Have you ever had to make a very difficult decision in your life? Yes. We all have. It could have been one of those decisions that could greatly impact every aspect of your life. It could impact your family. It could impact your finances. It could require to you make a move to another city, another position, or even another company.
We have all been faced with these types of decisions in our life. And in most cases, the decision is not clear. So what do you do?
A few years back I read a book titled Decisive, subtitle: How to make better choices in life and work. The authors, Chip and Dan Heath, have made a career on writing valuable books that challenge our way of thinking. In this book, they provide this insight and some suggestions, on some processes we can implement that can help us in making better decisions.
In their book they lay out simple formula they titled W.R.A.P, you and I can use this acronym to help ourselves make better decisions. They provide countless examples and stories, on how companies and individuals have applied this process and the results they got from doing so.
I recently had the opportunity to apply this process to a major decision that I had to make. I want to show you how I am using one of their theories in my situation. If you want to read my book summary on this book click this link here.
In the book the W stands for “Widening your options”. The authors describe how most people and most companies narrow their decision-making down to two different options. They paint themselves in a corner by thinking they only have these two options. Most of the time it is, “We do this” or “We don’t do anything”. Or “We take the risk”, or “We don’t take the risk.” Apply whatever your situation is to this part of the process.
The bottom line is very rarely is there only two options in decision-making. You have to widen the options you choose from. In my recent decision. I know all of the options I have out there. There are several, however, at this time, at this moment, based on where I want to go and what I want to do. The decision I need to make is the one I have chosen.
The R stands for, “Reality testing your options”. Meaning instead of going all in on one thing or the other, test a few different things out and see how it does.
The authors refer to it as “ooch”. Which means, conducting small experiments to teach us more. This doesn’t mean be indecisive. It means why take a big risk, if you have the opportunity to take little risks to see if the bigger risk will work or not.
The A stands for “Attain distance from the decision before deciding”. Most of us know the value in doing this. Often times, we can get too close to a decision or too invested in a decision, and we may not be able to look at the decision objectively. We’ve all made a decision in the middle of high emotions. These can sometimes be the worst decisions.
Lastly, the P stands for “Prepare to be wrong”. Guess what? There are many times where we can do everything right, and still be wrong about whatever it is. And that is okay. You just have to prepare for it. By preparing yourself on the front end when things go wrong, even if they don’t, you will be better prepared in the future if it does go wrong.
In my case, I made the decision to explore the W (Widen my options) and the R (Reality test my options). In the decision I have to make, there really isn’t a right answer. By saying I only have two options. “Do it” or “Don’t do it”, made me think that this decision is final. And although the decision is final for now, it isn’t final forever.
I also have the opportunity to “ooch” into my decision. Sure, I made the decision and I am totally all in on it. However, I get to experiment with the decision along the way.
I guess what I have learned most through this process, is that no decision is ever final. Sure, there are some costs associated with all decisions, and there should be. However, as long as I am alive I will always have the ability to make a different decision when I need to.
I am sure some will read this and say, “ooching” could be considered being indecisive or not committing everything to the decision. I disagree with this notion. Your commitment will show up in your actions and your investment in to the “ooching”. If you don’t make any investments, then the critics would be right. So, if you are going to ooch, you have to make the commitment necessary that demonstrates you are all in on the decision.
Some decisions may be the best decision today, but could be the worst decision tomorrow. You can’t think about tomorrow though. You have to decide now. By applying the processes I laid out here. Or the authors laid out in Decisive. Click here to purchase the book from Amazon. You will be better prepared and know that you have made the best decision you could make at the time.
To your success and your future.