Have you ever wondered why the hell you commit to doing certain things?
Sure it sounded good at the time, but after sleeping on it you realize it’s a much bigger task than you initially thought.
You might get a queasy feeling of uncertainty over whether you can do it. Then as you engage you uncover obstacles you didn’t anticipate. Yet even though you manage to navigate those obstacles, the challenge is beginning to wear you down.
With your mind now ramping up over the possibility you may fail, or not perform at your best, doubt begins to creep in.
If you are a business leader who allows doubt to overpower your ability to make crucial decisions quickly and confidently, you are part of the majority.
The good news is eliminating doubt is a skill that can be practiced. Let’s explore 3 guiding principles to eliminate doubt and achieve anything you want.
First a short story that changed the way I think about making business decisions, and it has nothing to do with business.
In September 2009 I made the decision to complete an Ironman Triathlon in August 2010. I had one full year to prepare. Doing a full Ironman was a bucket list item from years ago, but paying the entry fee up front before training even started made it real. I had that queasy feeling of uncertainty as I clicked the submit button, and it wasn’t long before I learned I had no idea what I was in for. All I knew at the time was I craved the euphoric feeling of crossing the finish line healthy — a positive outcome.
With full confidence and belief that I can accomplish the goal, I began to research what I needed to do, and how to do it. It wasn’t long before I became overwhelmed trying to make sense of all the advice I was reading from the internet. My mind began imagining how hard this was going to be, and I’m not talking about the event itself, but the time investment necessary to get to the finish line.
I had full clarity about why I wanted to do the event. It was checking off a bucket list item and the euphoric feeling of finishing. Yet what I needed to do to get to the finish line and how I was going to do it was as murky as a swamp. Fear, uncertainty and doubt was creeping in. I began to over analyze all I was reading and learning. I began losing faith that I could achieve what I had set out to do.
My solution was to find another person who had crossed the finish line before to help guide me on my journey. They helped me discover what I needed to do, and together we created a plan. Yet having a plan wasn’t enough because training for an Ironman requires time, lots of training time. So figuring out how to fit training into my busy lifestyle was going to be the key to igniting the belief that I could be an Ironman finisher.
I did it. I became an Ironman finisher on that August day. Despite what was a brutal day physically, I stayed mentally tough. Finishing was never in doubt, and the feeling of crossing the finish line was greater than I ever imagined. It still gives me chills as I think about it.
It was the process of preparing for an Ironman that changed the way I think about making business decisions. Doubt is a natural emotion when it comes to achieving difficult tasks, or making crucial decisions. I have found that anyone can use a similar process to overpower doubt and achieve just about anything.
1. Gain Clarity: If you suffer from doubt when it comes to making crucial decisions, the first thing you must do is gain clarity around why it’s important in the first place. Clarity comes from fully understanding the purpose and intent of taking on a difficult task. When you can answer why it is important to achieve the goal, that will drive what you choose to do and how you choose to do it. Without a high level of clarity you may find it even more difficult to stick with it.
2. Create A Plan: One of the greatest reasons doubt creeps into our head is because our emotional mind defines why it’s important, yet our logical mind is questioning what to do and how it's going to get done. Our minds go down this path on everything we do. The simpler the task the more automated the task becomes over time. But a complex task or project needs to be guided so as to not go off course. A good plan becomes a roadmap to give your mind confidence. Now with the destination defined and the complexities addressed it comes down to execution of the plan.
3. Find A Routine: Many business leaders, especially owners who work in their business everyday, often find it difficult to work on important projects. They tend to be so busy dealing with the day-to-day business they can easily ignore big projects that need their attention. So with great intention and a plan to guide them it comes down to execution. It comes down to how they prioritize it into their daily activities to ensure the plan is put into action. If the project is important to the business then it’s important enough for you to create a routine around working on this all important project. You have to make the time to do the work, or you won’t make it to the finish line.
Yet it’s too easy to get stuck in a circular pattern of doubt. This is especially true when we lack clarity, lack a plan of action, and lack routine in our lives.
Earlier I said the good news is eliminating doubt is a skill that can be practiced. By removing yourself from the busyness of your business and life, you can make time to go deeper and become more strategic, analytical, and forward thinking for your business. It’s during these times where you discover trends, uncover bottlenecks, identify solutions, and orchestrate the changes necessary to keep your business healthy and growing.As you practice this routine of making time to work ON your business, you gain more proficiency, and soon it begins to become more automatic. Positive outcomes appear much clearer than before. Analysis paralysis disappears and action takes over.
Before you know it deciding to do things that initially appear overwhelming become routine, and it’s all because you gain proficiency through practice. Now instead of having doubt that cripples you taking any action, you gain the confidence to take action to achieve anything you want.