13 May 2022

Difficult times call for difficult decisions. Iryna Zolotarevych, MIM-Kyiv visiting professor, Founder International School of Upscaling Coaching, Co-founder United PR Association of Ukraine, Strategic Adviser, Civic Activist, Coach PCC ICF, Mentor ICF, ex-advisor to the Prime-Minister of Ukraine shared her experiences, discussed the decision-making drivers, and offered her techniques that account for uncertainty and stress. Here are the highlights of the discussion.

- People are too exhausted because they did not make the decision rather than suffer from the inability to decide. Many people feel relieved when I say that. We are spending a lot of energy on reviewing, comparing, etc. Your brain often stalls in such a situation. On the other hand, when you decide quickly and then move on your results are often better.

- The research proved that several parts of the brain analyze conflicts and resulting rewards. Apes were used for testing their ability to choose under unknown circumstances without any clues. When the apes were making quick decisions, their brains had a very consistent system of neural connections. When they could not decide quickly, the connections were “dispersing” to support simultaneous analysis of multiple options. In other words, the more options we have, the more energy we need for analysis. Thus, the experiment proved that our decisiveness depends on how we process information and that “risk-reward” analysis is part of the decision-making process.

- Overwhelming amount of information is one of the reasons for difficult decision-making. To process the abundance of the available information our brains are using a lot of their resources.

- When people say something like “I can’t decide where to live, what to do, how to make money, what to do with the team, etc.”, they suffer from excessive information. When they make the decision, they “cancel” all other options. People tend to be sorry for the multitude of options. That’s why we often delay decision-making. One of my clients was choosing between the two projects. One of those projects was boosting up his reputation, the other one was about making handsome money. He spent so much time deciding that both options were gone.

- Risks are numerous. Forecasting is nearly impossible. Sometimes we are scared of losses – the losses of opportunities, investments, resources, etc. Sometimes, we face a difficult choice between two bad options. In such a situation, our negative emotions block our ability to decide. We feel trapped. The fear of loss paralyzes us. However, the ability to look at the wider picture can help. I often ask my clients to offer me at least four ways to achieve their goals. In such a case, people see opportunities where they saw no chances.

- When you have to choose between the bad and the worse, remember that we “assign” negativity or positivity to the events. Look at more than two options and make your choice. For more information visit the  record of the MIM Toolbox episode.