Having trouble making up your mind?
Why is it that sometimes we find it hard to make a decision? We procrastinate or deny that a decision needs to be made; or we freeze and feel unable to move because of the magnitude of the ‘what if?’ questions running around our heads; or we commit to action, but then worry about having made ‘the wrong decision’.
For some, when a decision has been taken but the desired outcome fails to materialise, they focus their attention on ‘what went wrong’, either beating themselves up and damaging their self-belief, or criticising others and circumstances. This blame game draws attention away from what went right, and what could be done better.
When faced with a decision with an emotional consequence, areas of the brain involved in objective, logical, problem-solving thinking can be disrupted and overridden by areas that deal with subjective, survival thinking in the here-and-now. Put simply, when emotions are high, we lose perspective.
Without perspective, it’s easy to make all-or-nothing judgements and to find ourselves doing things we later regret. Without perspective of time, decisions can become knee-jerk and reactive, or we can lose a sense of urgency and put things off...until tomorrow...by denying the emotional significance of what could happen.
Without perspective of scale, decisions can become disproportionate – using a sledgehammer to crack nuts, making mountains out of molehills...or vice versa.
What causes emotions to take over?
Stress is a major negative factor – when we feel under pressure, when demands are high and there’s not enough time to do it all – we can experience unwanted emotions: we worry about failing, not knowing what’s happening and what to do about it, and about making a fool of ourselves and letting others down. When things don’t go according to plan, we experience these emotions, even when we cannot do anything about it.
And yet the world is full of things not in our control: uncertainties, errors, accidents, technical difficulties and unforeseen circumstances all contribute to the experience of ‘friction’ – when things don’t run smoothly. Add to this list your own nerves and emotions, and the emotional behaviour of those you live and work with.
"Our emotional-thinking brain disrupts our ability to think straight with logic and perspective."
By being able to put things into perspective, we can learn to slow down our knee-jerk reactions and to consider situations more fully, and to make the best decision we’re capable of in the time available. We can literally learn how to ‘think twice’.
Perspective helps with the formation of better, more realistic choices for action. That can mean:
- More accurate plans including contingencies for when things go wrong
- A wider range of responses when having difficult conversations with customers, clients or colleagues
- Faster, more receptive ways of receiving and acting on information – results, feedback, criticism – and working towards a solution
- Greater creativity, innovation and problem-solving
- Increased employee engagement and retention (because people feel listened to and continually developed, and take responsibility for their actions too)
How can Face Value Performance Psychology help you?
We work with individuals, teams and whole organisations in a number of ways:
- We work with individuals by providing coaching for leadership development or performance improvement, supported by psychometric profiling, where appropriate.
- Skills acquisition, for example learning how to master self-control, build self-confidence and develop self-efficacy (S3 Programme), or how to be more assertive, is provided through our workshops.
- Face Value also provides facilitation services for clients who want to resolve problems and tackle challenges as a whole team effort. A special approach for improving team performance is the TRIBE method for strengthening team identity.
- If you’re after a motivating keynote talk or an energising kick-off to an event for a larger audience, then Face Value can craft a talk that addresses your desired theme or current organisational challenge, lasting anything from a short-and-sharp 20 minutes to a fuller 45-60 minutes.