When you pass up the chance to make your own decisions, you miss out on opportunities.
If you don’t make a choice, others will make it for you. This includes your family, your friends, your colleagues, the environment you live in, politicians and many others.
That’s why I believe that, to a certain extent, decisions are about control.
But I don’t mean control over others, because that’s about ego. I’m talking about control over your own actions, which entails discipline and self-awareness.
Think about it:
Who made the most important decisions that influenced you decisively in the past 6 months?
The value of taking ownership
People who make a difference, the builders, the doers, the changers – they embrace responsibility.
They take charge even if they’re not experts and the challenge at hand scares them.
They’re ready to learn at any given moment because they’ve tamed their ego and don’t hide behind “I’m too good for this”.
They see an opportunity to build and change when others would rather lay back or step back.
They’re also not afraid to fail because it might make them look bad.
Here are five of these people who inspire me:
People like us do things like this*
People like them are generous and empathetic because they see beyond the surface. They know the challenges others face because they’re deeply, and sometimes painfully aware, of their own.
So, they help. They write, speak, build, teach, design, code, inspire, lead and change.
They’re not perfec. They know it and show it often. They learn constantly, improving bit by bit, like a runner training for her first marathon.
So what is it about these people that makes others follow their work and advice to better their judgement and lives?
I can’t speak for others, so I’ll stick to my own experience. I want to be someone like this because it makes life richer, more rewarding and simply happier.
*Seth Godin came up with the phrase: “People like us do things like this” and I’ve made it my mantra. I used it to change my perspective when things get tough or complex, to stick to my principles fiercely. Plus, it’s increased my sense of community, my connectedness to like-minded people all over the world. Most of all, it raised the bar higher, motivating me to do better and become better in every way I can.
People like us read about things like these. 🙂
Accountability builds confidence
I hate how “responsibility” has a bad reputation for so many. To me, it’s shouldn’t be a weight on anyone’s shoulders, but rather a recognition of another person’s ability to use her/his skills and knowledge to make something out of nothing.
Decision-making is based on intent. When you set a course of action, you’re making something happen. You pick your next job, your next project, your next challenge. At the end of it, you come out a bit better, no matter the outcome.
Just think about the toughest thing you’ve had to do in the last few months. Maybe it was a complex project at work or a life-changing personal decision.
In hindsight, doesn’t it make you feel like you’re better equipped to deal with something a bit more difficult?
That’s because what you mastered is now in your circle of control.
Past challenges, such as moving to a management role, hiring people, training a team, have helped me discover what I’m made of. I’m glad I said yes even when it twisted my stomach in a knot.
Like all great things, this sounds simple but it’s not.
Keep this in mind: use the chance to make a decision or lose it. Others will decide for you.
If you want to start practicing, here’s a helpful decision-making journal template to help you get started.
So, who is making YOUR decisions?
P.S. This was originally sent on May 5th, 2018 (with minor updates added to reflect my current habits).
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