As a certainty-driven kind of girl, I’ve always admired people who are totally comfortable taking running, uninhibited leaps off the edges of (metaphorical) cliffs, excited to throw themselves into the deep waters of the unknown—new businesses, new relationships, new countries.
My decision-making process has always been a little more, um, involved. While person after person streaked by me, wide-eyed and excited to do something new, I needed to make lists, seek counsel, and mull it over for days before I sprung into any kind of action.
Sound familiar? If so, you know the frustration of trying to balance the go, go, go-ness of our society with the wait, wait, wait of your brain. But after years of mentally bashing my careful, calculated decision-making process, I realized something important: I was doing something right.
So, for my friends peering over the edge of the cliff, waiting to see how all of those risk-taking maniacs are hitting the water, here are three reasons to celebrate—and keep doing!—exactly what you’re doing.
1. You Make Better Decisions for You
One thing that’s as important for you, as a person, as it is for a business? Authenticity.
In your personal life, there’s arguably nothing harder than figuring out who you are and being brave enough to be that person.
From a business perspective, we know that the most successful brands are the ones that have awesome products, but that also have awesome, authentic voices. As entrepreneur Marc Ecko recently said, “your brand is not the game of perception. It's not what you parrot to. Your brand is on what is on the inside, it's like guts to the skin thing.”
When you’re struggling to find your path, it’s easy to plummet face-first off that cliff into someone else’s dream business model, dream marriage, dream job. But by taking time to observe and figure out what you like, what you don’t like, what feels right, and what feels just plain ol’ creepy, you’re likely to end up making decisions that are most in line with what you actually want to do and say, and who you actually want to be.
2. You Produce Top-Notch Work
While the internet may be totally fine with occasional punctuation and grammar gaffes, your boss probably isn’t. The good thing about being a look-before-you-leaper? You’re likely also a triple-checker. Chances are your press releases are spell-checked 10 times, your pitches are drafted to perfection, and your social media plans have been edited and re-edited to cover any and every eventuality for your Twitter platform. It might take you an extra day to get all the work in, but anyone receiving it knows it’s going to be consistent and awesome once it is.
3. You’re Prepared
For people who tend to observe before springing into action, you’re usually trying to answer two important questions while you wait: How have others done it and failed? And how have others done it and succeeded?
Why? Because you like to be prepared. You like to know—and before comfortable with—how you’re going to do things, why you’re going to do them, and what the end result should look like. Most importantly, you want to fully understand what could go wrong—and have a plan in place for each risk you identify.
So, yes, all of this information-gathering can definitely slow you down. But if your friends all get locked out of the house, guess who has keys? When it comes to starting a business, guess who has the plan of the century to support it—and some money tucked away to get it off the ground? If someone gets sick on an airplane over the Atlantic, who packed every medicine they could carry out of CVS? You did.
Of course, it is possible, in some instances, to look too long. If you find it’s taking you a long time to take action, check in with why. What’s your gut telling you? If you’re seeing red flags, re-evaluate the decision you’re trying to make. It may be that, after weighing the pros and cons, it’s not right for you anymore. It may also be that you’re just experiencing some pre-action jitters. In which case, call one of your cliff-jumping friends. They’ll know what to do.