Decision Making :: Two-Part Article Series » Part I: Knowing Your Personal Style » Part II: Evaluating & Strengthening Your Decision-Making
Part II: Evaluating & Strengthening Your Decision-Making
If you read Part I of this article series (Decision Making: Knowing Your Personal Style) you had the opportunity to discover your own personal decision-making style. If you haven’t read Part I, you might want to read it first before reading Part II.
Understanding your personal preferences when it comes to making important decisions in your life is an essential first step to refining your approach to decision making. As you may recall from Part I, the American Heritage Dictionary defines a decision as “the act of reaching a conclusion or making up one’s mind”. Read this article to find new questions to help you with your decision-making process.
The work of choosing and changing careers involves many decisions. Some are familiar because they are part of your daily life. How will I spend my time today? What should I do first? Other decisions can feel huge because the outcome affects many areas of your life. What field of work should I choose? Will I relocate? Do I need more education or training? Should I accept this offer? It’s easy to get stuck or feel overwhelmed in the face of such big issues.
Improving Your Decision-Making
The decisions you make about your career go beyond work. Often they have far-reaching consequences for your life. Where will you live? What kind of lifestyle will you have? How much will you earn? Who will you interact with on a daily basis? Although the outcome of such important decisions is seldom guaranteed, you can take steps to improve the process.
The uncertainty and stress that can accompany job loss and career change make it even more difficult to make decisions. Fear about making the wrong choices or worrying about what to do can make even small decisions feel challenging. If you completed the exercises in Part I of this article, you have discovered some of the advantages and disadvantages of your preferred decision-making style.
Strengthen Your Decision Making by Asking Key Questions
Take the next step by expanding your style to take advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. Choose an important decision and apply different perspectives by asking yourself the questions below. (These questions are based on the work of Richard Nelson-Jones, author of Effective Thinking Skills).
- How do I see myself in relation to my life? Am I proactively creating the life I want or am I reacting to what happens?
- Am I in touch with my feelings and do I know what is of greatest importance to me?
- Am I clear about my values and are these reflected in my goals and the choices I am making?
- Do I have the skills and resources I need to manage my stress, regulate my anxiety, and gain access to the internal and external support I need during times of uncertainty and change?
- Am I aware of any self-limiting beliefs or unrealistic expectations or personal rules that may be getting in my way of my decision-making? How can I let go of such obstacles and replace them with expectations and beliefs that are self-supporting?
- Do I know my own strengths? Can I support my perceptions with evidence? What strengths am I not aware of? How realistic are my evaluations of myself?
- How realistic are my predictions? Am I being too optimistic or too pessimistic? Do I have the information I need to reach a conclusion that is based on evidence rather than on a misperception?
Once you have read through and answered these questions, you may wish to add or substitute some questions of your own. Also consider discussing them with a trusted friend, mentor, or professional coach.
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