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Being impulsive creates false starts..or worse.
Being impulsive creates false starts..or worse.

“Oh crap! I missed something important.” Yeah, that’s what often happens after impulsive actions. Personally, I am very familiar with the sinking feeling that happens after I succumb to the urge to decide on something too quickly and move forward without taking the time or having the patience to fully investigate a decision before I make it. I can think of two software purchasing decisions (quite hefty investments) that I regretted later, because it wasn’t the right software for a startup and had way too many features to be viable for a small team that is very busy. Worse, it was so complicated, we had to abandon both of these purchases at great cost financially. Even more importantly, it cost my team a lot of effort in terms of rework. Actually that’s the worst part. If a leader does that too many times, the team can get very frustrated about having to start over on the same body of work more than once. There’s nothing I hate worse than asking them to do this, especially now that I’ve become aware that I’m Tilting into Impact again this year. That pattern of behaviors is great when it’s time to rapidly apply creative ideas, which is where we are, but you have to watch our for the dreaded stress reaction of impulsivity while you are in this mode.

Avoiding rework.

Here’s what I’m working on this year to be more watchful of the temptation to decide too quickly. This is the antidote I often give to anyone who operates from the Impact personality pattern a lot. Here it is: SLOW DOWN just 5 percent, then watch good things begin to unfold. Here’s the plan: When you feel the urge to take action, notice it, take a couple of deep, long breathes to slow down the sympathetic system which then engages the para-sympathetic system. Then choose to do two things instead of move forward. First, choose to wait a certain length of time before you make a decision or purchase. It might be 24 hours just to see if the impulse is still there the next day. Or on big decisions, it might be a week to give yourself time to investigate deeper or delegate some research to someone else who has better Clarity Tilting skills. Then, when you do decide it will be a much more conscious decision that is mindful instead of potentially disastrous or costly.

One fun idea.

I started doing this with internet shopping a year or so ago and it’s worked wonders. We recently moved and noticed we had a lot of STUFF that collected in our home. We marveled at all the junk we had spent good money on over the years. A lot of it was now something we’d call junk. After this experience, we made a conscious decision to really THINK carefully before adding anything to our household so it stays clutter free, the way we love it. Here’s what I do to help. When I start looking for something I think we need on the internet, first I find what I think I want and put it in the shopping cart under my profile. Then I let it sit there for a week as a new habit. Lo and behold, I started finding out that companies send you emails to remind you about what you’ve left in your cart so I didn’t have to worry it would disappear forever. And not only that, they send you coupons to get you to buy them! So, the bonus is that if I still want it a week later after pondering on it, I get it for less! This sets up a natural reward system for waiting, so my brain is learning that waiting is good. The bonus has been that I sometimes STILL don’t want that thing around my clutter-free house, so I am making progress with this nasty habit of impulsivity. YAY, that gives me a boost in my happy chemicals in my brain!

If you tend to be quick and speedy, this post is for you! If not, you can chuckle and send this to someone who is. Especially if they are cluttering up your house or making you do rework at the office.

Pam Boney, Founder tilt365.com