There are some decisions I make really quickly and there are others over which I agonize. The difference between which ones are which, isn’t about the size of an investment or the complexity of the situation, it is my gut.
How does it play out? I have made the decision to walk away from clients when I took a moment to think about what was causing me to hesitate before making a proposal for new business.
Similarly, I have tackled some very contentious issues without hesitation. In each case, I felt better once the way forward was clear and the choice we made was consistent with my values and of course, my gut feelings.
What I am learning is to pay attention to the hesitation. That’s my gut telling me that there are issues.
In an effort to learn from my “gut-o-meter” I ask myself three questions:
- Why I am hesitating? This involves slowing down to simply listen to my inner self. Is there an underlying problem in moving ahead?
- What are the risks of making the wrong choice?This could be anything from losing money, to hurting someone’s feelings to unintended consequences.
- How will I feel when I make a choice? This means taking more time to make the decision or collecting additional information, changing my direction and determining whether taking that time will cause me more anxiety and/or change the outcome.
“He who hesitates is lost” is a profound saying from my childhood. To me it means that the hesitation itself is meaningful with “lost” meaning without direction. It would also forecast that once a choice is made that the path forward is clear.
Another phrase, keine antwort ist auch eine antwort (no answer is also an answer) is one I learned in high school German. In other words if you don’t reach a conclusion, one will be reached anyway. Often, the silence is not only deafening it’s debilitating.
I am trying to make my hesitations matter and my answers faster – my gut is thanking me.