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Good Decision Making: Trust Yourself

Trust yourselfWhen I was in college I wrote a paper making the case that most of the decisions we make are based on fear. My professor told me that I wouldn’t want the grade she’d put on the paper and told me to rewrite it. Many years later, I still believe the premise of what I wrote.

We often make decisions based on fear of what will and won’t happen.

Is that a good decision? What will happen if I say or do that? Will I get in trouble? Will I get what I want, or will there be negative consequences? Will we make or lose money? What impression will that decision make on other people?

Fear is pervasive. It hides in our brain and guides our decision making, without us even being aware of its presence.

I’ll never forget driving up to an ATM machine with one of my closest friends from high school. We were 30 at the time, long past high school, and were in a very quiet and safe  neighborhood. And yet my friend told me not to go to the ATM machine after dark because it wasn’t safe.

Says who? A long time ago, someone told her that it wasn’t safe to go to an ATM machine at night. And she believed that she’d be robbed at night, at any ATM machine, anywhere, throughout her adult life. Not a rationale fear.

Who is running the show, you or your past?

You know what’s best for you. When you quiet the noise in your head and listen, you know what to do. Trust yourself.

Trust yourselfTap into your real desires. When desire overtakes fear, the world will be at your feet. But it can take a lot to even identify that fear is running the show and to know what those desires are.

Many of you know I’ve never been married. I’ve found finding ‘that person’ elusive and challenging. This spring I met someone great. And I did everything in my power to make sure the relationship went nowhere. I put up every barrier, citing reasons from my list of dating criteria of why it would never work. My ‘list’ didn’t let me see the person in front of me. I made decisions about him that weren’t true, because I was afraid. It took weeks before I was willing to make the leap, put aside my fears, and be able to hear what my gut was telling me.

Trust yourself. Not your fear. When fear rears its head, go to a quiet place, literally and figuratively, and ask yourself:

What do I really want? What should I do?  You’ll know. Don’t ask 100 people what you should do. Or do ask other people for advice, but be careful with the answers you get. Underneath all that worry and concern, you know what you want. They key is to listen and be willing to trust yourself.



Shari Harley is the founder and President of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training firm that is bringing candor back to the workplace, making it easier to give feedback at work. Shari is the author of the business communication book How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships that Really Work. She is a keynote speaker at conferences and does training throughout the U.S. Learn more about Shari Harley and Candid Culture’s training programs at

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One Response to “Good Decision Making: Trust Yourself”

  1. Audrey Seidman says:

    Even in college you had the nugget of wisdom (if not the research). Great piece. May your risk taking at work and at home result in much delight.

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