum.  How do you choose one over the other?  What makes one better than the other?  What do I like about Cola A versus Cola B?  How do you make such an important choice on the spot?  For most people, the choice was to go with the familiar or do a quick mental check and just go for it.

DecisionsCola wars aside, decisions may range from making a car purchase, to choosing the right diet, to deciding on the best daycare for a new baby.  Knowing the ultimate goal helps you to identify your options.  When choosing a car, colors, cost, gas mileage and more can be a part of that decision.  If you are going on a diet, low carb vs no carb, vegan, and strict calorie counting are options that each has it’s own set of benefits and risks.  And of course, when choosing a daycare, relying on other people’s experiences and quality data from reporting agencies may help to sway your choice.  Ultimately, multiple factors influence how you make a decision.

For people who are shy or suffer with a bit of anxiety, making a decision can be difficult.  Shy folks may not have the confidence to seek advice from others when making a decision.  Whereas those with anxiety may get worked up about the finality of it all.  To make the process more manageable, you may enjoy following a stepwise process.

  1. Identify the actual decision, choice or opportunity
  2. List possible outcomes or alternatives
  3. Identify the pros and cons of each outcome
  4. Decide which outcome is the most beneficial
  5. Make a choice and stick to it
  6. Evaluate and note the need for change if the decision, choice or opportunity comes around again

Making a decision can be tough.  However, if you remember that the driver in the process is the ultimate goal, you can develop a strategies that help you make the best choice every time.  And of course, if being strategic is not your thing, you can always just go with your gut.  Most people say it is right all of the time.

by writer, Tommeka Semien

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