6 Reasons Decision-Making Feels Like Swallowing Porcupines

A coaching client recently said, “I don’t like making decisions.” This statement is like saying, ” I don’t like breathing.” A person who isn’t making decisions is dead.

Getting out of bed is a decision. Working-out is a decision. Showing up at work is a decision. Eating cake, or not, is a decision.

Everyone is a decision-maker.


Find a purpose that enables you to overcome discomfort.

Thank goodness we don’t notice most of the daily decisions we make. Every key I hit while typing this post is a decision that is both thoughtful and thoughtless.

Some decisions are like patting puppies but others are like swallowing porcupines. When you say you don’t like making decisions, you mean you don’t like certain aspects of decision-making.

6 reasons decision-making feels like swallowing porcupines:

#1. Approval and decision-making:

Private decisions aren’t scrutinized like public. Maybe you don’t like decisions because you need people’s approval.

#2. Certainty and decision-making:

Perhaps you set the bar of certainty unrealistically high. You’re paralyzed until you feel 100% certain. 70% certainty is typically enough.

#3. Consequences and decision-making:

Heavy consequences always make decisions confusing and stressful. Catastrophizing is paralyzing.

#4. Experience and decision-making:

Decisions you make frequently are easier than deciding to get married, buy a house, or change jobs.

You can’t sleep for a week the first time you terminate an employee. After years of experience, you can’t sleep the night before.

Find a purpose that enables you to overcome discomfort.

#5. Narrowing and decision-making:

The only decision that doesn’t eliminate options is the decision to create options.

The narrowing process always follows the creation process.

#6. Responsibility and decision-making:

Maybe it’s easier to take the heat for the wrong decision that someone else made. Reflect on the responsibility you create for yourself with the decisions you currently make.

What’s hard about decision-making?

What’s essential about good decision-making?