Sometimes The Best Decision Is The Imperfect One

Nod at the fear and make a choice

I’m standing at the precipice of a choice.

Anyone else making a decision? A big decision or a little decision. Sometimes it’s not the size that matters. Sometimes the small choices feel exactly the same as the big ones. Terrifying.

There are two paths that I can take. Both of them mean moving forward from this current spot. Both of them mean trying something new. Both of them provide the potential for failure.

Most likely, neither choice will turn out exactly how I expect. And I have very little control over that.

Wow I do not want to make this decision.

Maybe I need a little more information? Maybe there is someone out there that can make this choice for me?

I know that isn’t true. And I know there is no more information to find. Nothing that will be useful. Nothing that will show me the perfect decision or the guaranteed outcome. Because that’s what I want. A guarantee. Without it, I am stepping off a cliff in the dark.

Sitting in this space of indecision is exhausting. I feel like I can do nothing else but ruminate on the options. Like my whole day is booked up with to-do’s, but really the only to-do is to manage this feeling of uncertainty.

I was cleaning up my desk as a way to procrastinate making the decision and I came across a list of my goals for this year. What I hoped to accomplish in 2019. It’s not long, about half a page. Eight goals across my work and personal life. And I hadn’t revisited them in awhile. So, in an attempt to put off this choice, I sat down and reviewed the page.

I realize that I have surpassed four of the eight goals on the list already. In May.

And then I understand.

So many of us believe we are not good at making decisions. We spend so much time finding the evidence in our mind of previous decisions and how they didn’t go as we expected. A decision was bad. We regret the choice. No gray areas. All black and white. And we use that as a reason to put off future choices.

What about the evidence that the outcome of a choice went better than we could have hoped? When do we ruminate on that?

I must have made a lot of good choices in the past 5 months to exceed four of my eight goals. Some things didn’t work out. But a lot of things must have worked in my favor.

And I am sure that I felt fear and anxiety more than once in the past 5 months about other choices. Lots of decisions that felt like I was walking blindfolded. Yet here I am. Making progress.

I realize I have it all backwards. I think that I have to wait until the fear goes away to make the choice. When, in truth, the fear will only go away once the choice is made. I barely remember the fear and anxiety that I felt from all the decisions that I made to get me to this place. Once the die is cast, all I can do is move forward and deal with the results.

I have to trust that the best and only way to make a decision is by using the information that I have in this moment. I can’t predict the future. I’ll never know everything. But I have to accept that I am making the best choice that I can right now.

And leave it at that.

It’s the most perfect way to choose anything. Accept that my decision might not be perfect. Accept that some things will turn out badly, but other things will go well. In truth, is there another way?

Deep breath. Belly full of jitters. Nod to the fear. Acknowledge it’s there. And decide.

Neuroscience. Wall Street. C-Suite. Parent. Recovering Nervous Nelly.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store