When confronting a major decision, you most likely seek an outside opinion first. You might be considering quitting a job, buying a house or breaking up with a boyfriend. Naturally, you ask the people who know you best for their opinion, hoping for their seal of approval — but at what point should you stop asking others and only look to yourself?
It’s important that we come to trust ourselves to make the right decisions. As Daily Muse contributor Jessica Taylor explains in “5 Steps to Making the Right Decisions for You,” there is a point when too many outside opinions can paralyze you. Instead of asking how you really feel, you end up trying to please everyone else.
Learning to be confident in the decisions you make is a challenge, but one all of us should all face. The first step is one that I’ve always struggled with: Learn to trust your instincts.
Often, your very first impressions reveal your true preferences. This doesn’t mean you should rush to the first conclusion that crosses your mind, but do remember that seeking too many opinions on something — whether it’s a new haircut or a new job — can confuse what you originally wanted. To avoid over-complicating a situation, it’s helpful to step back, take a deep breath, and re-focus on what you felt when you initially started the decision-making progress.”
I’ve always found that my best instincts (the ones that turn out to be correct) are the ones I fought hard to ignore. I would wonder if perhaps I was overreacting or overanalyzing, and not really giving a job or a relationship a real shot. Chances are, though, if you feel right away like something isn’t right for you — your assumption is probably correct. The trick is in learning to trust that instinct and not look back.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should jump to your first conclusions. Taking a step back and really looking at a situation is important. You shouldn’t feel as if you need to make a decision as soon as a challenge presents itself:
Often, the pressure to make a decision can make you anxious to move forward before you’ve taken the time you need to really weigh your options. But in many cases, you aren’t actually expected to decide on the spot, and it’s perfectly appropriate to pause and reflect. If you’re presented with a decision that throws you for a loop — say, a surprise job offer — ask the other party for some time to consider the situation, and for a deadline for when you need to respond.”
It’s important to take your time and, as Taylor also suggests, ask lots of questions. Know what your options are before you move forward.
You don’t have to completely abandon your trusted inner circle, but you should know the difference between what’s right for them and what’s right for you. There will always be what-ifs and wonders of what could have been, but at the end of the day, you should be confident in the decisions you make. Over time, you learn more about who you are and what you do or don’t want — in your career and in your personal relationships. But to really understand yourself, you have to listen to that inner voice.
Read the rest of Taylor’s tips on The Daily Muse.