Invisible Factors

6 min readNov 28, 2017

Decision-making and the Dark Matter of Knowing

As a leader, you know sometimes decision-making can be difficult. The reason making decisions can be difficult is because very often, we know there’s a logical, rational way we’re supposed to approach a choice, a way that can be diagrammed and outlined with absolute logic.

And then there are those moments when we make a decision based purely on gut instinct.

Let me tell you about my daughter and me.

For about three years, my daughter didn’t speak to me. Now, as you can imagine that was a pretty difficult time. You don’t need the details other than to know that she has asked me for something that I couldn’t say “yes” to. I do need to share that saying “no” was extremely difficult for me. I battled internally, because on the surface the logical response was to agree. After all, this is my daughter. I love her. I wanted her in my life. I wanted to be there for her. I wanted things to be good between us. But, instinctively at that gut level, I knew I had to say no.

The result was that my daughter was really hurt and for reasons that made perfect sense to her at the time, she cut me out of her life and didn’t speak to me for three whole years. During those years I spent a lot of time and a lot of energy in self-doubt, wondering if I’d made a mistake in following my gut. I asked myself over and over if I had made the right decision. Now perhaps you would have made a different decision; however, saying “no” to my beloved daughter was the one I felt I had to make and therefore I would have to live with the consequences of the decision. (Just so you know, the main reason people are terrible at making decisions is because they have to live with the consequences of their decisions. I can tell you that I doubted my decision every single day and sometimes I felt like the consequences of that decision were almost unbearable.)

Now think about a time (it could be right now) when your company/organization was doing really well and things were going great. Now I’m going to assume that you are a leader, and as a leader, you’d kind of like to take credit for your outstanding organization and team’s results. However, if you are completely honest, you may admit the mantle for the company’s success doesn’t rest on your shoulders alone. In…




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