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How Leaders Make Powerful Decisions in 4 Easy Steps

Aug 21, 2019

“Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.”

                                                                                             - Michael Jordan

Decisions, decisions, decisions…….. Scientists estimate that we make approximately 35,000 different decisions each day.  These range from what we will eat for breakfast and what clothes we will wear to life-alterting choices in our businesses, relationships and our health and well-being.  

According to the Forbes Magazine article, Eight Essential Qualities That Define Great Leadership,  decisiveness or the ability to make empowered decisions ranks as the #5 attribute of a great leader saying,  “A good leader isn’t simply empowered to make decisions due to their position. They are willing to take on the risk of decision making. They make these decisions and take risks knowing that if things don’t work out, they’ll need to hold themselves accountable first and foremost.”

I know I can oftentimes find myself in “analysis paralysis” as I weigh in my mind what is the best decision to make in a situation.  However, I have also found that once I make that decision based on the best information and feelings within my heart that I have available, and fully embrace it, forces I didn’t even know were available begin to come into my life to support me.  It was not that I necessarily made the “right” decision, but that I embraced my decision with my whole heart and mind.  Or as William Hutchison Murray so famously said, “

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy……….the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way………Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness (decisiveness) has genius, power, and magic in it!”

I am reminded of a time early in my martial arts business career when this very idea transformed me and my business.  It was a few months after I had opened my school, having left my “secure” corporate job only weeks before.  It was coming towards the end of the month and I was worried (albeit, unnecessarily) about how the month would finish and if I would be able to meet expenses. 

I was standing in my office, looking through the plexiglass window I had installed to observe the training floor and watched three young students warming up for the upcoming class.  While they were happily moving their bodies, preparing for the class ahead, I was inside my office with my knees literally shaking as I fantasized about all of the peril that awaited me if I did not make my monthly revenue number.

Then it hit me.  These kids’ parents had enrolled their children in my program for me to teach them confidence, empowerment and the courage to move through obstacles and here I was, hiding in my office, feeling completely disempowered while in the grips of my own irrational fantasy of fear. 

It was then that I made a decision.  While there were only three students on the mat, I decided that I was going to teach that class as if there were twenty students waiting for me to teach them.  I also decided that going forward, I would teach each future class at my school, with the same confidence and energy as if there were 20 students on the mat.  Three, five, ten students, it didn’t matter.  Each class was going to experience me as the empowered instructor and business owner I had decided to be.

Well, wouldn’t you know it?  Within a year, our student body had grown beyond my wildest dreams with over 200 students training at our center (the average martial arts school in the U.S. at that time had only 80 students).  Within 5 years, we were blessed to have grown to having 500 active members.  It all started with a decision.

This week, I challenge all of us to take a closer look at our lives and our careers and see how these four aspects of empowered decision making can positively impact us and those we choose to serve.


  • Pre-commit to your Decisions – I have found the best way to follow through with something I have decided to embark upon is to pre-commit. This means deciding to do it beforehand and then putting all the things in place to make the decision easy to take action upon.  For instance, if you have decided that tomorrow you will be getting up early for a morning run, set the alarm early and have your running shoes and exercise clothes already at the foot of your bed.  When the alarm wakes you, the decision has already been made to take action with your clothes and shoes already in place to put on and get out the door.  Compare this to how we often make that decision of “do I run or not run” while in the comfortable embrace of your down comforter and cushy mattress and pillows.  Pre-decide what your actions will be, set your support systems up beforehand and then take action.
  • Trust your Decisions – When you make a decision, trust it and keep moving forward. If over time, things eventually are not working out, you can always stop and objectively look at whether or not course corrections are necessary.  However, when you are in the moment taking actions on your decisions, BE THERE.  I once had one of my teachers say to me, “100% is easy, 99% is a bitch.” When we allow even a 1% “wobble” to enter our consciousness, we allow our energy to leak and we become disempowered.  Trust that you are capable of making correct decisions and taking appropriate actions that powerfully move you forward while remaining steadfast in the present moment.  As my good friend, Theresa Byrne often says, “The kryptonite to any super-hero is doubt.” Be your own super-hero and trust your decision-making powers and decisive actions will bring forth the impact you desire to make.
  • Celebrate your Decisions – We are often moving at such a fast rate and so focused on what the next challenge ahead of us is that we do not take time to celebrate our successes once we reach our goals. Taking time to reflect upon our “wins”, not only in the actions we took, but the decisions we made to get us there is a very important part of the process.  When we reflect on how our decisions brought us the success we desired (or even better) it can bring us confidence in our decision-making skills and further empower us when the next challenge or desired goal presents itself. 
  • Forgive your Decisions – We have all made decisions that have not worked out the way we want them to. We have all decided on a course of action we felt confident would bring us our desired result only to have it “crash and burn”.  The first thing to when this happens is to realize you made the best decision you could, given the information you had at the time.  I don’t think any of us intentionally makes “wrong” decisions.  We may be more prone to negativity, fear or worry when making a decision, but I do not believe we enter into any endeavor hoping that it will fail.  Although you may not be able to see it at the time, there are “gifts” in any situation that may not turn out the way you wanted.  The leaving of a job to another may not have turned out the way you wanted, the business deal may have failed, or the relationship was a repeat of your previous ones.  That being said, it is vitally important to let go and forgive ourselves for the decisions we’ve made and the results we’ve experienced.  There are nuggets of truth and healing in every situation, it is our responsibility to let go of our judgments so we can truly identify and embrace those gifts. 

So, there you have it, friends.  What decisions will you make this week and what empowered actions are you willing to take to make those intentions a reality? 

Who knows, the decision you’ve been putting off, may be the exact one that gets you precisely where you want to go or need to be.  Remember, you don’t need to be great to start, you just have to start to be great.  Are you ready to decide?


Chris Natzke

Black Belt Leadership Speaking & Coaching

PS:  As a special thank you to my loyal readers, I am making available a special discount offer on my new online home study course, Mind of a Champion: 8 Weeks to Creating a Life of Power, Passion and Purpose.  Use discount code “MOC-INTRO” through Saturday, 8/31, 2019 to receive 50% off the purchase price of this program.  The first 10 people to enroll will receive a signed copy of my book, Black Belt Leadership!


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