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Decision Remorse – A Legitimate Emotion After Major Changes

Have you heard of “buyer’s remorse”? I’ve learned there’s such a thing as “decision remorse”. It impacts every leader.

For example, I was once working with a young leader. He made a major decision for his organization, only after he had prayed about it, consulted wise counsel and acted methodically. In fact, I had personally walked with him through the process of change management and was impressed with how he handled things. Therefore, I felt he had made a good decision for the organization.

The decision was made. He communicated it to key leaders. The steps were in place to move forward.

Then decision remorse sank in for this leader. 

It was a big decision – perhaps the biggest change he had ever made as a leader. This decision would alter things for years to come. Furthermore, people would be greatly impacted by this decision.

As these realities flooded his emotions, his mind started to play tricks with him. He questioned himself.

What if I made the wrong decision?
What if there was a better decision.
What if I was wrong?

He began to panic.

I was glad we were still talking at this point in the process, as I was able to share with him a principle I learned years ago in leadership.

Sometimes we suffer from decision remorse.

Just like buyer’s remorse – what happens when you buy something and then temporarily wish you hadn’t – leaders often suffer from decision remorse. It doesn’t mean you made an unwise purchase. But you have less money now, and that can always impact your emotions. With every major decision in life or leadership, decision remorse is a possibility.

It’s a temporary setback. A momentary lapse in assurance develops. The reality of having made the decision causes you question it. It can be natural to question yourself at this point. You’ve invested a lot of energy on a major decision and now you are faced with making it happen.

My words to him was to trust the process. Trust his instinct and the system of decision-making he used, which was a good, intentional and thoughtful process.

My word for you as a leader:

Don’t allow decision remorse to keep you from celebrating the joy of what’s to come.

This doesn’t mean you don’t evaluate. It doesn’t mean you won’t make bad decisions. But, if you strategically and methodically made the decision, now is the time to implement. Don’t look back.

Check out my leadership podcast where we discuss leadership nuggets in a practical way. Plus, check out the other Lifeway Leadership Podcasts.

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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