The decisions that landed us into the Vietnam War and led to the financial crisis in the early 2000s are outside of most of our paygrades. These are not direct decisions that any of us will likely have to face.
However, for some of us, the magnitude of some of the decisions we do face comes with burdens that weigh us down, cause stress and increase the chances of burn out.
Whether or not to go through with a lay-off, continue with an investment or business, or even difficult decisions concerning relationships. It’s understandable why life’s ups and downs can impact our ability to make empowered decisions in other areas of our lives.
Often times, when an individual goes through a difficult event or experience, they may feel like they’ve lost the power to make decisions for themselves. The smallest decisions become high-stakes. What was a simple matter of “cream and sugar?” becomes a trigger for anxiety.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
As an eternal optimist, I believe that our perspective is the key to making empowered decisions. With these three practical applications, you can start taking background towards having control over your decisions.
- Adopt a “No-Lose” Mentality:
For some folks, the fear of making the wrong decision — the fear of failure — cripples them. Susan Jeffers instituted a model that encourages you to “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Her book by the same title defined the “No-Lose” model that counteracts the common perspective on decision making known as the “No-Win” model. The table below distinguishes the differences between the two:
|“No-Win” Model||“No-Lose” Model|
|Only a “right or wrong” mentality||Both choices have possibilities|
|Continuous reassessment of choices (looking back at the “what if’s?”)||Considers the potential of the decision that was made (looking forward at the positive “what ifs?”)|
|Fear of the future||Opportunistic perspective|
|Pro/Con List||Pro/Pro List|
For those who have experienced burnout and difficult circumstances, the “No-Win” model is a reminder that there’s a 50/50 chance they might fail. It’s a perspective that says “the glass is always half-empty if it’s half empty.” But with the “No-Lose” model, each choice is an opportunity, not just an outcome. It’s not about being “right or wrong” as much as it’s about exploring a path and trusting that if it’s a dead-end, another opportunity to take a different path will come.
In contrast to the “No-Win” model, there is no wrong decision — the only decision that you’ve chosen to make. This mindset empowers you to take back control of the outcome by not allowing the anxiety or fear of the unknown to make the decision for you. Remember, with a “No-Lose” model, the outcome is the same regardless of the decision
you make — a positive experience that will work itself out in the long run. Positivity is
subjective, it’s a matter of defined perspectives.
- 2 Speak a Different Language:
Much of our approach to life is based on the context of the language that we put around it. Your reality is framed by your speech. Countless researchers and self-help leaders have found that the use of positive language can significantly impact your perspective and improve your overall mood.
When making a decision, it’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics of the outcomes. For those who have experienced burn-out, the reality of having made what might appear as the “wrong” decisions, can shape the language and expectations around decision making. It’s not an overnight cure but by intentionally monitoring how you speak about upcoming decisions, you can help reduce anxiety and negativity concerning the potential outcomes.
- 3 Gratitude:
There’s something powerful about taking daily inventory about what you have instead of being anxious about what you don’t have. Gratitude is an ancient method that is practiced across cultures and centuries. When it comes to decision making, a recent study showed that being grateful can increase patience, create a positive outlook and ultimately improve decision-making skills.
Going through a difficult situation or burn-out can sometimes strip us of our ability to be grateful and to count our blessings. This, in turn, can lead to a negative perspective that hinders clarity during our decision-making process. The intentional practice of gratitude — through a gratitude journal, ten minutes of gratefulness for every morning, etc., — is a simple but powerful technique that can build a centered perspective towards empowered decision making.
Ultimately, recovering from burnout is a process that takes self-love, determination, and continued support. One aspect of the recovery is in your decision-making skills. Through the right mentality and practices, you can be on the road towards making empowered, fruitful and positive decisions.