how to make the right decision

5 Ways to Make the Right Decision

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Image Credit: John Amis, Associated Press

Imagine this scenario: You’re the head coach of a major college football program. Your team hasn’t beaten a particular rival in seven years. You’re playing them in their house and your team is down by three in the final seconds of the game. The ball is on the 23-yard line, well within the kicker’s comfort zone to tie the game and send it into overtime. There’s time left for one final play and you hear one of your assistant coaches say, “Make the call, Coach.” What would you do?

That’s the decision that Mark Richt, coach of the Miami Hurricanes, faced in 2017. He talks about it in his book, Make the Call. Richt made the risky decision to go for the endzone, a decision that paid off. Over the course of a 33-year career, he’s made a lot of quick calls, many good ones and some not-so-good ones. In his book, he tells his story and dives into the question of how to make the right call. Like Richt, dads have to make a lot of decisions and those decisions impact their families. When the time comes, we need to know how to make the right decision. Here are 5 ways to make sure.

1. Remember the big picture.

Before he was a coach, Mark Richt’s desire was to play in the NFL. Along the way, he made decisions that would help get him there, but he faced one “failure” after another. From being a backup quarterback to Jim Kelly at the University of Miami to not being drafted to being a backup to John Elway on the Broncos for a short time before being released. However, as he looks back, Richt believes God was preparing him all along to be a coach. The decisions he made may have seemed like failures, but they were leading him in a direction that would become his life’s work. Are you making decisions that align with your talents and passions? If God does have a plan for you, what do you think it is?

2. Practice humility.

Humility is the only path to true greatness.

Nothing will blind your ability to make good decisions like pride. In 1988, the Florida State Seminoles were ranked number one in the nation in the pre-season. That’s before a single game was played. It led to overconfidence and in their first game against the defending champion, the Miami Hurricanes, they were brought down to earth in a 31-0 drubbing. They were blinded to the fact that until you go out and do it on the field, a number one ranking doesn’t mean anything. Practicing humility gives a person a clearer understanding of reality, which leads to better decisions. As Coach Richt explains in Make the Call, humility is the only path to true greatness.

3. Stay sharp.

One of the reasons Florida State got beaten by Miami so badly in the opening game in 1988 was their lack of preparation. Miami surprised them with a new defense and they were not prepared to spontaneously change their plays. Bottom line, they weren’t sharp enough. When faced with tough situations or even daily problems, don’t take the easy way out. Think critically about it. Take a look at it from different points of view and make sure you have all the information. Don’t just talk to people who agree with you. Talk to people who will challenge you. If you want to make good decisions, you need to keep your mind sharp.

4. Weigh the consequences.

When he made the daring decision to go for it on the final play of the game in 2017, Coach Richt weighed the consequences. In his words, you have to decide what you can live with and what you can live without. If your decision doesn’t work out, can you live with the results? If that answer is no, then don’t do it. However, if you can handle the results of failure, then go for it. But you have to consider the consequences of your decisions honestly and clearly.

5. Be willing to change.

On several occasions in Richt’s career, he had made a decision to go a certain direction and at the last moment changed his mind. He didn’t feel like it was the right decision, so he corrected it. We make a lot of decisions in our lives and plenty of them are going to be bad, even when we have the best of intentions. Sometimes we misinterpret situations or we lack a vital piece of information. The best thing we can do is reverse course. Doubling down on a bad decision is just another bad decision.

Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Make Good Decisions.

Sound off: What is the biggest decision you have ever made? What was the result?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is a decision you made that worked out well? What went into making that decision?”