Making Good Decisions Quickly
Like many other things we get better at doing, making choices is a skill. And making good choices quickly is incredibly valuable.
I see a hurdle in many of my clients. And it’s not just my observation, a lot of you tell me that you are aware that you put things off, avoid making decisions on things, or decide and then second guess yourselves. A lot. Maybe that’s an adjustment you’re already seeing value in. If you don’t, I want to challenge you to think about how much time you’re spending each day and each week in indecision.
Your time is too valuable and you can do so many profitable things with it. I’m not just talking about money, although that’s definitely a consideration. I’m talking about everything. Connecting, experiencing, serving, and yes, increasing the success of your practice or practices. Just living!! Your time is too valuable to be used spinning in indecision.
Let’s go to dreamland for a minute.
Pretend that you have unlimited time. Not making decisions, avoiding things, and second-guessing your choices. Those things don’t feel good. They feel heavy and oftentimes overwhelming. The issue here is not deciding quickly. I’m not a band-aid coach, so I’m not going to tell you to just make a commitment to decide things more quickly and end the blog. That wouldn’t be sustaining for you. In order to make lasting changes, the kind that truly changes your life, you have to take a minute to understand why you’re doing things the way you’re currently doing them.
This community is made up of intelligent, successful people who intend to do a lot of good things. So there’s definitely a reason that you’re struggling with decision-making. If we solve that, we solve the problem permanently.
There are two areas you can look at when you’re trying to get to the bottom of a pattern of indecision.
Clarify Your Goals
The first way to begin making good decisions quickly is to clarify your goals, your dreams, your desired results. The more clear you are about what you’re after, the easier it will be to make a plan to get there.
Last year I coached several docs into their seven-figure goals and it wasn’t an accident that they got there. They didn’t come to me and say, “I just wanna hit a million dollars,”. They definitely didn’t come to me and say, “I want to make a million dollars and I want to be too beat up to enjoy it.” Those individuals approached me with a very specific goal. A very specific vision of what achieving it would look like. These dentists approach me with everything. From how they believe they’ll act and feel once they hit those goals, to the details of their practices and how they’d be functioning, the energy that would be fueling the growth and development, and a very detailed path. It was broken down into steps that were added to their calendar associated with specific times and due dates.
It’s like that for everything whether you’re trying to reach a financial goal, or you want to permanently drink less. I mean never having more than you intend to again, or you want to achieve a truly balanced work and personal life. Whatever it is, you’ve got to see every part of it. You’ve got to know it. You should visualize it so often that it should be tangible to you. Familiar, a place you’ve been already, even though you’re still in the process of creating it. That way, when you get there, you know it.
On the way there, you’re so pumped about your dream that it keeps you going. Even when you’re pushing through a tough week. Even when you’ve got a cold, even when you’ve got team issues to work through, or family drama. When you are crystal clear on what you want and you can see the whole picture, you can figure out the steps to get you from here to there. You can put them on your calendar. Then you take the action. You get things done. You walk the path and you keep going until you arrive at your ultimate destination.
There will be parts, steps on your path, that you haven’t done before. That you have to learn and have to figure out. You know what you do? You schedule the learning. Schedule the research. Schedule the figuring out. Then you schedule making a decision on what you researched. Choose an action plan based on what you learned. Then you put that in the books. And you keep going. Keep taking action.
That’s the first thing about making decisions. You’ve got to be clear on your ultimate destination. When you are, you’ll be able to make decisions much more quickly. Decisions about things directly related to your goal and things that aren’t, because you’ll be more clear on how each decision will impact your journey when they present themselves.
Avoid Burnout and Overwhelm
What I coach on most is getting rid of overwhelm and avoiding burnout. My enrollment for February was all booked up before it even opened. Before we even hit the new year, actually! I got so many emails asking me to please add additional slots that I did. There are available slots now. If you’re overwhelmed, or if you’re burning out, sign up! www.dentallife.coach If it’s full by the time you get there you be sure to get on a waiting list for the next time I open enrollment. The tools I teach and the results I produce are life-changing. You know who you are. If you’re done with feeling overwhelmed, if you refuse to burn out and you’re ready to make the necessary changes, then we need to talk.
Now the other thing I coach on a lot is reasonableness. Some of you do have a clear idea of what you want and have a clear plan to achieve it.
Your plan is unreasonable! It doesn’t agree with the other parts of you and of your life.
For example, it would be unreasonable for most people to triple the number of hours they’re practicing dentistry each day. Some long days here and there, yes, but there’s a point where you physically and mentally need to stop to provide quality care. I know that’s extreme. So is the expectation some of you have of yourself. You expect to get to a certain level. You want to overcome a certain obstacle without factoring in the other things that are important to you. Things like personal time, family life, sleep, recreation, exercise, and eating!! All of the desired things in your life need to be considered when you’re making a plan and making decisions.
This is why those of you with clear plans sometimes still struggle to make quick decisions. You’ve spread yourself too thin and your plan isn’t reasonable. Adding one more thing, committing to one more decision tips the scale for you and you know that. You’re maxed out! It seems easier to just put the thing off, or avoid thinking about it altogether than to reevaluate your day or your week to make space for other things that need to be thought about and decided on. You’ve got to have space to think. You need to make time for coaching. You’ve got to have room in your schedule for things that come up.
When making good decisions quickly don’t speed!
Have you ever read the data on speeding while driving in the city? I read a study once and it was comparing the math behind the amount of speed over the speed limit and the time savings in getting to a destination. It basically concluded that unless you were driving at a noticeably unreasonable speed over the speed limit (which, of course, has safety and legal concerns to consider), that the time savings, were slim to none. Of course, speeding over the speed limit will risk the driver being pulled over. The study seemed to be released to encourage legal and safe driving habits.
Let’s use that as a parallel in your life as a dentist. If we make the law your optimal mental hygiene, or your brain, and we make the recommended speed limit the reasonable number of hours you can do something (whether that’s work, or research, or exercise) without burning out. Then the question becomes how much past that recommended dose, how much past what you know to be the ideal situation for you to be productive and remain fueled by positive things, how much past that limit do you go, and how frequently do you cross that line before your brain lets you know that you’ve compromised your mental health? Before you drown in overwhelm or risk burning out?
When you’re driving at too fast of a speed, there isn’t always time to stop for an unexpected reason. When you’re expecting too much of yourself in one area of life that reasonably leaves time for anything else, you aren’t putting yourself in a position to make good, quick decisions on unexpected things that come up.
Know what you want.
Check your plan for reasonableness.
Adjust when you need to.
This is your life and it is such a good life!
You can do anything you want and feel amazing while doing it.
That’s what I want for all of you. To do the things you really want to do. To enjoy the journey of getting there, and to arrive energetic and alive!