“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Decisiveness is defined as being “characterized by firmness and decision.”
Being decisive means that you have the ability to decide. From the strength of a decision you then have the ability to act. Leadership requires that you are able to make key decisions effectively. Decisiveness then simply means being the leader of your own life. Decisiveness is both a skill you can build and an internal state you can summon when you need it.
Making decisions that are well-informed and time-sensitive is a crucial part of being a successful leader. Decisive leaders seek out the appropriate information they need to make good decisions. In addition, they show an understanding of the knowledge held by their direct reports, colleagues, and leaders. This helps them gather information from these resources before making a final decision. Important decisions can’t always wait until every option has been dissected. Effective leaders can identify and obtain critical information, and gauge when enough detail has been collected in light of the potential outcomes.
HERE ARE 5 KEYS TO BECOMING A MORE DECISIVE DECISION MAKER
Take a balanced view.
Our natural tendency can often be to look at what can go wrong or the risks associated with a decision. Make sure you are taking a balanced view considering not only what can go wrong but also what the benefits of a decision could be.
Indecisiveness is often a result of wanting to be certain about the outcome. Looking for certainty is nothing short of torturous… because it can never be achieved! You can only be certain of an outcome once a decision has been made and action is taken.
This is all about getting buy in and discovering issues you may have been unaware of. But ladies we need to be careful not to overdo this one. We have a tendency to want to consult and to get consensus from the team. Don’t over play this or your behavior could be perceived as indecisive or showing a lacking confidence. There comes a time when you quite simply have to move on from the fact finding and collaboration phase and make a decision!
Use your internal GPS.
Trust your intuition and your internal knowing. Over the years you have built up a wealth of experience and knowledge, which fuels our internal GPS. Trust it. It’s what allows us to make reliable, quick decisions when we take the time to listen. Your gut instincts will be right way more often than you think.
Once you make a decision, own it! Speak of your decision with confidence and conviction. Follow through with bold courageous action. No flip flopping or second guessing your decision once it has been made.
And most importantly you must own the outcome… good or bad.
Could you be more decisive?
Reflect on the decisions you currently have on your plate right now. Could you be more decisive in your decision making? Yes, it’s important to listen, gather critical information, and weigh up the options but without a decisive decision all this good work could go to waste. Your leadership credibility and reputation is at stake.
Exercises/Yoga poses to enhance decision making ability: -
1. Easy Pose (Calm the Brain)
Easy pose is the natural starting point because of its breathing mindfulness benefits for executives. By starting here, you will calm the mind and start to increase your focus on the yoga practice and, in turn, increase focus elsewhere in your life. Start in a seated cross legged position that is comfortable for you, bring the hands to the knees with palms face up and body relaxed. Sit up tall with spine long and the crown of the head reaching toward the ceiling. Relax the shoulders. Start to concentrate on your inhales and exhales, taking them slow and steady through the nose. Begin here with 15-20 breaths to start your workout.
Tip: If you have tight hips, sit up on a yoga block or a pillow to allow the knees to fall more comfortably to either side.
2. Pranayama (Breath Control to Increase Mental Strength)
Pranayama is the practice of specific breathing techniques. Prana is this Sanskrit word for “life energy” while ayama means “to extend” for a translation quite literally meaning breath.
Practicing breath control is beneficial to increase mental strength and it will also calm your nervous system and increase perception, which are essential in decisive decision making. Start seated in easy pose and bring one hand towards your face, folding the three middle fingers down so that the thumb and pinky finger and extended. Exhale completely and use your right thumb to close your right nostril. Inhale through your left nostril and then close the left nostril with your pinky finger. Open the right nostril and exhale through this side. Inhale through the right nostril and then close this nostril. Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side. This is one cycle. Continue this for 5-10 cycles.
Tip: This breath exercise takes patience and concentration, so don’t give up if you don’t control the breath right away. Practice overtime will increase its benefits.
3. Cat to Cow Posture (Creates Emotional Balance)
Cat/cow pose promotes emotional balance, necessary for effective decision making. It is also a gentle stretch for the back, stomach and chest. This is nice for executives because it can help to open up the chest and counteract slouching and rounded shoulders from hours of deskwork. Start out on hands and knees with wrists directly beneath shoulders and knees beneath the hips. As you exhale press into palms while rounding the shoulders and tucking chin to chest, pressing the upper back towards the ceiling and pulling the navel in towards the belly button. This is cat pose. As you inhale reverse the posture letting shoulders fall away from the ears and stomach drop towards the floor. Your belly should be more relaxed while your chest is opening up. This is cow pose. Try doing this for 10-15 breaths to warm up the spine and continue controlling the breath with movement.
Tip: Put a blanket under the knees if they need more support or cushion. This pose should be gentle and comfortable!
4. Tree Poses (Enhances Confidence and Create a More Positive Level of Self-Esteem)
Tree pose is a standing posture that takes balance, confidence, and concentration to master. All key characteristics an executive must possess for good decision making. By practicing this posture, it will enhance confidence and create a positive level of self-esteem. Start by grounding into your right foot and making sure all four corners all pressed evenly into the ground. Once you feel balanced, bring the left foot off the ground and place the foot on your calf or thigh, do NOT place foot directly on the knee! Press thigh into foot and foot into thigh. From here stand up tall, relax the shoulders away from the ears and keep your gaze steady. Hands can be placed on hips or in prayer pose at the heart. Just breathe! Stay in the pose for 8-10 breaths and then switch to the left side.
Tip: If your balance isn’t great, keep your toes on the ground and just lift the heel onto the opposite leg, using it as a kickstand.
As you start to gain confidence in the posture, you can slowly bring the foot up a little higher each time.
5. Warrior II (Develops Concentration and Energy)
Warrior II is a strong standing pose that will help executives develop concentration and energy, which are obviously needed in making critical decisions. Because almost every muscle in the body is activated while holding this pose, it can help improve circulation while energizing the mind and the whole body. To start, step your right foot back into a lunge but, instead of staying on the ball of your foot ground the right heel and have the toes face out at about 3 o’clock. You left knee will bend to a 90-degree angle (or whatever angle you can manage), and toes will stay pointed forward at 12 o’clock. Bring your arms to a T position to that left arm is toward left foot and right arm is toward right foot. Keep your gaze forward, looking out past your left hand. While here remember to breathe! Stay like this for 8-10 breaths. Switch sides and begin again.
Tip: If you feel like this is awkward or painful for you back knee, turn the back foot to about a 45-degree angle. Right toes toward 1 o’clock or left toes toward 11 o’clock. This should take some pressure off the knee and allow you to fully express the pose and gain its full benefits.
6. Warrior III (Your Brain Thinks Sharp)
Warrior III is the second balance pose in this yoga workout. Just like tree pose, it takes patience, confidence, and concentration to master.
As executives, we will benefit from this pose because it will help to make the brain think smarter and sharpen our focus. Start by grounding into the right foot pressing all four corners of the foot into the ground. Once you feel grounded, start to lift the left leg up while bending forward from the hips. Keep lifting your left foot up until it is at hip height and bring the chest forward, so it is parallel to the floor. Reach arms forward, bringing triceps by the ears. Keep your gaze steady and focus on your inhales and exhales. Stay here for 8-10 breaths and then switch to the left side.
Tip: This pose takes a lot of shoulder and hamstring flexibility. To ease up on the hamstrings don’t lift the back leg so high. For tight shoulders, keep hands on hips or bring them to prayer at heart center.
7. Side Plank (Develops Your Concentration Skills)
Side plank is a major core and arm strengthen exercise. Along with the strength gain, executives will see developments in concentration skills, which is helpful in making executive decisions. This can be a challenging posture, so make sure to modify if need be. Start on hands and knees, keep the right hand on the ground and reach left arm up towards the ceiling. Straighten both knees so that you’re balancing on the outer edge of the right foot and the inner edge of the left foot. Make sure your right wrist is directly under your right shoulder. Keep your feet stacked and hips and head in line with the spine. Also keep your core tight to maintain balance. Gaze can be up toward the ceiling or down to the ground. Stay here for 8-10 breaths and then switch sides.
Tip: To modify this pose, bring your bottom leg to the ground resting the knee and shin. This will help with balance and take some pressure off your wrist.
8. Wide Legged Forward Fold (One-Pointed Attention)
After practicing this inversion pose, executives will notice more focused attention and concentration. When you focus on this pose, it cultivates an ability to shift from ‘executive brain’ to that of one-pointed attention. This focused state will allow other concerns to dissolve so that you can focus on the task at hand. Wide legged forward fold is also a deep hamstring and lower back stretch Start with feet wider than hip width apart, inhale, and reach the crown of your head toward the ceiling to lengthen your torso. As you exhale, start to fold forward at the hips reaching hands toward the ground. As you fold forward, let the crown of your head fall toward the ground. Stay here for 8-10 breaths. Slowing rise back to standing. Once you feel ready, repeat the forward fold 1-2 more times depending on how you feel.
Tip: If this pose makes you dizzy when you return to standing, try not folding over all the way. As you fold, bring hands toward the ground and chest parallel to the floor.
9. Shoulder Stand (Positive Energy to Your Body and Mind)
Shoulder stand is an inversion and should be practiced with caution. Inversions increase blood flow to the brain, which can calm the mind, relieve stress, and mild depression. This can also help improve memory and concentration. Overall it can bring positive energy to your body and mind. Start lying on your back and bring feet towards the ceiling so that legs are straight. There can be a slight bend in the knee if needed. If you have high blood pressure stay here in the inversion. To proceed to shoulder stand, press hips into the air and rest them on your hands, elbows are still on the ground. Stay here for 8-10 breaths before slowly coming down to your back and staying there for a few moments before proceeding.
Tip: When you’re in this pose, DO NOT move your head from side to side, keep gaze toward the ceiling. Your neck is in a very vulnerable position, so take caution.
10. Corpse Pose (Calm Your Systems)
Corpse pose or savasana is the normal way to end all yoga practices. By taking a few moments to consciously rest you allow yourself some serenity, calmness, a decrease in blood pressure and it will improve brain function. This is especially beneficial for executives because calming the nervous system allows you to decrease anxiety and stress, which will help sharpen brain function. For this pose, simply lay on your back and take rest. Palms go face up towards the sky, eyes close and body completely relaxes.
Essential Oil Therapy
It has positive, uplifting qualities and supports clear thinking, humor and decisiveness. It has cleansing and antibacterial properties and works well mixed with Bergamot to make a refreshing deodorant. A few drops on a warm compress may be used to support healthy circulation. Add drops to dish rinse water. Diffuse to cleanse and refresh air, and add a few drops to natural cleaning solutions to upgrade fragrance and efficacy. Blends well with: Orange Sweet, Rosemary, Vetiver, Bergamot.
Breathing, Body Scan, Empowerment meditation