I have been fortunate to have a number of mentors and coaches who help me with every facet of my business. And though I have never credited him as being one of my mentors, bits and pieces of my father’s advice play a major role in how I conduct my business.

One of his favorite ditties has to do with “execution.” He likes to say that “the world is filled with ideas and plans, but execution is the key to success.”

What may father means is that everyone has a ton of great ideas for starting a business, building a business, adding to a business, etc. Yet very few people will actually stop and execute the idea in their head. This is why most people live lives of mediocrity, because they simply don’t act.

So what stops us from acting? Simple: Indecision caused by fear.

This spurs the question: Why does fear cause indecision?

To understand the answer to this question, let’s first look at the meaning of the word decision.

The Latin root for the word decision literally means “to cut off.” This means that when we truly “make a decision,” we cut off all other options. Although this may seem obvious on the surface, there are far reaching implications that can easily affect taking such an action.

Studies show that most people are literally thinking about the future or the past most of the time. On average, a person’s mind will be “in the moment” for less than five-percent of their entire life.

What’s more, people tend to idolize the past and fear the future. This means that we long for the “good ole days” and plan for “worst case scenario.”

This is why making a real decision can be such a problem. We forget all the times in the past that we made hard decisions and everything turned out okay. Simultaneously, we project gloom and doom for any of the options now facing us.

Funny how the mind works, huh?

So, when using a mind that conveniently forgets the past and over-dramatizes the future, how can we ever make a real, rationale decision?

The answer: Values, Vision, Mission and Priorities.
Basically, you need to establish what you and your business are about. You need to establish what principles, desires and beliefs will guide you. When you determine your personal and business Values, Vision, Mission and Priorities, you will then have a yardstick by which to evaluate the decisions and options facing you.

Until you consciously determine your Value, Vision, Mission and Priorities, and use them, all of your decisions are literally made “by the seat of your pants.”

Now, I must admit that I put my clients through a five-day training program to define and align their personal and business Values, Vision, Mission and Priorities, because these four aspects are that important.

Nonetheless, you can begin to tap into the power of your Values, Vision, Mission and Priorities now, and start using them to help you make more effective decisions immediately.

But before you get to the point of using your Values, Vision, Mission and Priorities in the decision making process, here are some pointers to help make the decision process even easier.

1. Ask for help.

Many times we are afraid to ask for other people’s feedback when faced with a tough decision or we simply get so caught up in our “suffering” that we forget that there are other people who can give us good ideas.

So, forgo being the “tough guy” and ask for other people’s opinions. You might be surprised by how easy the decision becomes after you’ve gotten some objective feedback.

2. Breath.

When projecting the “worst case scenario” into the future, we tend to get all emotional and fixate on the bad things that “will” (may possibly) result from our decision.

In this state you can’t possibly look at your situation rationally or make an effective decision.

So, go for a walk, or meditate, or go to a movie, etc. Do something to break yourself out of the mind-lock your in. Just go somewhere and “forget your troubles” for a while.

3. Get real.

When you look at your situation, rationally think about all the possible ramifications or your decision, not just the doom and gloom ones.

Could your situation actually improve as a result of the decision? Would that other person actually be happy you made the decision you did? Could you actually avoid an issue with (fill in the blank)? Etc.

Ask yourself positive questions. When you look for the good that can come from a decision you will start to find it. Remember, what you focus on expands.


Now, if you have gone through the previous three steps and are still having trouble coming to a decision, then it is time to use your Values, Vision, Mission and Priorities.

First, write down all your options. The more you can narrow down your options the easier this process will be.

Second, look at the options in front you. Ask yourself which of these options is in harmony with your values? Which of these options is in conflict with your values?

If none of them is blatantly in conflict with your values, then ask yourself which one(s) feels the most in harmony with your values?

If you’re still having trouble, write down your top ten values and then compare those values with your options. Which option(s) is most congruent with those values? Then eliminate the others.

Third, close your eyes and envision the future you’d like to see come true.

Simply, what is your vision for your business or your life? Be as detailed as possible when creating this vision in your mind.

Now, look at your remaining options. Which option(s) will most likely and/or most quickly lead you to this desired vision of the future?

If you are having trouble, ask yourself which of your options are most likely to divert you from this future? Then eliminate them.

Fourth, determine your mission.

You have now begun to define your values, and you’ve created a vision for the future. Ask yourself why you want this future? What inside of you is driving you to want this outcome? Basically, what emotion(s) is driving you?

Now, look at your remaining options. Which option(s) is most likely to help you fulfill your mission?

If you are having trouble, ask yourself which option doesn’t seem to be congruent with your mission? Then eliminate it.

Finally, set your priorities.

You have determined your top values. You have created a vision for your future. You have defined your mission.

Now, in order to fulfill your mission, achieve your vision and act in congruency with your values, you must figure out what actions are the most important for you to see your desires become manifest. Write these actions down.

These “actions” are your priorities.

Now, look at your remaining options. Ask yourself, which ones are in alignment with your priorities?

Of course, if you’re having trouble, ask yourself which options(s) is most out of alignment with your priorities. Then eliminate it.

If you’re like most people you should have come to your decision long before you reached the Priorities step, so you’d be all set.

However, in the event that you have gone through all these steps and still have more than one option left that is okay.

You see, after you have gone through all these steps, you have eliminated all of the options that are outright wrong for you and your business. Whatever options you have left are in alignment with your Values, Vision, Mission and Priorities.

This being the case, any of your options will be beneficial to you and your business.

The only thing that will really hold you back from committing to a decision at this point is the desire for a guaranteed outcome and/or the desire to pursue more than one option at the same time.

To this all I can tell you is that there are no guarantees in life or business, and trying to pursue too many options at once will keep you from seeing any of them through to the end.

However, I can guarantee that not taking action will eventually leave you worse off than you are now. And if your options have survived the Values, Vision, Mission and Priorities process, than all of them will help you in some way, so pursuing and completing any one of them will help you achieve all of them faster.

Therefore, you can choose any option to start and know that you are making the “right” choice.

Author's Bio: 

Erik Luhrs is the President of Make Your Business BOOM! Inc. He provides Consulting, Coaching and Seminars on Business & Performance Optimization to Executives and Business Owners all over the world. Visit www.MakeYourBusinessBOOM.com to request a complimentary Effective Decision-Making Training Session today.