Melissa’s mind races, all day long. She’s a small business owner, and between that and her family demands, she jumps from decision to decision quickly. It’s often a whack-a-mole situation, where she gets one thing dealt with and quickly moves on to the next.
That feels good to Melissa, most of the time. She has a sense of movement, of getting stuff done. She is a do-er! A woman of action. Think Wonder Woman with those cool bracelets.
Though things move quickly in Wonder Woman’s…err, Melissa’s world, she sometimes gets tripped up by her fast thinking.
While momentum and movement are important in business, some decisions simply require you to slow down and think more strategically.
For things like hiring, pricing, or defining your ideal audience, where the consequences of a bad decision are significant, slow thinking is required.
To help slow down your thinking when it’s an important issue, use this highly evolved tool: pen and paper. There’s something that happens in our brains when you write instead of using the computer. You have a closer connection to what you’re writing down, and you are also forced to think at the speed of your writing. It slows down that rapid stream of consciousness, like Melissa’s. Write down all the details of your issue.
Give yourself time to think things over and get the necessary information.
For those of us who aren’t Wonder Women (or Superman), we tend to seek information that agrees with what we’ve already decided to believe. So do your own fake news filtering and ask yourself, “How do I know this is true?” before accepting information as the basis for a decision. It’s a big value-added step.
Put on the brakes when you need time. “Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you” is a very useful response.
If it’s a client and you want to send the message that they are important and that you’re not just floating in a pool drinking umbrella drinks while they’re waiting, you can elaborate with a little more detail, like: “I need to do some research” or “I’ll check in with my colleagues so I can give you a decision that will help you best”.
To get the most out of your decision time, practice solitude without distractions. There’s something about water and nature that profoundly liberates our thinking. Set aside time for solitude each day, if you can.
Another benefit of this slow-down is that you can think strategically. Strategy is the big-picture view. When I’m working with clients, I often start by distilling strategy into just two questions:
1. How do you want to be perceived? This question is about brand alignment and how you’re projecting your values.
2. How do you want to contribute? This question is about what you choose to offer and where you can offer the best value. It’s also about impact: what kind of positive contribution do you want to make?
These two questions will put you solidly on the path of thinking strategically about your business.
Successful people have developed a habit of slow thinking. They do it because the temporary discomfort of slowing down is subordinate to the impact that they could have.
Like Melissa, you can develop this habit too! Cultivate the ability to slow down and think strategically. It plants valuable seeds that you can harvest for abundance in future.
To expand your ability to think strategically, click here for the Alchemy Assignment!