african american man wondering how to be decisive


Have you ever noticed how some people seem to effortlessly achieve high performance in their personal, athletic and professional lives? 

They seem to have a knack for making quick and effective decisions that propel them forward. 

What you’re seeing is the power of decisiveness in action! 

In this article, we’ll explore what decisiveness is, its main characteristics, and how it can help you reach new heights of high performance. 

Then we’ll dive into some practical strategies to become more decisive and how to make informed decisions that boost overall performance while minimizing risk.

What is Decisiveness?

Decisiveness, simply put, is the ability to make firm and prompt choices when confronted with various options or challenges. 

It’s about having the confidence and conviction needed to select the best course of action without getting bogged down by overthinking.

Decisiveness is what you look for in a leader or captain guiding a team through adversity towards their desired goal. 

It plays a crucial role in shaping the outcomes of our efforts.

At its core, decisiveness is not about making snap judgments or being reckless. 

Rather, it’s about weighing the available information, understanding the implications of each choice, and taking appropriate action in a timely manner. 

Decisive individuals are adept at balancing rationality with intuition, enabling them to make well-informed choices even in uncertain or confusing situations.

the word confidence spelled out in wooden cubes

Characteristics of Decisiveness

Confidence is a hallmark of decisiveness. 

Those who possess this trait radiate assurance in their abilities and judgments. 

They have unwavering trust in their capacity to make the right choices, underpinned by their self-assurance in their skills and knowledge. 

This aura of confidence is magnetic, inspiring trust in others. 

People are naturally inclined to follow a leader who showcases decisiveness, knowing that such a leader is resolute and capable.

Decisiveness is closely tied to clarity of thought. 

Individuals who are decisive can swiftly dissect situations, meticulously weighing the advantages and disadvantages. 

This analytical ability empowers them to chart the most fitting course of action. 

Their clarity of mind allows them to cut through complexities, revealing the most effective solutions with precision.

Maintaining composure in the face of uncertainty  is another trait associated with decisiveness. 

Even in the face of ambiguity, decisive individuals remain steady and level-headed. 

They don’t let emotions cloud their judgment, relying instead on rational thinking. 

This emotional intelligence equips them to make objective decisions, even in high-pressure scenarios where tension runs high.

Taking ownership of decisions is a hallmark of decisiveness. 

Decisive individuals accept accountability for their choices, acknowledging that outcomes might not always align with their intentions. 

They willingly confront consequences, learning lessons from both favorable and unfavorable outcomes. 

This sense of ownership fosters a culture of continual improvement and personal growth.

Decisiveness doesn’t imply inflexibility, but rather benefits from adaptability

Successful individuals who practice decisiveness can modify their decisions when new information or circumstances emerge. 

They remain open to feedback and adjust their approach as needed, ensuring that their choices remain relevant and effective.

Participating in high-achieving communities, such as our Success Stories Membership, can significantly bolster one’s sense of accountability. 

Such connections provide an environment that nurtures ownership and responsibility for one’s actions, further cultivating the characteristics associated with decisiveness.

In short, decisiveness is characterized by confidence, clarity, composure, accountability, and adaptability. 

These traits collectively define individuals who make choices confidently, navigate complexity effectively, and assume responsibility for their decisions. 

Decisive individuals are not rigid; instead, they are eager for new information and feedback, consistently seeking to align their choices with evolving circumstances.

Ways Decisiveness Helps with High Performance

Indecision often results in wasted time and missed opportunities. 

Decisiveness, on the other hand, enables individuals to rapidly assess situations, make choices, and allocate their time and resources more efficiently. 

This leads to heightened productivity as they steer clear of prolonged analysis and focus on promptly executing tasks to achieve goals.

Risks are an inherent part of business, sports, and life. 

Decisiveness empowers individuals to swiftly evaluate risks, strategize effectively, and take calculated chances. 

This approach can yield substantial rewards and progress. 

Those skilled in decisiveness meticulously weigh potential risks and rewards, enabling them to make informed decisions that carry a greater likelihood of success.

People who possess decisiveness establish precise goals and construct actionable plans to attain them. 

They remain unwaveringly committed to their objectives, steering clear of distractions and indecision. 

This resolute dedication ensures they stay on course and resiliently navigate challenges.

Decisiveness is especially pivotal in leadership roles, fostering confidence among team members. 

Leaders capable of making clear decisions inspire trust and respect, creating a positive and productive work environment. 

Trust forms the foundation of effective teamwork, and leaders who exhibit decisiveness are better equipped to steer their teams toward success.

Overthinking and hesitation can give rise to unnecessary stress and anxiety. 

Decisiveness plays a significant role in alleviating these experiences, allowing individuals to concentrate on immediate tasks and excel in performance. 

By distancing from doubt and uncertainty, individuals maintain a healthier work-life balance and are more adept at handling demanding situations.

four people strategizing at a table and making plans

Strategies to Increase Your Decisiveness

  1. Embrace Your Values 

Understanding your core values and principles can provide a strong foundation for decision-making. 

When faced with choices, align them with your values, which will make decisions more straightforward and authentic. 

Individuals demonstrate decisiveness when they are guided by their principles, ensuring their choices are consistent with their long-term vision.

  1. Set Decision Deadlines

Give yourself a reasonable time frame to make a choice. 

Avoid procrastinating and falling into the trap of endless deliberation. 

This deadline will help you focus on gathering essential information and make a final call. 

By setting deadlines, you avoid getting stuck in overthinking and gain the ability to take action.

  1. Practice Decision-Making

Like any skill, decisiveness improves with practice. 

Start with small decisions and gradually work your way up to more significant choices. 

As you gain confidence, you’ll find it easier to tackle more complex situations. 

Practicing decisiveness builds your decision-making muscle and helps you trust your judgment.

  1. Seek Feedback and Input

Ask for advice from trusted friends, mentors, coaches, or colleagues. 

Engaging in discussions and considering different perspectives can provide valuable insights to aid your decision-making process. 

By seeking feedback, you gain a broader perspective and avoid potential blind spots.

  1. Learn from Past Decisions

Reflect on your past decisions, both successful and unsuccessful ones. 

Analyze the outcomes and identify patterns or factors that contributed to their results. 

Use this knowledge to inform future choices. 

By learning from past experiences, you equip yourself with valuable lessons to make better decisions moving forward.

Strategies for Informed Decisions that Boost Performance

Visualize Outcomes: Envision the potential outcomes of each decision you’re considering. 

Picture the best-case scenario as well as the worst-case scenario. 

This exercise can help you weigh the risks and rewards more effectively. 

Visualization helps you mentally prepare for potential outcomes, reducing the fear of the unknown.

Create Contingency Plans: For significant decisions, it’s prudent to develop contingency plans. 

Anticipate potential roadblocks or challenges and strategize how you’ll navigate through them. 

Contingency planning ensures that you’re prepared for unexpected outcomes and increases your resilience in the face of adversity.

Learn from Failure: Embrace failures as learning opportunities. 

If a decision leads to an unfavorable outcome, use it as a chance to understand what went wrong and adapt your approach for future decisions.

Trust Your Intuition: Decisiveness doesn’t solely rely on logic and data. It also involves tapping into your intuition. 

If your instincts guide you towards a particular option, carefully evaluate why that might be the case. If your intuition aligns with your research and expertise, it can provide valuable guidance.

Mental Skills Training and Psychological Support: Mental skills training and psychological support can play a crucial role in helping athletes (and other high-performers) make informed decisions during high-pressure situations. 

Techniques such as visualization, goal-setting, and self-talk can help performers develop mental clarity and focus, build confidence, and maintain composure under pressure. 

Sport psychologists help athletes cope with performance anxiety, stress and setbacks by developing psychological flexibility so they can manage emotions and maintain a strong mental state during competitions. 

A well-prepared and mentally resilient athlete is more likely to make effective decisions and deliver peak performances.

man with backpack jumping off a cliff

How do you use decisiveness to maximize performance while minimizing risk?

Thorough research, consideration of past experiences, and seeking input from experts are essential when making informed decisions. 

Establishing clear decision-making criteria aligned with long-term goals and evaluating potential risks against rewards are crucial steps. 

Scenario analysis (i.e., imagining the various potential consequences of each decision to be made) and starting with low-stakes decisions build confidence and allow for incremental progress. 

Embracing intuition, backed by research and expertise, complements the decision-making process. 

Pilot projects help assess viability, and contingency plans provide preparedness for unexpected challenges. 

Learning from failures fosters continuous improvement, and constant monitoring allows for necessary adjustments. 

By implementing these strategies, individuals can leverage decisiveness to achieve high performance while minimizing undue risk on their path to success.


Congratulations! You now have what you need to unlock the power of decisiveness and its significant role in reaching high performance. 

By understanding what decisiveness entails and embracing its main characteristics, you can make confident and efficient choices in your personal, athletic, and professional lives. 

Also, implementing strategies to increase your decisiveness will not only enhance your decision-making abilities but also contribute to a more productive and fulfilling journey. 

And it doesn’t stop after a decision has been made!

Be sure to continually monitor the progress and impact of your decisions. 

Be open to adjusting your course if necessary based on new information or changing circumstances.

In this way you will continue to grow in your decisiveness en route to success!

And for additional support, I invite you to join us inside Success Stories Membership, an online community of high-achievers just like you, overcoming their obstacles to excellence and reaching their potential.