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Episode 49 – How To Make Decisions

Have you ever thought about exactly how you make decisions?

You probably know if you’re a quick decision-maker or if you like take longer but have you ever thought about the how of what is going on in your head when you make decisions?

I hadn’t either, but when I heard someone question this it got me thinking and it turned out I had some decision-making habits that were not helping me.

Maybe you do too.

The Cycle Of Influence

We know our decisions are important because they directly affect our results. In fact they are the closest thing to our results.

We also know procrastinating and keeping gathering information to avoid making decisions holds us back.

I call this the Perpetual Cycle of Preparation; it’s easy to get stuck there.

But what is going on in our heads when we make business decisions?

How can we make decisions?

Let’s start with how we can make decisions.

We can make decisions based on any of our senses or processing of the information that comes in through our senses.

We can make decisions based on:

  • What we feel, physically or emotionally
  • What we see
  • What we hear
  • What we taste
  • What we smell

We can make decisions on things that we are experiencing directly e.g  This ham smells bad. I think I’ll throw it away and put something else in my sandwich today or this webinar presenter sounds scammy, I think I’ll skip this.

Or we can make decisions using our senses from memory.

So for example if I was considering hiring someone I’m going to bring up memories of what that person said and how he or she responded to questions when I interviewed them.

We all have a leaning towards one of our senses.

65% of us are visual thinkers, 30% are auditory and 5% are kinesthetic.

Pretty much no one is making major life decisions based on smell or taste as you can probably imagine.

Personally I am predominantly auditory. I often have to talk things out, either in my own head or with someone else to make a decision.

Which one are you?

How your predominant sense affects your decisions

What is likely happening for you is that you are using your predominant sense to make decisions.

Sometimes this is helpful, sometimes it isn’t.

Over the last couple of years I’ve been trying to tap into my feelings more when making decisions. I did this because, according to the professionals, my feelings were shut down in big areas of my life and it would do me good to tap into them more.

I’m laughing now because I sound like a robot.

So I’ve been actively trying to do this a lot. Personally I think there is a lot more to tapping into your feelings than appears on the surface.

Your feelings, I think, take into all the things that you conscious brain is missing, they are taking into account a lot more information than we might realize, which is why in a lot of cases our gut feeling is completely spot on.

BUT there can be times when you can use the wrong sense for the job.

How To Make Decisions

You can’t know if your video works just by hearing it.

You can’t decide if you like music by looking at it.

And you often can’t make financial decisions based just how you feel about them.

I know, controversial.

Because your feelings are also tapping into all the other stuff that you have going on and what you are making it all mean.

To give you an example, my Facebook Ads, along with everyone else’s Facebook Ads have been getting more expensive.

I was starting to feel like I needed to stop running them. It felt like they were getting too expensive.

To the point where I was avoiding the numbers because I didn’t want to know what they were going to tell me.

Finally I bit the bullet, ran the numbers and discovered the ROI was positive.

But I had felt like it wasn’t going well.

Because they weren’t as good as before, because I wanted them to be different etc etc. But actually the numbers were good.

I was using the wrong tool for the job.

I was trying to make a financial decision based purely on my feelings.

Which in this case was like trying to eat spaghetti with a knife.

It’s not going to be a good way of getting the job done.

This is also the reason why you can’t make emotional decisions using a list.

You have to tap into your emotions for the big emotional decisions in your life.

My partner would not have fitted any list I had made, but my feelings told me he was the right one.

This is about choosing the right sense for the decision, the right tool for the job, because it affects how well you make the decision.

What about the fact that we make decisions on emotion and justify them with facts?

It has been scientifically proven that we make decisions based on our feelings and use the facts to justify our decisions.

But in my Facebook Ad example I nearly made a decision without getting the facts.

And my question to you would be – how are you making big decisions in your life?

Are you using the right tools for the job?

It’s worth thinking about.

The one case where everyone reads too much into their feelings

Before I wrap this up I want to touch on one particular case where everyone reads way too much into their feelings.

When you choose a niche or business idea and start developing it you will start to experience apprehension, fear and start wondering if you made the right choice.

The reason this is happening is because you are in unfamiliar territory so your brain is trying to protect you and keep you safe.

It’s really important to know that any discomfort, fear etc that you experience then DOES NOT mean you shouldn’t be doing it, or you chose the wrong niche or it’s not your passion or anything else you are making it mean.

You are experiencing the natural feelings that happen when you step up and make positive changes.

The feelings that can mean something negative in this case actually mean something positive.

So the message here is be aware of how you are making decisions, be aware of whether you are visual, auditory or kinesthetic and assess whether you are using the right tool for the job.

That’s the best way to approach any decision.