I have always struggled with decision making.
So many options.
So many perspectives.
I would get lost in a sea of my thoughts and not know what to do.
Also, I have mentioned that I have struggled with anxiety – so not only was it that there were so may options to choose from, it was also that anxiety did not like any choice that involved any kind of risk or uncertainty.
So basically, being lost in a sea of thoughts and having anxiety happy to have me there, I had trouble progressing to anywhere new.
Have you ever been in this situation before?
Your Internal Board of Directors
I was once talking with a counselor about trying to make a decision and as I talked she clearly saw that everything I said was coming from the angle of anxiety. All my decisions were being informed by anxiety.
She asked me-
“When it comes to decision making – what if you acknowledged that Anxiety is on your board of directors? Make sure Anxiety knows she will get to share her concern and that she will be heard, but at the same time, she is a voice of many, and will be given equal weight.”
It got me thinking.
First, it helped to balance my perspective. Often, in decision making, I would go to extremes. I would either give Anxiety all the weight, or I would be trying to kick Anxiety off my board of directors completely.
Maybe Anxiety was that person in your work meetings that always had an opinion, but everyone was secretly groaning when they began to speak. But bottom line, they are on your team, and they get to share their opinion.
BUT, they don’t get to have all the weight. They are just one team member. The problem for me is, Anxiety can be a bossy team member. And think she is in charge. But she’s not. I am the CEO, and ultimately I make the final decision, based on everyone’s perspective.
This idea also got me thinking about who else was on my board of directors. And how there were some members, I had not given a voice to for a long time.
Visionary and Creativity both came to mind. They are both on my board of directors. But for a long time, I ignored their voices. They wanted to do something creative, meaningful, and new. But Anxiety didn’t want to do that, and shut their voices down.
Since I started this blog, they have been much happier, and have finally felt heard.
And I did consider Anxiety too, when deciding to start the blog. The problem was, Anxiety wanted to shut down the whole conversation altogether.
Creativity and Visionary would love to travel from place to place and do new things constantly.
But every time this subject would come up, Anxiety would loudly shout “But you need stability!” and would shut the whole conversation down.
Anxiety actually had a point. The problem was, Anxiety was so loud and aggressive, that no one else got to express their views or have their ideas considered.
Ideally, our board of directors all need to work as a team. And you, as the CEO, need to be able to navigate this conversation and make sure everyone is working together.If you have ever sat in a work meeting – you know this to be true. To have a successful meeting, we have to be able to hear eachother’s ideas and incorporate a solution that involves everyone’s opinion.
It wasn’t until after attending an inspiring conference that Creativity and Visionary felt confident enough to stand up to Anxiety and say “Hey- we have an opinion too! You need to hear us out and we need to work together!”
And they did.
And it was through their teamwork that this blog was born. Anxiety was not comfortable with any huge decisions to move from place to place or do something crazy, because Anxiety knows, that I don’t do well with instability. So Anxiety, Creativity, and Visionary brainstormed together and realized that starting a blog would fulfill Creativity’s desire to do something creative, and Visionary’s desire to do something new and something that could change and grow over time. Everyone left the meeting feeling happy.
Vision First, Logic Second
I also recently heard the idea that our Vision is the master and Logic is the servant. So, a problem with decision making I would have, would be having a vision of something I wanted to happen, and then allowing logic to talk me out of it.
I was given an alternate perspective on this. That when we have a vision/dream/passion we want to live out, it is not logic’s job to talk us out of the vision, but rather, to help us actually get to it.
Sometimes people think of following their dreams as illogical. Which, if you don’t use any logic, then it is. But you can actually use logic as a practical tool to help you reach a dream.
I attend a large church, and the pastor has the title of “lead visionary.” That is his job. The people on his team have the job of figuring out how they can practically and logically implement his visions. They are a team and each serve their function to make the vision a reality.
So, going back to the board of directors analogy.
Visionary, Anxiety, and Logic are all sitting on the board of directors.
For me, Anxiety tries to use Logic to try to talk Visionary out of things. But that is not how it works. If they do that, then Visionary never gets to do her job. In the example above, my pastor would never get to do his job of being the visionary, if he just sat in meetings and was talked out of every idea that he had.
So, I know I mentioned the idea of Vision as the master, and Logic as the servant. Obviously, that doesn’t work for the board of directors analogy where everyone is equal, but I don’t think it has to. I think Visionary and Logic can have equal voices, nobody is over anyone, BUT we are not giving Visionary any weight if we are constantly talking her out of all her ideas.
Logic’s job is to help her ideas come to fruition and looking at the practical and realistic steps that would get us to her vision. Anxiety’s job is making sure these visions will be safe and making sure we have stability.
Intuition & Ego
Another perspective I have learned about decision making goes back to the idea of intuition and ego. The way I have heard it explained is that intuition is the still small voice of wisdom and calm. Ego is the loud yelling voice full of anxiety.
So, again, back to the board of directors. I would assume Intuition and Visionary would be in similar departments.
Anxiety, at least for my board of directors, is sometimes like a child having a temper tantrum. Anxiety doesn’t mean any harm, she is just really scared and worked up, and it gets the best of her.
But as the CEO, you need to quiet Anxiety. Let her know she is important too, but with all her yelling, you are having trouble hearing the quiet calm voice of Intuition. So have Anxiety quiet for a bit – and see what Intuition has to say. You might be able to actually hear Intuition, if you give her 5 full minutes, without Anxiety interjecting her own perspective.
So, I conclude with these questions – who is on your board directors? Whose voice are you giving too much weight to? Whose voice are you not giving enough weight to? Whose voice is too loud? Whose voice is too quiet?
What are you going to do different because you read this article today?
Wishing you decisions that bring fulfillment, peace, and joy.
- Who is on your board directors?
- Whose voice are you giving too much weight to? Whose voice is too loud?
- Whose voice are you not giving enough weight to? Whose voice is too quiet?
- Are you willing to allow your vision to be the “master” and your logic to be the “servant”? Are you willing to allow logic to help you reach your dreams, rather than talking you out of them? What would you do different, if you embraced this way of thinking?
- What would your intuition say, if you were able to quiet your ego? Listen for the calm wise voice – and write down what thoughts come to mind.
- What are you going to do different because you read this article today?
If there is anything from this post you would like to do some “deeper work” on, there is now an option to do one-on-one coaching with me.
If you think this is something you might be interested in, feel free to check out the coaching page here.