Decide Now: How Pre-Decisions Can Bring You a More Intentional 2022

We often agonize over non-critical decisions. Deciding what kind of car to buy is probably not going to have a big impact on your career. Deciding how to cut your hair isn’t going to impact your most important relationships. We think long and hard about material decisions.

Yet when it comes to behavioral decisions, which are more critical, we just react.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Life ebbs and flows, and to some degree, we can predict what challenges are on the horizon. And we don’t have to wait for them to materialize to start thinking about how we might respond.

A leader I really admire, Kurtis Kammerer, a Senior Director for long-time client Supportworks, coined this ‘the pre-decision.’ It’s a strategy he first started using at home, with his son.

He says, “I want my teenage son to start thinking of himself as a man who makes strong confident decisions, so I asked him, what kind of man are you? How would you describe yourself? He described himself as an honest person, with high character and strong values. I said OK, great. Based on who you are, let’s talk about what kind of decisions you want to make.

We can predict what’s going to happen. We know you’re going to have someone offer you drugs. You’re going to be with a young lady that you’re very excited about. You’re going to be in a situation where people are mistreating someone. We know in advance that all those things are going to happen. Let’s decide now how you want to handle it, and write it down. So you will have already made the decision based on who you are.”

Making ‘pre-decisions’ is a technique Kammerer uses with his team of salespeople working in the foundation repair industry. He asks them, early in their days with Supportworks, “We already know what’s going to happen. You’re going to drive up to a house that looks terrible. You are going to be at the end of the month, and you’re not making your number. How are you going to respond?”

Of course, this life is full of surprises. I, for one, would not have imagined we would be entering the third calendar year of a pandemic, but here we are. Yet, some timeless qualms of human nature will still prevail (albeit, potentially over Zoom).

Think about who you are and the values you pride yourself on. Here are five timeless decisions you can make now:

  • You’ll fail at work. Either in a small way or a big way. Based on your values, what are you going to do in that moment?
  • You’re also going to have a win at work. Perhaps it’s a big new idea or just helping your boss out during a challenging time. When it happens, will you deflect or minimize it? Or will you own it with gratitude?
  • A friend or family member is going to need your support. It’s probably not going to happen at a time that’s particularly convenient. Think about who you are. How will you respond to them?
  • There will, inevitably, be a change thrust upon you. What values do you want to hold close when it happens? How will you handle surprises?
  •  Someone you care about will hurt your feelings. Probably on accident, but maybe on purpose. What are you going to do? Which of your values will you bring to the fore?

The pre-decision, as Kammerer calls it, gives you a tool for making decisions as your best self, so when the worst day happens, you’ve already decided how you want to react.

Reflect on the life your best self wants to live in 2022. With that in mind, decide now, what are you going to do?