Resilience Hack #5: Make a Hard Decision

Resilience; Decision Making

Resilience really comes down to two things – i) making a hard decision, to ii) engage with adversity. Our last hack will move you from making a soft, handy-wavy choice to maybe, perhaps, act; to making the hard decision to take committed action! Here’s how to become a resilient, decision making boss.


Anatomy of a Soft Choice


First. Let’s size up the opponent – soft choices – a type of crooked thinking that creates indecision and self-doubt. Here’s a soft choice in action. Let’s imagine you are fed up with the way a ‘friend’ talks to you. Here’s your self-talk. ‘Next time she does this I’m really going to have a word with her’. Let’s walk through the problems with this strategy.

  • First up, ‘next time’. You’ve already ceded control. Your friend is the ‘decider’ as to when (or if) you will say something. Problem #1, you’re not owning the decision!
  • Next. ‘I’m going to have a word with her’. What does this mean? What word? Trying to improvise when you are under stress is super hard. Problem #2, lack of clarity as to what action you are going to take. You’re two for two here. No date and no clear action.
  • Finally. You have no clear or desired outcome. What do you want the outcome of the conversation to be? An apology? A change in her behavior?

Let’s use the same example using a ‘hard decision’.

  • Get Specific. What exactly do you want to achieve? This isn’t a boil-the-ocean target. It’s a very, very clear statement of intent. Using our example my intent is to be heard. Which means I must be …
  • Values Driven. Our values make sure we make authentic choices about how we want to behave as we move toward our goal, or engage with adversity or upset. This means I’m not hooked by my friends excuses or her ability to put the problem back on me – ‘You’re so sensitive’. Here’s how to think about it. When my friend tries to explain away her behavior or blame me, I have a choice. I can act in a way that is aligned with my values and politely but firmly explain that I don’t feel heard. Or I can escalate the conversation and verbally criticize my friend, raise my voice and feel angry. Behaving in alignment with my values is called a towards move (I move toward the kind of person I want to be – calm; adult; clear). If I freak out and start an argument I’m engaging in an away move (I move away from the kind of person I want to be).
  • Name the time and place. Once you’re clear about exactly what you want, be proactive and arrange a time and a place to talk. This is your ‘meeting’ so you don’t have to explain what you want to say, but you do need to manage the ‘place’ where you want to meet. For example, a super busy or loud coffee shop or bar isn’t conducive to having a heart to heart or to make sure you are heard. Don’t sabotage your success by choosing a crappy place to have an important conversation.
  • Desired target: What does success look like? Without a target you have an open-ended objective which can destroy motivation. Imagine setting off on journey and not knowing the destination or stops along the way. What does success look like for you? In our example I want to be heard and when we have finished our conversation, I want my friend to apologize and stop being passive-aggressive.

Your turn. When do you have an opportunity to make a hard decision about something in your life?


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