How to Be More Decisive About Your Commitments? If it Isn't an Absolute Yes, It's a No.
Many clients reflect on how to be more decisive. Leaders, executives, senior level professionals are no different from anyone else. They need to balance so many things while trying to get meaningful work done each and every day. You can't accept every request for your time and commitment.
struggling with whether or not to agree to do something. If it is not an
absolute “Yes”, consider the answer to be a “No.”
hesitation indicates something does not fit right for you. Maybe it will
another time, but not currently. If your struggle whether or not to accept has
all sorts of “ifs” and “buts” attached, say “No.”
speeds up the decision making process. Often an answer can be given right on
the spot, instead of delaying for hours or days. Be sure of your highest
priorities and the decision will be easier to make. Either it fits or it
"Responding immediately is attractive because
it is still very rare even though it seems so obvious. It is so rare because
most people procrastinate. In fact, you may need to upgrade systems,
streamline, and change your whole manner of responding to people in order to
provide an immediate response."
Talane Miedaner, Coach Yourself to Success
Five Days of Coaching on Learning How to Be More Decisive
are you at saying “no” to requests that are made of you? Are you feeling
pressure from too many commitments? Wondering how to be more decisive and get your answer out more quickly? Think about how you generally process
requests from others in your mind. What's your default method of responding?
How well do your answers reflect your own standards and boundaries?
The Coach asks:
- How pressured do you feel from too many commitments? Do a survey of the various commitments you have. What ones give you life? What ones suck the life out of you? What ones are absolutely necessary? What ones are not?
- As you did your assessment above, what have you noticed about the types of things you commit to? About any tendencies you have? About your desire to change things?
- What is your default mode of responding to requests that are made of you that involve your commitment of time? Do you answer right there? Do you delay your answer? Do you delay even though you know what your answer ultimately will be? What actually is your default?
- How do your replies reflect the standards and boundaries you have set for yourself?
practice “If it's not an absolute yes, it's a no” thinking. Don't worry. You
can still be kind and generous. You can say “no” and people will understand. If
they don't, then they might have been using you for reasons that have gone
The Coach asks:
- What does "If it's not an absolute yes, it's a no" thinking mean to you? What does it look like in practice.
- Use this mindset throughout a whole day, or until you face such a request of your time.
- How did people respond when you gave them a definitive answer so quickly? Did they accept? Try talk you out of it? Did they seem offended? How did you respond to their response?
- What have you been learning about yourself and others, from adopting this mindset for a day?
the 'ifs' and 'buts' and low level grumbling that comes out of your mouth
around responsibilities you have agreed to take on. Be conscious of changing
your attitude. If you agreed to it, do it with style. Be positive.
The Coach asks:
- Take not of your "complaints" for having agreed to something you really knew you should have said no to. How do you sound?
- If you agreed to something, change your attitude toward it, or get out of it. Commit with a positive attitude.
- How adept are you at being aware of your own attitude? Elevate that awareness as you move through your day. Notice those involvements for which you are a willing and engaged contributor.
- Resolve to drop the grumbling about too many commitments, because you are going to do something about it. What have you resolved to do?
no-delay responding. Either it's for you or it isn't. Be clear. Be kind. Be
okay with it afterwards.
The Coach ask:
- This is where the rubber hits the road. Today practice "no-delay responding." Of course it's not always possible. But, most often it is. Discovering how to be more decisive isn't so hard. Practicing being more decisive takes purpose and follow-through.
- How can you respectfully decline a request for you time?
- No one doubts your integrity. Keep your head lifted as you kindly decline. You know why you are declining, and that is enough.
important to know so well what you will say “yes” to, that saying “no” becomes
easy. Make a list of those requests that get a positive response from you.
Memorize it or keep it handy so that you can refer to it when needed.
The Coach asks:
- What are you willing to say yes to, or to consider saying yes to?
- What are you definitely saying no to?
- How will you move forward from here? What has changed that makes you more adept at being decisive in decisions that demand your time?
Spiritual Reflection for Christian Leaders
As a Christian Executive Leadership Coach I encourage Christian leaders to reflect on God's Word to add to their wisdom.
- 1 Kn 18:21 How long will you waver between two opinions?
- Jas 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
- 1 Pt 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on hm because he cares for you.
- Pr 3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
If you are a leader, executive, or senior level professional looking to work with a Christian Executive Coach, I invite you to connect with me here.
If appropriate, we can meet by phone or Zoom to discuss your situation.
Record Your Progress
This is your opportunity to track your progress. Start by asking yourself how important this practice is to you? Record the importance as - not at all, somewhat, fairly, highly or extremely.
Now next to it ask yourself how well you carry out this practice. Record your performance as - very poor, poor, okay, good or very good.
The things we track, we pay attention to. Across time, come back and record your new results. You will find that as you are intentional about making improvements, you will bump your "score" up higher.
This is significant. Don't miss the opportunity to acknowledge your success, and use it as a springboard for making even further gain.
It's so easy to waffle. As leaders we are passionate about causes. We care about helping people. We want to lend a hand. As they say, the heart is in the right place.
But ... you hesitate. Deep down you know your name might not be on this one. You just don't want to let people down. This practice will take some intentional work. If you are working on how to be more decisive, this shift in thinking WILL help.
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G.E. Wood and Associates is an international coaching firm registered in Ontario, Canada
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