We spent the last two weeks visiting colleges as our daughter, Rebecca, has narrowed her final decision to these schools. We are very excited to see where she will be heading next year and know that this is not an easy choice. She is turning 18 this week and has reached the point in her life where she has to make her first big decision in her life. She is about to join all of those college kids, weighing in her mind what to do. Some might see this as an end to childhood, but others, like myself, see this as a start on the next exciting part of her life, and making decisions will be a part of it.
During her life, like the rest of us, she will come across different broad approaches that people and organizations face when asked to make a decision:
- Make the decision and stick by it – This can be either swiftly made or time is set aside to make the decision. Sometimes the relevant factors are captured, or the decisions are made intuitively. Generally exhibits high confidence in ability to make the choice.
- Paralysis by Analysis – This group is very good at gathering information, making lists and including relevant and irrelevant points. While doing one’s due diligence is important, some have the tendency to spend too much time on this. The outcome is that the decision takes a long time to make, and in some cases, things change and a new decision is required.
- Indecisive – Point number two can give this impression, but it really stands on its own. We all know someone, or an organization, that has difficulty making choice: they will not know what to do. Usually there is a lot of hemming and hawing, and the big question of, “What would you do?” This approach can lead to stagnation…
- Procrastinate – Promote the fact that there will be a decision, but at some point in the future. Can use words like, “We will defer this for now,” or “Let’s see how this plays out,” or, “By next year, ‘things’ will change in our favor”.
Merriam-Webster defines the word Decision as
- a choice that you make about something after thinking about it : the result of deciding
- the ability to make choices quickly and confidently
- the particular end of a legal or official argument : a legal or official judgment
I have confidence that Rebecca will make a good decision, and in a timely manner, and will stick by her decision (should second-guessing be a category?). As parents, Debbie and I will support her decision, as we will throughout her life (I expect to be around for a LONG, LONG time). We can provide counsel for her, but decision-making will now be a part of her life as she really begins that transition to adulthood (yes, our baby is growing up). College, continuing education, job / entrepreneurial choice, a spouse, buying a house, etc. are all in front of her, her older sister Gab and all teens. This is where they make the choice that will define how their stories will be written. I look forward to reading the book of their lives and being there for them.