Stuck with a Choice Between Bad and Worse?

How to Make a Choice Between Bad and Worse

Whatever you call it – the lesser of two evils, best of the worst, the least bad option – you’ve found yourself at a crossroads and have to make a choice between two things you don’t love.

The workday is full of these moments (big and small) and as a leader, your team (and your boss) is looking to you to choose a direction and move forward.

But what if you look both ways and certain doom (or at least significant discomfort) is the outcome no matter what you do? Don’t worry! Here are some ideas…

1. LOOK FOR THE THIRD (or fourth, or fifth) OPTION

“Wait, what? I said there were only two choices (bad and worse) where’s this Door #3?”

Right in front of you! (Really, it is!)

Often times we see decisions as binary operations – here or there, this or that, now or later – but the truth is, there are a lot of options in between extremes when we’re making choices in our daily lives.

Whether or not you can see them depends on your perspective. Shift that and you open up the possibility of making a choice that doesn’t feel so awful.

Ways you might find other options:

  • Seek outside counsel. Confidants who think differently from you or are outside the situation can inspire additional choices you haven’t considered.
  • Consider micro-steps. You might be trying to accomplish too much with one decision. Maybe there’s a smaller step you can take that gives you more flexibility.

2. REFRAME YOUR OPTIONS TO SEE THE OTHER SIDE

What if, after looking for more options, you are still down to ones you don’t love? Try reframing.

There’s always more than one way to view each choice. Instead of looking at them as “bad” and “worse,” what would happen if you looked at the positive side of each?

Perhaps neither is PERFECT, but what if one actually gets you just a smidge closer to your end game? Reviewing your choices in the context of a larger goal can help you feel better about what to do.

Ways you can reframe your options:

  • Consider the end game. What is the long-term result you’re hoping for and which choice gets you closer to it?
  • Check in with your gut. What is your intuition saying about the choices you’re considering?

3. LET GO AND TAKE ACTION

If you’ve done all you can do to create more options for yourself and see how the ones presented can help you achieve your larger goal and you STILL are afflicted by analysis paralysis…

JUST DO SOMETHING!!

You’re a smart, successful, accomplished manager – you’ve come this far. Have the confidence to know that, whatever happens after you make a choice, you’ll figure it out.

You’ll learn and grow with each tough decision and you just might surprise yourself along the way.

Ways you can help yourself to let go and take action:

  • Progress not perfection. There will never be the perfect choice, so just do the best you can with the information you have.
  • Whatever happens, you’ll figure it out. Trust that the talents that got you here will help you move forward, no matter what.

You won’t always know where you’re going or where you’ll end up, but just take a deep breath and take a step!

Think about the last time you had to make one of these choices? How did you arrive at a decision? How long did it take you?

I help clients take the guess work out of decision-making (no more finger crossing and hoping for the best) and take action with confidence.

Learn more about how a coaching relationship with me can help!