Image: Claire Gillman
Image: Claire Gillman

Many years ago I used to take my family to a swimming pool. At the deep end of the pool there was a platform and diving board, and I would spend hours watching young people climb the stairs and just launch themselves into all kinds of impressive back flips and somersaults. To me it looked terrifying, and couldn’t understand how someone could just run up and flip backwards off such a height without a second thought.

One day, I was there with my five year old son and I wanted to teach him not to be afraid of diving. He sat with me watching, mesmerised by the other kids leaping from the diving board, and then looked to me for reassurance. I took his hand, and together we climbed the stairs to the platform. I knew I couldn’t ask him to do something that I couldn’t do, but I was afraid of heights and my legs froze.

When I saw my son looking at me, I made a conscious decision not to let my fear dictate what I could do. I told him to watch, explained that I wasn’t very good but that I would try anyway and then just did it. What was remarkable was that he happily jumped in straight after me – he saw me make a commitment so gladly followed.

The same principle is also true in business. The step of wholeheartedly committing to a plan makes it much easier as you will find people will buy into what you’re trying to achieve and follow you.

Starting a business is a big decision, and your role as a business leaders means there will inevitably be lots more tricky decisions you have to make along the way. However, the important thing is not to let your procrastination hold you back. I have witnessed many good business people miss great opportunities as a result of “analysis paralysis,” so sometimes it is best to just stop thinking and take the plunge. Every journey starts with a single step and you will find that each subsequent step becomes easier and easier.

The nature of today’s business world means entrepreneurs face a more fast-paced market than ever before. These shifting sands might be daunting at times, but that just makes being decisive all the more important. So, here are some actions to take to help you on your way:

Make a decision:

One of the most important roles you play as a leader is being the maker of tough choices. It is important gather information, and that includes getting advice from experts and people you trust. However, you should not rely purely on other people’s opinions. Your own intuition is a powerful tool, so trust it, and decide for yourself if this is what you really want to do.

Make a commitment to your decision:

If you are going to be successful as an entrepreneur you must be decisive. This also means not looking back and dwelling on the past. Of course it pays to learn from your mistakes, but committing to the decisions you make is the best way to free yourself to keep moving forward.

Take a step:

Everyone is guilty of overthinking from time to time. If you are indecisive it can be easy to keep procrastinating and waiting for the absolutely perfect moment before taking action. However, you should remember that all it takes to eventually arrive at your goal is a series of single steps – that first step can be hard, and you may even stumble, but with each one you will learn and you will move a step closer to where you want to be.

Trust in the miracle:

Business leaders have to be believers. You cannot control everything – in fact, the only thing you can really control is yourself – so if you are going to see your decision through successfully you are going to have to have confidence and faith in others. Once you have made your decision, committed to it, and taken the first step, you will be amazed at how many doors open up for you. People follow leaders, but without confidence and faith, no one is going to help you on your journey.

 

By Paul Oberschneider, entrepreneur, angel investor, author and speaker