When faced with a major decision--be it business, financial, or personal--you're often unsure of which way to go. And when you're worried about making the wrong decision, you wait, do more research, seek more input, and basically do anything other than making the decision and finally acting on it.
In many cases, the more choices you have, the more likely it is you will freeze.
As an entrepreneur or investor, you can’t afford to do this. I generally pride myself on being able to make quick decisions based on data and my gut, but sometimes there’s just no conclusive evidence or a gut feeling to help guide the way. Here are four techniques I have used to get past this paralysis:
Let It Wait
Sometimes you just need some extra time for an idea to percolate, and after a few days or weeks, the right path becomes clear.
Talk to Someone
A small comment or bit of advice from someone else can often solve the puzzle in your head. In other cases, just the act of talking about the situation out loud can provide an instant revelation of what you need to do.
Make a List of Pros and Cons
I’ll admit that this is probably the least effective method for me, as a decision is often not just a simple list of reasons for and against taking action. But for some, the process of writing out the pros and cons often helps to distill their thinking.
Minimize Your Regrets
Here’s the principle that I’ve really started to embrace. Ask yourself: If you look back at this decision 10 years from now, which path will you most regret not taking? For example, think about the decision to stay on a safe career path versus starting a company with a huge potential upside and very high risks. Rather than just focus on minimizing that risk, I like to take the approach of minimizing potential regrets when faced with a hard decision.
What do you do to overcome decision paralysis? Share your tricks in the comments.
This post originally appeared on Version One Ventures' blog and has been reprinted with the author's permission.