Several months ago, I interviewed a brilliant entrepreneur as part of a project.
She was exhausted and described her business as “death by a thousand paper cuts…a million decisions on a daily basis.”
Does that hit you as hard as it hit me?
I love the autonomy of working for myself, but sometimes I honestly miss having someone else making the decisions and being responsible for the outcome if it ends badly.
I miss getting the periodic autopilot day.
I also know I’ve grown because I’ve been forced to make every decision that has impacted my business. I have been faced with seemingly boundless options about everything from my business model to what font to use, and I’ve had to choose something. I could get wise advice from others, but I couldn’t circumvent my own responsibility.
Decisions are hard because they are limiting.
They require us to trust our judgment and rely on it through tangible action.
They ask us to commit to a single course.
And I know that most of the time, if my business is floundering, it is because I’m trying not to choose. I’m trying to keep my options open, to do a little bit of everything and please a little bit of everyone.
I’ve seen my clients struggle the same way. They have ideas that we help bring into the world, and that requires one big thing of them – they have to decide what they want it to be.
I ask them questions like, “Your client has just said they want to work with you. What happens next?” and for them to answer that question, they have to pick one thing. One thing that will happen after every yes.
But on the other side of the hard decision, something amazing happens.
You don’t have to make that decision again. It’s now set – you know what needs to happen next, and you can empower your team to do that thing. Everything starts to flow, and you have a little extra energy left over to apply to a different decision.
The impact of consistency like this can snowball throughout your business until you find that the only decisions you have to make are the big, strategic decisions worthy of the CEO you are. And you’ll have the energy and time you need to devote to them.
Rachel Rogers has a great motto – “Work hard once.” I agree, and would add – “Decide once.”
Decide how you want your process to go, how you want to provide your service, what your “method” is, and stick with it. You can change it later if it doesn’t work.
Lean into the discomfort and the limitations of decisions.
They’ll become the bricks with which you build your empire.