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AMY PORTERFIELD: “You are the best person who needs to make the ultimate decision when it comes to your life and your business, period, end of story. You are the visionary of the business. And it's in these moments when you have a crossroads and you need to make a decision that your vision needs to be crystal clear. Once it's crystal clear, own it and be confident in your decision. And here's the deal. If we go back to step one and you totally buy into the belief that a decision is just a decision and you'll make a new one if needed, you stop becoming so scared of making decisions, thinkin g they're so set in stone. You are the ultimate final decision.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY: Listen, I know you're facing a big decision. The reason I know this is that as an entrepreneur, it feels like we are always facing big decisions. Can I get an amen? And as we make our way through this current pandemic, making decisions can feel even tougher because you might be feeling even more fear right now or more uncertainty than you usually do. So with that, I have a question for you. Do you consider yourself to be a decisive person, or is it difficult for you to make decisions? If you're having a hard time answering that question, I'm going to guess that you're more on the indecisive side. And you're not alone. I think many people struggle with making decisions, the big ones and the small ones.
Now, I'm not even going to beat around the bush around this one. I have always been a decisive person. Now, you might be thinking, “Good for you, Amy. Stop the bragging.” Well, hear me out on this one because ever since becoming an entrepreneur, I feel like I've had to face bigger decisions. And I've really slowed down and examined how I make decisions and what goes into making a decision quickly and moving forward. And so this whole decision-making process is something that I've spent a lot of time researching and really thinking about because I wanted to share with you how I do it. So that's what I'm doing in this episode.
And really, truly, if you take only one thing away from this episode, it's this: as an entrepreneur, whether you're just starting out or you're seasoned, you must become highly confident at making decisions quickly. In fact, it's part of the job description. The good news is that you don't have to be a natural-born decision maker in order to master this. This is definitely something with practice and time that you can learn and get really good at. So that's the good news.
Now, today, we're going to talk about foolproof ways to become an excellent decision maker, especially when it comes to those big decisions that could really move the needle forward for you and your business. By the end of today's episode, you're going to have some new tools in your toolkit for making those big, bold decisions, with confidence and ease, and making them quickly. You ready? Let’s do this.
First things first, I need to address something very important upfront. I don't believe that you can make a good decision or a bad decision. Now, when I say that, you might be shaking your head in total disagreement with me, but hear me out. Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School Podcast taught me to not look at decisions as good or bad, right or wrong, but only as decisions. So I haven't always subscribed to the belief that decisions are neither good nor bad, but this is something I've adopted over time that has served me well. So when a decision leads you to your desired results, keep going. Double down. When a decision does not lead you to your desired results, make a new decision. Don't judge. Don't wallow in it. Don't beat yourself up. Just make a new decision. This has changed everything for me.
Look, you can choose to call decisions right or wrong, good or bad, and you can continue to look back and judge yourself for what you say were bad decisions. But notice I said, “look back.” When you make a decision and then you analyze that decision and you say, well, that was a bad decision because what happened with that decision was this and that and this, and so that was a bad decision. Those were not my desired results. Well, it's hindsight. Like, once things happen, you have more information. You didn't have that information when you made the decision before everything happened. So it's not fair to call it good or bad, right or wrong. It was just a decision.
So, again, you can call decisions good or bad, right or wrong. You can look back and judge yourself. But typically that leads to beating yourself up and not being very nice to yourself. Or you could choose to only look forward. Get clear in your desired results, make a decision, and then from there, keep making more decisions to get you to the desired results. It's your choice.
So to be clear, that's what I do now. I make a decision. I wait as long as I need to wait to figure out, did that give me to my desired results or not? Yes? Great, keep going. No? Make a new decision. That's exactly what I do. So I'm giving you big picture right now before I get into the four steps to help you make decisions. But I just wanted to share that with you because it was eye opening for me and has really served me well.
So know that in the beginning you're going to hear yourself say, oh, that was a bad decision, or that's a good decision. I still trip over it. And then I'm like, no, I don't go there. I just make new decisions, or I double down on the one I made.
Okay, so with that, I wanted to give you an example inside my own business about decisions I've been making lately. So you likely don't know this, but I've done a lot of experimenting with this very podcast for about the last six months. And we've been trying a lot of new things in order to increase our downloads, increase the amount of time you listen to each episode, and to attract a new audience to the show. Those are my three desired results.
So we have literally been in this experimental phase for a while now. Now, by declaring ourselves in an experimental phase, we allow ourselves the space to shift and adjust and course correct instead of declaring we failed or messed up or made a “wrong decision.” So what we've been doing is we've been making decisions, we've been checking them against our desired results, and then we adjust or we shift or we course correct to a different decision. And so that has allowed us to really continue to move forward and put things in motion. And we would never have had this opportunity to grow the podcast if we didn't say, okay, we're in an experimental phase; let's start making some decisions.
So we've experimented for a while now. We have made many, many decisions. And with that, now we're taking ourselves out of the experimental phase. We've put together a strategy based on all the decisions and all the results, and now we're moving forward with a new strategy. And so that’s basically what it looks like inside of my business.
Now, none of that would have happened if I didn't start with step one, which is commit to making as many decisions needed to get to the results you are after. That's step one. Make decisions. And if it will help, just declare that you are entering an experimental phase, so multiple decisions are necessary and welcomed.
And here's a great reminder. It's better to make a decision than to just keep collecting data in order to make the right decision. So this is so important. Raise your hand if you've ever been guilty of collecting data for a really long time. It's kind of the most normal thing to do. And we often do it for the sake of wanting to make “the right decision.” See how putting right and wrong in front of the word decision can really slow you down?
Okay, so I want that to stop today. I know you're busy, and I know that you do not have a lot of time to go down a research rabbit hole. So let's work on getting in, gathering the data you need, getting out, and making that decision.
I've been teaching this to my Momentum students a lot. I want them to make a decision and move on, and a lot of them are stuck in the learning phase. So another word for doing the research is I’ve got to learn all this stuff. And I'm a teacher. I have tons of training inside of Digital Course Academy®️ and inside of Momentum. And so a lot of my students will say, “Well, right now I'm just learning. I'm just learning.” And what I tell them is you learn one thing and then you do. Learn, do. Learn, do. This is something that I continue to encourage my Momentum members to do, because Momentum is my membership that comes after Digital Course Academy®️, so they have all the learning they need in DCA. But now in Momentum, you can learn a little, but you have to do a lot. And another word for doing is making decisions. You’ve got to make decisions and implement stuff, and then you can learn a little more, but then you've got to do. You've got to make a decision.
And so I love how Marie Forleo talks about this in her book Everything is Figureoutable. This is what she says, “If you must research, stay on task. The Internet is a minefield of distractions that can gobble up the most-precious resources you have—time and energy. Your objective should always be to get enough information to take your next active step, and nothing more.” Oh, my gosh. I love that she says, “and nothing more.”
Now, this doesn't mean that you have to make hasty decisions. It just means that you must be willing to experiment. I want you to ask yourself, what is it that I need to know or understand or learn in order to make a confident decision? And really ask yourself, what do I need to know or learn or understand to make a confident decision? Write it down. Do a quick journal download on this. And then look at that and say, do I really need all of that? Is all of that necessary?
So I wanted to give you an example right now, and I wanted to take something really timely, so I was kind of like racking my brain, like, what could I use right now as an example? And at the moment of this recording, Stu McLaren's program, TRIBE, is open for enrollment. Many of my students and audience members are thinking about joining. And so I thought, well, so many times we think about joining a new digital course, a new program, and a lot of people kind of get stuck in deciding should they join. I remember this happened with B-School. Well, it happens a lot, where people join at the very last minute. And you know they've been thinking about it and thinking about it and researching and reading over the sales page a hundred times and asking a million questions and all this so-called research that really is not necessary if you know how to make a decision quickly. And so I thought I would use TRIBE as an example because I've seen it come up a lot.
Okay, again, TRIBE is Stu McLaren’s program, where he teaches you how to create a membership site from start to finish, starting from scratch, and how to launch it online. It’s an incredible program. I’m an affiliate. I love the program.
But let's say you right now, right this minute, were thinking about joining TRIBE. So using that question above that I just asked, what do you need to know or understand or learn in order to make a confident decision? using that question, you may be thinking about TRIBE, and you may think, “Well, I know Stu has a three-part video series. It's free. I should probably watch that to get all my questions answered about the program.” And then you might think, “And I know he's got tons of reviews, tons of case studies. I should check those out as well.” So once you have the resources that will give you the insight or the guidance you need, you must cap it there and make a decision. And if you need to, set a timer. But don't get sucked into an unending-research hole, that will leave you more confused and light years away from making a decision.
So given the above tangible research actions—like I mentioned, he's got a three-part video series, he's got tons of testimonials you can read—once you go through that, you may feel like TRIBE is a good fit because it's going to give you the step-by-step guidance that you need for a membership, you've thought about creating a membership, you want to learn from the best of the best. Boom, you're good.
And then you look at the reviews, after you watch the three-part video series, and you learn that some of the TRIBE alumni built a membership site with no audience, no prior membership-site experience, and you think, okay, I could see myself doing that. You're starting to get some confidence. And then maybe you get in one of his Q&As and you get your questions answered. So you're feeling pretty good. So that's what it looks like to research an idea, not going down the research rabbit hole, not waiting until the very last minute to make a decision.
And again, I want to state this. Those people that wait until the very last minute to buy a digital course, my fear is that they've likely been thinking about it for days and days or weeks. They've been worried about it. They've been asking everyone and their brother about it. They've been thinking and thinking about the pros and the cons, to the point that it’s taking so much time and energy away from moving forward. So that's why I wanted to bring this up as an example. I've seen it a lot.
So let's move on to the second step. So the first step is be willing to make as many decisions as you need to make to get to the desired result. The second step is only do the necessary research and nothing more. Only do the necessary research and nothing more. Ask what it is you need to know or learn, what information do you need to gather to make a confident decision, and then find the resources to support your decision. Set a timer or a timeline. Say, okay—I do this sometimes—in the next twenty-four hours, I’m making a decision. I'm making a decision. If you can't make a right or wrong decision, then you have nothing to lose because you can always make another decision once you realize that that decision you made is going to get you closer to your desired results or not. But if you don't make any decision, you're not moving forward. And that's the part that I really wanted you to pay attention to. Okay, so you're willing to make decisions, and you're only going to do the amount of research necessary to actually make that decision.
So the next step that I’m going to suggest can be beneficial, but I want you to take it lightly. While it can be helpful to welcome insight from people you respect and that have an idea of what's actually going on in your business in regard to the decision you're making, I want you to use it as an extension of your research. So if you choose to gather external input, like extra research, be very careful with what you take into account. Be selective and protective of what you share and what you receive. So what I'm saying is be careful who you talk to about helping you make the decision you want to make. Sometimes those closest to you will have a skewed opinion, simply as a way to protect you from being hurt. And most of the time, it’s out of love.
I've shared this before, but my mom is a really good example of this. She's like my best friend. I love her dearly. But I had to stop asking her for input and guidance around how I should spend money in my business, because I found that she was simply responding out of worry for my well-being and trying to keep me safe. And that wasn't always the best guidance for making financial decisions in my business. She also didn't have the big picture because I, honestly, hadn't shared it with her. She didn't know how much money I had in the bank or how much in my savings or how I allotted money to spend in my business. So when I'd ask her questions, it was typically don't spend that money, because she was just protecting me. So I want you to take a moment to think about someone in your life who might be that for you.
Now, conversely, I know that I can talk to Hobie, my husband, about financial decisions, and I talk to my directors on my team a lot about big decisions that I want to make because they understand what's going on in the business. And while, of course, they all want to protect me in the business, they also keep in mind that I need to make big, bold leaps to move forward in my business and to achieve the goals that we've all set for the business. So they're in a totally different situation than, let's say, my mom.
So now it's your turn. Who comes to mind when you think of who would support you and give you candid input, input that is of your best interest? And who do you maybe need to not ask for advice from because they don't have all the information or they're going to be skewed due to the fact that they love you? There's people that you admire, you trust, you respect. But that doesn't mean you should be asking them business decisions. Something to think about.
So, number three, talk to somebody that you trust about the decision you're going to make, but be very careful who you decide to talk to, which leads me to the next and final step, turn inward for the ultimate decision. If you're multi-tasking, come back to me because I need you to hear this. You are the best person to make the final call and decision in your business. I repeat, you are the best person who needs to make the ultimate decision when it comes to your life and your business, period, end of story. You are the visionary of the business. And it's in these moments when you have a crossroads and you need to make a decision that your vision needs to be crystal clear. Once it's crystal clear, own it and be confident in your decision. And here's the deal. If we go back to step one and you totally buy into the belief that a decision is just a decision and you'll make a new one if needed, you stop becoming so scared of making decisions, thinking they're so set in stone. So, something to think about. So, again, you are the ultimate final decision. So step four, get quiet and turn inward.
Now, while I can sit here and say “turn inward,” what does that really mean? I can't just leave you with that. So I want you to have some tangible action items. So here's how I personally like to turn inward when it comes to making a decision. I set aside some time, and I get really quiet. I usually do this in the early morning, when my boys are still sleeping and I'm all alone with Scout on my couch. I grab my journal and I start writing.
Now, I'm going to be the first to tell you that Corinne, my coach, has encouraged me to journal for over two years now, and I still don't totally love it. I think I'm actually getting closer to believing that I am starting to love it, but it's taken me a while. So if you're resistant to journaling, I get it. I've never really totally loved it. However, it is powerful, and it is something I've been doing consistently for a while now. And although I am always a little bit hesitant to start writing—I don't know why; I just am—once I'm done with the journaling session, I'm like, so glad I did it, even if it's ten minutes. It's like working out. I don't want to do it. Once I'm done, I'm like, oh my god, that was amazing. Kind of like the same thing with journaling.
So, when you have to make a big decision, turn inward, get quiet, grab the journal, start writing, even if it's just for ten minutes. And I want you just to start journaling about the decision and writing why you want to go in one direction versus another, what it means to you, where your fears are, what's stopping you, why do you want it. Whatever it is. Start journaling about this decision, and you will find answers on that page. And remember, the decision is never set in stone. So journaling will give you clarity, but you can always make another decision.
The secret to my success of having a multi-million-dollar business is that I do make decisions. I take action every single day. I am always moving forward. And when I find myself looking back, telling myself a story of what didn't work, beating myself up about a “bad decision,” I snap out of it. I say, I don't go there. I don't go backwards. And I do not beat myself up about decisions, because I do not believe they’re good or bad. I just believe they’re a decision. They are a means to move me forward. Remember, Marie Forleo always says this, and I love it. I wish I said it first. She says movement, action, leads to clarity. When you get into action, you find more clarity. And really what I think is decision after decision after decision is moving you more towards clarity. When you have ultimate clarity, you start to see the results that you want. See how that starts to all work together?
Okay, so with that, if you're going to journal and you need some specific questions, here they are. Number one, what is best for the company? Number two, what is best for me? Number three, what feels right? Number four, what aligns with my intent and my mission and my vision? And number five, what would I do if I were brave? Quite honestly, you could jump to number five if you want and just answer that one. You'll get quick decisions out of that one. What would I do if I were brave? So those questions will be in the show notes. So amyporterfield.com/314, if you want to go grab those.
All right. So, again, number four, turn inward. It's the best place to be because I promise that you have the answers inside you right now. You know more than anybody else what you should do. And you can always make a new decision if it doesn't lead you where you want to go.
I promise you that by using these four steps the next time you encounter a challenge or a big decision, you'll feel more confident and clear about what decision you need to make to keep moving forward. So remember, when you're facing a big decision in your business—maybe you are right now—run through these four steps. Step number one, commit to making as many decisions needed to get to the results you're after. Number two, only do the necessary research and nothing more. Step number three, selectively and cautiously seek input from people you trust and who understand what's going on in your business. And step number four, the most important one of all, turn inward and make the ultimate decision yourself, because you, my friend, are the creative visionary behind everything you are doing.
Thanks for joining me this week. I hope you go out and make a decision in the next twenty-four hours. That's my challenge for you. Make a big decision, maybe the one you've been sitting on for a while, in the next twenty-four hours. And if you do, jump into the Online Marketing Made Easy Facebook group for the podcast, and let us know of a big decision you made. I'm dying to hear. So, yeah, we have a Facebook group, Online Marketing Made Easy. Jump in there, let me know a big decision you made. Tell me all about it.
And don't forget, if you love this podcast, please leave a review. One of our initiatives is to attract more people to the podcast. We work so hard on this podcast. It takes hours to create the content that we do every week. And one of the ways to help other people find us is with reviews. So if you'd be so willing to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, you would help me reach one of my big initiatives of the year, and I would be forever grateful.
All right, guys, thanks so very, very much for tuning in. I’ll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.