Hindsight is always full of wisdom.
Looking back, we all have decisions we regret, choices that didn’t work out so well. And let’s face it: in youth ministry, we are bombarded with choices, constantly have to make decisions. We face decisions about leaders, budget spending, event planning, you name it.
That leaves us with the interesting question of how we can learn to make better decisions. How can we turn hindsight into learning moments, into a better prediction of what a good decision looks like? There are two crucial ways to start making better decisions.
Take your time
Decisions made under time pressure often don’t work out so well. There are several reasons for that, but the most important is that good decisions come from your head, not your heart.
Under time pressure, we often respond from emotions instead of from rational thinking and that negatively impacts our decision-making.
It’s why I’ve made it a hard and fast rule to never make a decision involving purchases over 50 bucks without sleeping on it for at least a night. No matter how good a deal salespeople offer me, I don’t take it. Not even when they warn me it’s a one-time thing, only valid for that day. Rarely have I regretted not taking advantage on the spot, whereas I’ve been happy multiple times to not haven given into impulse-buying.
Good decisions start by taking the time to make them. Don’t let other pressure you into deciding on the spot, especially when it concerns money or people.
Reframe Your Decision
Too often we frame our decision as a yes-or-no, or as a ‘should I do this or that’. The reality is that we have way more options, but by framing the decision so narrowly we take those out of the consideration.
Let’s say you have a volunteer who has offered to take on a role in the youth ministry, but you have some doubts whether or not he’s suitable. If you frame your decision as a yes/no (“should I let him become a small group leader or not”), you only have two options. But if you frame your decision as ‘What could I do to make sure he is indeed suitable before I place him in the position of small group leader?’, you’ve just created tons more options.
These two powerful strategies can help you make better decisions. If decision-making is something you want to grow in, check out a book called Decisive, written by Chip and Dan Heath (you may know them from the book Made to Stick, one of the best books I have ever read). In this book they show you multiple simple yet powerful ways to improve your decision-making.