Just Do It!

By Emma Rainville

Decision-making is one of the skills I have a difficult time teaching. You are either born with the ability to access risk and reward or you are not. 

Today I want to talk about all the opportunities that are lost due to the inability to make a decision and even worse, the inability to stick with a decision once it is made.

Far too often I have found that humans want the power of control but not the responsibility of the decisions that come with control. This will often leave them stuck and incapable of movement. For entrepreneurs, that’s the worst possible place to be in.

I used to work with a guy that was absolutely brilliant when it came to assessing the risks and rewards of any given decision that needed to be made in the organization we both worked for. 

That being said, he had no ability to pull the trigger based on all the work he put into assessing the damn thing. 
“Something may come along that is better.

What if the worst case happens, it will be all my fault.

What if everything goes according to plan, it will create more work…”

It was fucking nuts to me. At the time, I was his junior. He would come to me, and ask me to “just handle it”. Only 90 days after I started, I was given his job for this very reason. He got caught up in overthinking, and couldn’t make any decisions.

I wanted to share some of the reasons I can make decisions easily, along with the process I use for things I need to decide quickly, as well as for things that take a little more time. 

My confidence in decision-making comes from a simple act that I participated in almost every day for over a decade with my father. Each night he would sit with us kids from about the age of 7 or 8 and ask us…

What did you try and fail at today?

With each answer, we got high 5s and discussions on how we could better have handled our decisions or actions to increase the opportunities for success.

As a child I found myself looking for places in my life to try new things. We grew up on a working farm so I would try new ways to get all the chickens fed more efficiently so we could complete the task faster leaving more time in the mornings to get ready for school. 

I would try to explore new ways to cut through wooded areas when going to school or tutoring so I could shave time off my travel. I even tried to invent things to help me get chores done quicker. 

Side note: At some point, I realized that I was the oldest and smarter than my siblings so delegating was my best option 😉 

Anyway, you get the point. I spent a lot of time in my early childhood being very comfortable with trying new things and failing miserably at them. Thank you to my Dad, I know now that was by design. 

Anyway, over the years I learned that without action, nothing improves and without failures, you will never succeed. Not to your full potential anyway. 

Because of these lessons, I am very comfortable with making decisions because I am comfortable with being wrong. 

Now that we’ve got that down let’s discuss how we move forward with my process to quickly make a decision and what I do when I have time to make one. 

I am a WAR TIME executive. That means that I come in when everything is flipped upside down and in turmoil. Therefore, I have to gauge quickly what my client feels comfortable with me owning and then owning it outright. 

When I need to make a quick decision I usually ask myself these three things:

  1. What is the risk of my “worst case scenario” if I go this route?
  2. Is it better than inaction or another option?
  3. If I need to explain my decision to the business owner or client how will that affect the long-term relationship and their ability to trust me?

If the way I want to move forward aligns with the way I want those questions to be answered then I’m good. 

If not, I come up with a new way and start again. 

When I need to make a decision and have some time on my hands:

  1. What is the risk of my “worst case scenario” if I go this route? 
  2. Who can I talk to that knows the details on this subject matter internally?
  3. Who can I talk to about this that has experience on this subject matter externally? 
  4. I get on with Travis or Silas and walk through all the things that can go wrong, determine if I should adjust them, or walk through how to fix the things that can go wrong. 
  5. I simply do a dry run of a conversation I would need to have if it all turned to shit.
  6. What is the risk of inaction? 
  7. What is the outcome if I need to pivot this?
  8. Have I thought every angle through completely ?
  9. Who will this decision affect?
  10. If appropriate, I run through the decision with those who could be affected and get their opinion. 

That likely seems like a lot but it really doesn’t take that long and depending on how important the decision is I may or may not go through all the steps. 

The last thing I want to mention is that once you made the decision STICK TO IT. Unless it is failing do not adjust. Too often my visionaries attempt to adjust when they don’t see quick results or if they have second thoughts. 

We will never gain traction and no one in your organization will be happy if you don’t stick to what YOU say.

Just fucking do it already!

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