Episode #55: How to Make Decisions: Overcoming Analysis Paralysis

DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. How to Make Decisions: Overcoming Analysis Paralysis.

In today’s episode, we’re having a conversation about analysis paralysis. We’ll finish up the episode with a weekly actionable tip!


Cassy Joy: I want to shed some light on the illusion of perfection in business decisions. Because there actually probably isn’t a perfect answer out there. There’s not a perfect choice. 100% is an illusion. It’s a carrot on the end of the stick that you’re never going to catch. A mirage in the desert. How many analogies can I throw out there? But it’s an illusion.

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Cassy Joy: In today’s episode, we’re having a conversation about analysis paralysis.

Topics:

  1. What’s on my plate [1:05]
  2. Shop Talk: Analysis Paralysis [22:33]
  3. Moving through a decision [29:30]
  4. Diminishing returns and decision fatigue [41:07]
  5. Tip of The Week: Make your decision [51:36]

1.  What’s on my plate [1:05]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives for the week. Cassy, what’s going on over in beautiful San Antonio, Texas?

Cassy Joy: Oh, the kitchen is operational, Diane, and I could dance on the roof. I’m so excited! I literally teared up yesterday. This process has made me; I told Austin this morning. I said; this office; oh my gosh, are you ready for this? I go; this office has definitely given me a solid lesson in believe it when you see it. and I was like; isn’t the opposite of being young. I was like; I feel like I sound like a curmudgeon old adult now! {laughs} I’ll believe it when I see it. which is not my style. I’m definitely one of those that’s like; I don’t know, any minute! It could happen any minute!

It’s just incredible. Our kitchen equipment, for those of y’all who might have missed the memo. It was delivered two months ago, and none of the cabinets were cut correctly. The countertop wasn’t ready. It was a process. And the installers, essentially had their; like, they couldn’t do anything. They couldn’t install anything. They couldn’t really start anything for us, and we just had to wait for other contractors to come in. And because of COVID, and they’re already backed up and getting on their list and schedule, it was a process. To the point where Austin, who is not a carpenter. My husband. Was just like; forget it. I’m going in. I will go fix the cabinets myself.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: And he was here; I mean, he would help me put the girls to bed, and then he would leave our house and come up here to the office and sand, and trim, and cut, and glue, and paint, and splatter, and blah, blah, blah. He’d do it on the weekends. I got a lot of quality time with Grayson and Bishop, but we missed him.

Anyway, long story ended in that they came up yesterday to install. Everyone was like; today’s the day! And I was like; we’ll see. I don’t know.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: Is today the day?

Diane Sanfilippo: So I hear.

Cassy Joy: {laughing} I thought today was the day 7 times over. And it happened. It really happened. He even got the gas line running finally. They installed the stove top. We have a gas stove. We’re on the third floor of an office building. And we’re the first building on this block. And so when I, as the tenant in this building, said; “I need gas for my kitchen.” Little did I know what a process that was. They had to essentially; where we live in San Antonio, the Hill Country area. It’s the Hill Country, and these hills are primarily made of limestone. They are solid {laughs}. If you ever come to our office we might, hopefully, one day, be able to host public gatherings and cooking shows and things like that. You drive up the driveway to the office, and there’s this cliff of cut limestone that you drive through. It’s really cool.

But they also had to cut through that to bring gas to the building. Anyway, so it came to the building, and I thought; we’ll plug in the stove and turn it on! {laughs} And it didn’t turn on because the gas has to now; it’s never been run before. And so it had to come from wherever the splice was, and then go up three floors. But it’s lit. It’s all happening.

Diane Sanfilippo: I was just excited because those burners are shaped like stars! I have never seen anything like that, and I thought it was so cool!

Cassy Joy: It’s so cool. It’s all so cool! I just sat there. My team, I think they were like; is she ok? Because I just stood, stunned in front of the kitchen yesterday. Just staring at it. taking it in. Because I’ve had this pictured in my mind for so long. And it’s still not, done-done-done, but it’s functional now. It’s just a dream come true. It really, really is a dream come true. So that’s exciting.

Honestly, I’m feeling; it’s a little bit of a conversation we’re going to have today is somewhat relevant. But today I’m feeling exhausted. I mean; it was a bit of a bumpy road last night with the baby, but that’s always the case. But I’m exhausted, I think, because I can finally let out this thing I’ve been holding in. Holding my breath for so long, and I can finally relax into it.

I’m sorry if you hear little metal clicking. Those are my overalls. I don’t know how to make them stop. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: So there’s that. And the other big thing that we’re doing right now; honestly, I would have blazed right past it, but Diane was like; I want to chat about this! We, on social media this week and henceforth. So it’s still happening when you’re listening to this. Which we’re recording a couple of weeks in advance. We rolled out our brand-new strategy for Fed and Fit Instagram. And talk about the concept of go slow to go fast. I wanted to make sure we were so intentional and purposeful and polished in what we were bringing out there. Because I separated my personal account from the Fed and Fit account. And I wanted to be able to show our readers there that; hey, we’re still going to bring you more value. It’s going to knock your socks off, how much value we’re going to bring you here in a really meaningful way.

So what we’ve done is we’ve built a content calendar specific for social. And we’re trying to get more into the game of; there was a time where I thought; there’s no such thing as native content. We’re just going to have one piece of content, it’s going to be published on the blog, we’re going to talk about it here; we’re going to talk about it on all the different social media aspects and just all point back to one source. And what I’ve learned recently is that there is a huge value in native content.

And I’ve known this for a long time, that people usually live in one place. They love blogs. They click through all their blogs. They live in email. Or they live on Instagram. Or they live on Facebook.  But it’s important to create content specific for those, and make it seem like this is the whole story. Or this is the unabridged story.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right. Don’t ask them to go to a second location for more.

Cassy Joy: Exactly. If you want more, if this didn’t scratch all the itches or you’re curious for more, here’s additional resources.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right. But make that native content complete in the format that it can be.

Cassy Joy: Exactly.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s not going to be 5,000 words, but it will be; here’s the actual recipe, if that’s what works for you.

Cassy Joy: Yes. Exactly. So that was a part of the intention that went into this new strategy. Anyway. All that to be said, every day of the week we’re doing something that I think is really spectacular and answering the mail on what our readers want, and also what we want to do as a company. And Tuesdays is really exciting, because we’re launching this get to know Tuesdays, where we feature a content creator from our world. From the world of content creators. And the majority of those, because we intersect on recipes so much, are going to be recipe developers. And I just am thrilled to bring and show all of these different voices that can really speak to different cuisines.

We’ve featured Nicole of Heal Me Delicious was our very first feature. And she was born and raised in the Caribbean. And you’ll see that those Caribbean flavors really are infused in all of the recipes that she writes. It’s fabulous. And she writes for autoimmune paleo, which we have a huge need of in our readership. And I know it’s going to be a really nice match. So it’s been great.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that.

Cassy Joy: And what we’re doing with it is it’s not just a; hey, go see Nicole. Go follow her on Instagram. Because what we wanted to do was be really thoughtful with these features, as we do with everything that we do. But make sure that we’re carrying that over here. So we’re conducting an interview with each of these people. First, asking them, of course, if they want to participate. But then we do an interview. And then we publish that Q&A on the website. And the way it’s built around is we want them to be able to tell their story. So what is their why? What is your mission? What’s next for your business? I want to know what are your three pieces of content that you’re the most proud of, so we can provide links to their best of the best. So that our readers can immediately get a taste of their best work.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, love that.

Cassy Joy: And also what ways can we, the Fed and Fit community, support you in the most meaningful way. And that could be one thing, or five things, whatever it is. But we’re going to number them off. So for example, with Nicole, it was follow and engage on Instagram. Sign up for her newsletter. And then go make and review her recipes on her website. So we’re just trying to be very intentional with providing the link to her newsletter, and telling people to go sign up there. Telling people to go follow her on Instagram and engage there, while showing their best content.

I’m just really proud of it. I’m sure that we’re course correct and make adjustments as time goes on. But this just a part of a much longer conversation that we started about 2 months ago by setting our intention as a company. Recognizing, which we’ll talk about, the privilege that Fed and Fit has, especially in terms of reach. But being able to really share that with content creators that are just fabulous, and putting them front and center with our readers.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. And I wanted to talk about this just a little bit, because I had this conversation with you as you were formulating the plan. And it was pretty well formed and it’s kind of what we do. We kind of chit chat with each other before we put the cherry on top of something. we just kind of run things by each other; like, hey. Does this sound; am I missing something here? That’s kind of; we don’t really do the, is this idea good? It’s like, here’s my idea. Here’s what I’m doing. Is there anything I’m missing here? You know? Am I not seeing something?

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So I like that. because we’re kind of the same way. Like, we’re not asking each other for permission. But it’s always like; hey, I respect your opinion, and I know you’ve thought about this. And we always think things through very, very deeply. So you and I had this conversation about just how to structure something like that so that it’s supportive of the person that is being shared. And I have thought about this for a long time, just in general, the way that we share other people’s content. So let me kind of give a little bit of context here.

Very specifically wanting to share other people as content creators in general, that was probably always on your heart. And that’s always on all of our hearts. We always want to share other people. But of course, this grand awakening everyone is having around diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s like; we need to make sure that we are having a diverse representation in who and what we’re sharing. So I had this conversation with you and with someone else recently, just another close colleague with a big platform. The question is always; how do we do that in a way that is authentic and that does not tokenize anyone?

And this is something that I’m learning a lot about, so I don’t have all the answers. But I know that other people listening in their business are curious; how do we do this in a way that’s not just; you’re putting the face of someone other than you on your page who obviously may have a different skin color. And then in this moment, does that feel like you’re just kind of; this is not you. But, is somebody feeling like they’re just using that as a way to say, hey, I’m with you. And it’s literally just a face, and there’s nothing behind it. sometimes people call that virtue signaling, where it’s like you just kind of put up a poster, but then what’s behind it isn’t really depth of action.

So the conversation I know you and I had, and then the conversation I had with another colleague was like; look. It’s not that if, A) your heart is that you are taking action and it might not be action that everybody can see the full depth of today, but you know there’s a plan and more behind it. and B) that it’s serving the other person equally if not more so than you. Because of course, it’s wonderful to be able to share someone else’s content might take the pressure off for a day to not have to put a recipe out that’s our own recipe, or something like that.

But the reality is, to your point about having the platform; you have a platform. And an audience. And that’s amazing. So what a privilege to be able to share that platform with anyone. And then what an advanced privilege to say; I recognize that the white privilege I have is that this platform has not been afforded in this area of social media, specifically. We can see it in a lot of content creators, women of color specifically. It’s mostly women in our world, but some men. And how do we say; let’s share the platform? In a way, to your point, that is what they want.

And I think that’s fair for everyone. Right? I think, as business owners and as people, there becomes this weird tiptoeing. Like; oh, is this ok? Should I do this? And I’m like; what would you do for anyone? {laughs} So what we do for anyone, to be fair, is actually feature them. Actually ask them. What do you want us to share? What is your best content? Not decide for someone, and speak for someone. So in order to put someone else’s best work forward, or what do they want us to do. Whether it’s follow, newsletter, etc. Buy a book, whatnot. I think that is the most generous thing that we can do.

So, the quick note I was going to say is; sometimes I see people in general. And listen; this is kind, and generous, and it’s lovely. But I see people share a screen of 10 content creators they love, and tag them all. I’m like; that’s not going to actually create a positive impact on that person’s account. What you need to do is, at a minimum. And I did this I think last weekend. And even in hindsight, I’m like; I could have done that better. Because I’ll always feel that way. But it’s one slide with one sticker. One button. One tag. You don’t put 10. Because, do you tap on all 10 of those to follow? No. That’s not the behavior that we have.

So if you really want to feature someone, think very deeply and honestly about how other people will engage with that. And if you just shared it as one slide with that person’s handle, and you didn’t take that extra step that you took to do the interview to say; what is your best content? What do you want to tell our audience? How can we support you?

And I think when it is this exchange of a platform, that’s the really valid way to do it. and then taking it a step further with the folks who might have a company. So with Balanced Bites, we don’t have any paid sponsorship at this point. We don’t sponsor anyway; we don’t pay anyone. So it’s always on my heart that I’m like; I want to make sure that we’re treating people fairly. But the bottom line is, it’s not like I’m paying Cassy any money to share about something, and then not paying someone who might be a woman of color. We’re on the ground floor, building this business.

Cassy Joy: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo: So everyone is supporting how they want to support. But, when the day comes that we might have a budget to pay someone, we can look at the numbers of someone’s platform and maybe compare on that. We can’t be paying people differently because of the color of their skin. Point blank. And I actually think that in order to make it equitable, someone who is not white who may have a smaller number of followers; that actually might be a way to; I don’t know if you guys have seen the meme where it’s like; showing the apple box that people are standing on. I might offer someone with fewer followers who is not white the same amount as I offer someone with more followers who is white because of the racism in the platform, and the way that people are shared out on the platform. This is like a whole other conversation. You guys, I think a lot about all of this.

But how much easier was it for a white person to get 100,000 followers versus a person of color? So in order to be equitable, if I do then start to offer payments; yes, of course, the baseline for that would be your numbers are the same, we pay the same. But, I think taking it a step further is recognizing that it was probably harder to get those numbers. And also, it’s of benefit to the company to expand into an audience that they weren’t already in.

Cassy Joy: Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo: So, again. If you’re getting more from it, you have to paying for that. So anyway. All of that to say; this does feed into the conversation that we’re going to be having. So I wanted to chat about that, because that’s part of the segment, too. What’s on my plate is, what’s actually happening in our business and lives. And the conversation; it’s all part of what we’re teaching.

Cassy Joy: It is.

Diane Sanfilippo: You know, with this podcast.

Cassy Joy: It’s a big bowl of spaghetti. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} We almost called this; what did we almost call it?

Cassy Joy: The Noodle.

Diane Sanfilippo: Noodle it? {laughs} Something like that.

Cassy Joy: There’s a song that Gray really likes; it could be our theme song. It comes from the show Word Party. And it’s a little girl who sings that she’s a panda.

Diane Sanfilippo: Of course.

Cassy Joy: And the song goes, “I love noodles! I love noodles!” {laughing} “When the day…”

Diane Sanfilippo: Are we going to have to pay someone for you singing that now?

Cassy Joy: Oh.

Diane Sanfilippo: Just kidding. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Pickles.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} I’m just kidding. I doubt it. Yeah, we always say noodle on it. I’ll noodle on that.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Anyway. I just think that that topic is so interesting. And I think you’re doing this in a really thoughtful way, and I love it. And it’s setting a great example for what other people can do. And it was nice to be able to have had that conversation with you, and then a similar conversation with another colleague of; how do I do this and make sure that I’m being thoughtful. And I was like; first of all just saying that is step one. Recognizing that you just don’t take action and think you’re going to post someone’s picture and that’s all there is. Anyway. So I love that.

Exciting things happening; so this episode will originally air on August 31st. So it will be a week after the official launch of our granola collaboration with Nana Joe’s granola, which I’m so excited about. We’ve worked on this now a couple of months; a few months. I don’t know exactly how much time. But we took my peanut butter granola recipe; which I like to call innovative. Because I don’t know if I said this on the show before, but I’ve never seen someone use cacao butter in a granola recipe. And I have not scoured the internet, so let’s just start right there. Ok?

But usually people use oil, coconut oil. Maybe people use ghee, olive oil, etc. A bunch of different oils and fats. And most granola in the store has pretty poor-quality oils in it. you’re going to see a lot of sunflower oil, because that’s a middle of the road oil. And listen, I eat sunflower oil in my chicken chips. I’m obsessed with those chicken chips. But, if we can choose something different, I always want to choose something different.

So Nana Joe’s, the reason I love this company; it’s woman owned. They just had their 10-year anniversary, based here in San Francisco. A friend of a friend; my friend Simone from Zenbelly kind of connected me with Michelle, the owner. And she just does things right. I’ve talked about her on previous episodes.

But to that end, she uses things like maple syrup, and olive oil as a sweetener and oil in her granola. And that is something where; it’s an alignment of values when it comes to ingredient quality and choice. So, anyway. I’m doing this collaboration. I’m using cacao butter, which gives you this awesome white chocolate-y vibe, but it serves as the fat. So there’s no other fat in it. there’s no olive oil or anything like that. And it’s a high saturated fat, you know. {laughs} Good fat. It’s very highly saturated, so it helps give a firm texture, and makes some clumps and clusters in the granola.

Cassy Joy: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: You’re like, give me the clusters!

Cassy Joy: All about it.

Diane Sanfilippo: A little bit of maple syrup. And we’re using cashew butter, because it’s less allergenic. They don’t use any peanut butter in their facility for allergy reasons. And we’re also using watermelon seed protein, which is sort of a cutting edge; it is a vegan friendly protein. Which, you guys know, I’m not in the vegan camp. But I recognize that there is, of course, a huge audience of people who don’t want to use collagen protein. Which is what I call for in the original recipe. But, the balance of the watermelon seed protein and the cashew butter; it almost tastes like it’s made with peanut butter as a result of that combination of flavor.

So it’s kind of exciting. I don’t think you would know it’s not peanut butter when you’re eating it unless you are just really digging for that super peanuty flavor.

Cassy Joy: Diane, I cannot wait.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s so good! {laughs} I’m so excited about it. so yeah, it’s a limited-edition collaboration, and we’ll see what happens with it for the long term at some point, wink, wink. Because I already think it’s going to be amazing, and my wheels are already turning on other products that we can do. And we’ll see; we might end up doing some private label things instead, where it’s made in their kitchen, but it’s our brand and it’s not sold anywhere but through our brand. So we’ll see what happens with that.

And then; I don’t know if I want to let this other cat out of the bag. I’m going to hold onto this other one, because it’s pretty big news. And I think the granola collab deserves that solo announcement. I forget if I might have talked about the granola last week. I think I did because the first case had arrived. But I’m excited because y’all are going to be getting some soon. Yay!

Cassy Joy: I’m so excited. Congratulations!

Diane Sanfilippo: Thank you.

2.  Shop Talk: Analysis Paralysis [22:33]

Cassy Joy: Shop Talk. In this segment, we discuss topics that are related to business and entrepreneurship that are on both our minds and yours. This week we’re talking about analysis paralysis.

Diane Sanfilippo: Love this.

Cassy Joy: I do too.

Diane Sanfilippo: Such a great topic.

Cassy Joy: It is. And it’s something that I think all of us have definitely dealt with. We’re probably all going to nod our heads and be like; yep, seen that. Maybe you’re living in that. So we’re just going to have a conversation around it.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think what I’m going to do first is read a quick little Wikipedia, you know, what is it. If you’re hearing this. Listen; if you’re a business owner, you have a side hustle, you’re probably intimately familiar with this whole thing, right?

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: But I’m going to read this anyway. “Analysis (or paralysis by analysis) describes an individual or group process when overanalyzing or overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision-making to become “paralyzed”, meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon. A situation may be deemed as too complicated and a decision is never made, due to the fear that a potentially larger problem may arise. A person may desire a perfect solution, but may fear making a decision that could result in error, while on the way to a better solution. Equally, a person may hold that a superior solution is a short step away, and stall in its endless pursuit, with no concept of diminishing returns.” We’re going to have to dig in a little bit on diminishing returns, for sure.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: “On the opposite end of the time spectrum is the phrase extinct by instinct, which is making a fatal decision based on hasty judgment or a gut reaction.”

Ok. So, essentially, this is; I mean, I see this in so many business owners. And I think I usually see it in people who are in that; you know, the first year, I think is one of the times that’s riddled with the most analysis paralysis. Because once there is momentum; once you’ve made some decisions, and you essentially build confidence in your decision-making ability, I think this starts to give way to the ability to say; you know what? Just own the fact that my decisions won’t all be perfect. But hopefully I’ll have a pretty good batting average. So I can handle it if one is not perfect.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Out of 10 decisions I make, 2 or 3 might kind of stink. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: I might regret a couple of those. But I’m confident in my ability to be resilient if I make a mistake.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I think one of the things that this little definition highlighted was the concept of diminishing returns. And I feel really strongly about that, because I think that people don’t realize that the longer they wait, decisions are being made. Whether or not you made them. So to me, getting stuck in this analysis is a lack of control of more of the factors. But I think that I probably sometimes have this too instinctual process. So I sometimes act a little to hastily. But it’s that balance, all the time.

Cassy Joy: It is.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I think part of it is, again, in your first year you don’t have, maybe, enough history to look back on to say; well, in the past, I’ve made some wrong decisions and here is how I carried on through that. So I think that’s why it comes up more in the first year, or in the first one to three years of a business. Because you don’t have enough of your own history to say; well, yes I am going to make a mistake, and it will be ok if I make a mistake. You know what I mean?

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Each mistake feels so much heavier early on, because you’re like; I don’t know what to do!

Cassy Joy: Well, and I think it feels heavier because you feel like those mistakes are forming your identity. Whereas once you’ve gotten past, let’s say that year mark, or that you’re more of a confident entrepreneur, you have an identity to fall back on. So that’s kind of where I see these decisions come from. As, I make decisions because that’s who we are. Right?

Diane Sanfilippo: Interesting. I literally never thought of what you just said about mistakes forming an identity. It never occurred to me.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Because I’m like; who even notices? Nobody notices that you made a mistake or you think it was a mistake.

Cassy Joy:  I think it’s an identity we own privately and secretly.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok.

Cassy Joy: And I think that that is what continues to hold people back. But it’s like; what a privilege, what a luxury Fed and Fit has. I’ve got 10 years under my belt now. I know who I am in the world. Yes, it’s evolving. And yes, I have bigger, brighter dreams. But when we make a business decision. Or, the other day, my team pulled me aside to look at a comment that was on the website. They were like; Cassy, how do you want us to answer this? And I say; well, this is who we are as a brand, so this is how we’re answering it. And yes, that’s a teaching opportunity, right, on how to scale some of this thinking. But the identity of the brand is solid. So even if we make a mistake in exactly how we handle it, that mistake does not inform who we are.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that is so powerful. And I think you have hit on something {laughs}. We don’t write a lot of notes, everyone.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Because when we first came up with the idea for the podcast, these conversations are what we wanted the podcast to be. But we had to get out a lot of the first chapters of our thoughts on just laying the foundation. I think this is so important. And I actually think this is why self confidence is one of the most pivotal parts of avoiding analysis paralysis. Because if you know who you are, then you can make decisions based on values that are unwavering.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. Much more quickly. You could scale big decisions almost. It feels easier. It doesn’t mean that they’re smaller decisions, or less weighty. But you have a foundation with which you can lean on to make those decisions.

But I’m with you. I think you’re right. I think the propensity to fall into this analysis paralysis mode before you’ve overcome the inertia of starting something; that’s the hardest part. Is to start something and to just get forward motion. Every decision feels huge.

3. Moving through a decision [29:30]

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. So, ok. Let’s talk a little bit about the way that we move through decision making, and when we do pause. And I think analysis; well, pausing doesn’t quite have the same ring.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: But I think there’s a difference.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I do want to talk about that. Because pausing is valuable. Doing a mini-gut check is valuable in a lot of ways and for a lot of things, and especially if you are new. And especially; so this was a point that I wanted to talk about a little bit, too. Sometimes making quick decisions when there is a financial implication, it is based in a financial privilege that you might have. And I think that it’s totally valid to spend some time on that decision. So I just don’t want to confuse the fact that we want people to make good solid decisions, and not take too long to make them. Too long is obviously an intangible. Right? {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: Whether it takes you a day, a month, or a year, it depends on the decision. And I do think that there are different types of decisions. And maybe we can talk about this, too. Certain types of decisions that; listen, take a week, but give yourself a deadline to make the decisions. And then certain types of decisions; and this happens to me, a lot. Where I’m like; I really don’t know why I’m not making this decision right now, but I’ll figure out in two more weeks that I’m making the decision in two weeks because there was information I still needed that somehow in the back of my brain or my intuition, I knew I wouldn’t know yet.

And I know for me, my decision-making process is usually like; if I don’t make a decision, there’s some reason that I can’t put my finger on that I don’t make it. but it’s not usually a financial thing. and there are a lot of people who would say; well, I’m not sure what to choose because the financial implications of this versus that are weighty. And that’s valid. And I think it is wise to weigh your options. And it is wise to weigh; you know, what’s your track record? Do you have a track record of constantly spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to start something and then it always flops? And if that’s the case, what will be different this time?

And I do think it’s valid to kind of prove to yourself so that you can go ahead and make an educated, informed decision. So this is where both self confidence and self-awareness are so important. You have to know yourself. You have to be able to audit; what are you capable of, and what’s going to happen.

So anyway, I think that for me, that decision making process tends to be pretty instinctual. But if I think about something early, and it’s a big thing, I don’t know the answer until I feel it. which is very strange. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: I know what you mean.

Diane Sanfilippo: You and I have talked about this for years now. Where I’ve been like; I’ve spent the last two years, what the heck am I doing with my life and my business, I don’t even know. And now things have started moving in a different direction. But I couldn’t just choose my way into them.

Anyway. That’s a little bit like big picture, big stuff. But I want to scale this back, because let’s just even take this to something as simple as choosing which email platform to get and use. Because that’s something that paralyzes people often. Let’s talk about that.

Cassy Joy: Ok. That sounds great.

Diane Sanfilippo: Let’s just say you’re starting your business, and you’re looking at these three different platforms. And someone is like; I don’t know what to choose. What would you tell them?

Cassy Joy: I would say; what are your goals?

Diane Sanfilippo: And then from there, drawing some comparisons.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. I would say; it’s like a Venn diagram. What are your goals? What are your needs with your business? And where do you find the largest overlap with an email platform? And then you go there. Go to there. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I want to go to there. Tina Fey’s child who said that. And then ended up in the show.

Cassy Joy: That’s right.

Diane Sanfilippo: We’re big 30-Rock fans over here. I love that. So then there is also the additional layer of cost, right? So if you look at your goals. But maybe, to that point; maybe one of the goals is that you want something that’s free to start. So maybe one of those platforms kind of gets kicked off.

I think where the analysis paralysis might come in on this is; what if you’re looking at these three platforms, and two of the three are free to start. But the one that’s not, you’re like; this one looks a lot better. So there’s that emotional component. So you feel like you can’t make the decision.

I think this is where getting good at prioritizing the goal. What is the actual top-level goal? Is the top-level goal to get your business running in the first year for as little money as possible? If that is the goal, which that’s a worthy goal, then that can inform your decision. I think layering into that knowing, is this decision something I can change my mind about pretty easily in a year? Right? And what will that potential cost be to me at that time?

So, like I’m in a place where I’m making a decision that I’ll be making for the next two years. And I’m like; can I handle the burden of, if I don’t think that was the best decision, will it bury me financially? You know what I mean? I think that’s a valid way to kind of, when you’re filling out the pros and the cons list of this versus that.

Cassy Joy: Is to wait…

Diane Sanfilippo: So in that first year; yeah. If you would have ended up spending; let’s just say it would be $50 a month for this nice looking platform that you didn’t even know if you needed it, but you were like; but it looks so much nicer. Right? But then you add up to, what is that? $600 over the course of the year. Do you think that will be a wise decision by the end of the year? And then basing that decision on your track record, your ability to sell and earn money or whatever it’s going to be with your business. And if you’re like; you know, I haven’t seen myself do it yet. This is the first time I’m starting a business. So, maybe I just do the best I can with the thing that does not cost money, and in a year, if I can justify that expense, I go ahead and do it.

Cassy Joy: You know how I make these kinds of decisions; like Diane just said, I will number out the things that are important to me. Your pros; the list of the things in my business that are important that are relevant to an email service. And then reorder them in terms of top priority. And then I go through them one line at a time, as objectively as possible.

So let’s say top priority number one you decide is cost. You really want your business; you want to be able to launch your business with as low cost as possible. Then you go through and you look at your options, and you start eliminating based on what you decide in terms of what’s relevant. And then you go on; I think one of the mistakes and pitfalls, rather. I should phrase it that way. One of the pitfalls we fall into when we’re making these big decisions is we try to decide everything at once. Or we try to consider everything at once. And I think there’s; even, y’all, 10 years in to businessing {laughing} owning a business and running it.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s a verb now.

Cassy Joy: Is it?

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: 10 years into businessing {laughs} as quickly as I might make some decisions because I make a lot of them all day long, I still have to go back to this method of process of elimination when I’m looking at several options when I’m feeling like I’m thinking of too many things at once. Because I think anybody, nobody how confident you are, you can get stuck when you’re thinking of too many things at once. So yeah, I would start with top priority.

And then let’s say you eliminate the paid version. As lovely as it is, it doesn’t make your most important requirement of being free. And then you go down to priority number two, and you deal with the other two options that are left.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So I think what we’re talking about is sort of a logical, practical way to break down something that does become emotional, stressful, this analysis paralysis. So what you’re describing in terms of prioritizing; I think, if somebody wanted to apply math. I’m not a math person. But give it some sort of structure, it’s sort of this idea of giving weighted values to different factors that you’re considering.

Cassy Joy: It’s like a Cosmo quiz. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Question one; multiply twice if you answered C.

Cassy Joy: Then your dream boat is a brunette. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Your dream boat business is… No, but I think people too often try to, and I haven’t looked up the etymology of the word priority. But I heard that it was not ever intended to be a plural word. And whether or not that’s true, I’m going to stick to that concept. Because only one thing is the priority. Right? Other things can fall very closely behind. Or two things can seem pretty equal, but it’s like; everything has a cascade of what is the absolute most important. And even if the next one down is very, very close, it’s still not first.

So for me, this big decision that I’m making now involves me spending a good amount of money, and I love the idea of bargaining and negotiating and getting a better price for things. But it still isn’t the very top priority for this decision in this moment. The top priority is an energy situation of the space that I want to be in. Or how it will reflect my brand is actually my top priority in this full decision. And yes, price matters. And it’s not to say just because it’s not the number one priority doesn’t mean it’s not important. But I’m still not going to sit in that analysis paralysis because at the end of the day, know that the most important thing is that it fits this bill. Right?

So close second can be that it can’t cost an exorbitant amount that is just beyond what my budge allows for. So, anyway. I think that’s a great example, and I think a lot of people are actually probably in that space of choosing an email service. I’m really curious what people’s decisions are. We want to hear from you. What are you trying to make a decision about? How are you sort of plotting the values of what it is that you’re choosing? Or, I would also like to hear from people when you have waited too long to make a decision, and it kind of bit you in the butt.

4. Diminishing returns and decision fatigue [41:07]

Cassy Joy: The diminishing returns.

Diane Sanfilippo: The diminishing returns.

Cassy Joy: And that’s where that is so relevant, y’all. Why do we even have this conversation, is because there’s this difference between being thoughtful. I’m just restating something Diane already said. But there’s this difference between a thoughtful pause and falling into this analysis paralysis mode where you just feel like you’re caught in a whirlpool and you can’t get out. And what winds up happening is it winds up costing you something. Right? Money is the easiest example.

Let’s say it winds up costing you money. But it winds up costing you something. and any decision, even a decision that’s half wrong in hindsight, would have gotten you out of the whirlpool. So I would just recognize what can you cling to to overcome this stall, and to get out. Even if it’s not a perfect solution, it will get you out of this headspace.

And something that honestly helps me a lot, in addition to writing down what’s most important, what is the priority right now and making decisions based on that. But sometimes when I’m feeling stuck in a decision; Diane, I don’t know if you remember this. But Diane came to my rescue. Something that I do, when I am caught in this analysis paralysis. And the more you do it, or the better you get at getting out of it, I think the more you can recognize when you are in it versus a thoughtful pause.

So this office space. I have made; it’s like a home. Right? People who build homes, they have to make 4,000 decisions, and it feels like all within such a concentrated period. And you get to the point where you want to be thoughtful and careful about every decision, because this is the place you’re going to live for the next 30 years. But you get to the point where it’s just too much. It’s too many decisions to make. It’s like the paradox of choice is that graph. Y’all, I found it online. I don’t just walk around with these phrases in my back pocket.

Diane Sanfilippo: Decision fatigue is what really kicks in.

Cassy Joy: Exactly! You have happiness on your Y axis, and number of choices on the X, and I was just getting… it’s also the more choices you get, not only are you less happy, but I would argue you have a higher likelihood of falling into analysis paralysis. And anyways, I was getting office equipment, and I needed to buy monitor arms for the monitors. I mean, again.

Diane Sanfilippo: Whether I remember? This was like two weeks ago. Of course I remember.

Cassy Joy: Oh, ok. I don’t know. {laughing} I forget lots of things. I messaged Diane, and I said; Diane.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: I have a very important and also a very silly question. I’ve spent so much time trying to decide what color monitor arms to get; whether it’s, I mean what a silly problem to have. But these white monitor arms or black monitor arms or silver monitor arms. And I sent you pictures. And I was like; could you please choose for me? Because it’s like, sometimes you just need to phone a friend to get out of that whirlpool.

Diane Sanfilippo: But I think to your point, you were so far down this road of making so many decisions, that by the time you were so decision fatigued that just these three options were too many.

Cassy Joy: It was too much!

Diane Sanfilippo: It was too many options.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Right? I think earlier on in the process you are making decisions for your business or whatever it is, you could look at 10 different things and be like, I’m going to take some time. Compare this. I’m going to mock it up and see what I think. And then you get to the end and you’re like; somebody else choose.

Cassy Joy: Yes. Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, you’re tired of it.

Cassy Joy: I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. Also, I think part of getting caught in analysis paralysis over the years. Because I knew I could have stewed on that. I know myself. I could have said; I’m going to put a pin in this, and I’ll revisit it. and maybe tomorrow I’ll feel ready to make this decision. Nope. Not tomorrow. It was going to be four months from then, and I wasn’t going to have the desks ready to roll the way I wanted.

So I think the more time goes on, the more you’ll recognize when you need a helping hand. And sometimes an outside perspective can really pull you out of that space.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s very valuable. The other thing I want to touch on with this type of decision, where maybe it is a physical good where you can’t kind of pivot and maybe spend the time. I think we’re all trying to be more thoughtful about the things that we buy, because we don’t want to say; oh, I don’t like it and either return it or they don’t take it back or we’re just being wasteful of stuff. It’s this overbuying, underbuying, and I get into a real strict underbuying situation with a lot of things and then I go the other way. And I’m like; buying all the things. But I think some people battle buyer’s remorse very, very strongly. I think that can especially be true if there were a lot of options, or it was something that had kind of a higher price tag or whatnot.

Listen; I think understanding all the factors at play in the analysis paralysis, in the actual decision making, I think if you can pull a little bit of the emotion out of it and see what’s happening, like you did in that moment. You were like; this is really important, because I’m going to be looking at it. I know it seems ridiculous, but I just literally can’t make this decision right now. And then you do. You phone a friend or you ask for help. Somebody who understands your priorities and understands your priority.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Who understands what would actually be helpful. And it’s not always your mom or your one best friend or whoever. It’s somebody who really understands helping you make decisions. So pointing back to that email list example; ask a colleague who has done it. Ask their input. And they use this one service that you think you’re going to go with. Did they have major regrets a year in, or did they say; oh yeah, you could probably use that for five years and you’ll be fine. That might alleviate some of the tension around making the decision. Because I think there are a lot of people who, again. Until you build that confidence. Until you have that sense of identity, buyer’s remorse can be really problematic. Because now not only did you get through the analysis paralysis and made the decision, but now you’re feeling guilty and weird and regretting your decision. And that’s like; we don’t have time for that.

Cassy Joy: We don’t.

Diane Sanfilippo: We didn’t have time for how long it took to make the decision. {laughs} That diminishing return. And we also don’t have time for you to sit and wallow in buyer’s remorse. Like, pivot. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: You know; have you heard, I mean, 80/20 is a percentage breakdown that is thrown around in so many different contexts. But when it comes to decisions, I actually think it’s really appropriate here. So my mom and dad run a facility outset management company. And they talk about this a lot in a lot of their trainings. My parents are just really incredible entrepreneurs. They’re very humble about it. it would be fun to bring them, actually, on the show to talk to them about business.

Diane Sanfilippo: I would love to talk to them.

Cassy Joy: It would be really fun. I could just see you and my mom just virtual high fiving the whole time.

Diane Sanfilippo: Cassy’s parents are both Enneagram 8s.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: By the way. I love that so much.

Cassy Joy: And if you’re wondering; two 8s yielded two 3s and a 6, we believe. Daughters.

Diane Sanfilippo: Makes sense to me.

Cassy Joy: Yep. Anyway. Something they’ve taught me, and I think it’s so relevant. When it comes to decisions, 80% solution is good enough in my world. That’s how I make decisions. If I can get; and y’all. This is touchy feely stuff. I’m not actually writing these numbers down and tallying anything. When I feel like I’m at an 80% adequate solution, I move on. Because I will spend 20% of my time getting to 80%. And then an additional 80% of my time getting the rest of that to a perfect 100% solution. And it’s not worth it. There are other things I could be spending my time on.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: And if I get to 80%, good. I can work with it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And I think, too. Getting the decision done and starting to live it out, and giving that a certain amount of time. If you think about it; what if somebody were to take three months to make a decision? Again, this goes back to that diminishing returns. Instead of taking three months to make the decision, make it in one week, two weeks. Spend the next 10 weeks executing. And then maybe you see how far do you get with this decision that you made. Maybe you realize; ok, this far in, I don’t know if this was the right decision, but it seems to be working pretty well so I’m going to keep moving.

Or maybe you’re like; actually, this wasn’t the best decision. But instead of waiting forever to make it. and again, I think that can depend too on the real actual cost of the decision. I think a lot of people are making decisions these days early in their business. Early in your business, your decisions are not as expensive actual dollars wise. They’re more a time spend.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. It took me 9 months to pick my name before I launched Fed and Fit. And did I regret the name at certain junctures? I had doubts. But I thought; it’s 80% good. It’s working. You know?

Diane Sanfilippo: Most things are not permanent.

Cassy Joy: They’re not permanent, and they’re also not perfect. And I think that’s something that I want to shed some light on the illusion of perfection in business decisions. Because there actually probably isn’t a perfect answer out there. There’s not a perfect choice. 100% is an illusion. It’s a carrot on the end of the stick that you’re never going to catch. A mirage in the desert. How many analogies can I throw out there?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: But it’s an illusion. You’re never going to get to 100%. And if you are in pursuit of it, you’re wasting your time. And for the sake of the heart of what you actually want to do, you need to move on. Use the decision you’ve landed on, phone a friend, get someone else to weigh in on it, write it down, and if you can’t close up, wrap up this decision that you have been lost in for a very long time, then for the sake of your business you need to. The 100% is an illusion. You won’t get there.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hear, here.

5. Tip of The Week: Make your decision [51:36]

Cassy Joy: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward.

Diane Sanfilippo: You will probably guess that my tip this week is to stop overanalyzing. Get out of your analysis paralysis. And look at your list of things to do and decisions that you need to make. Pick something that is low on the list in terms of cost; in actual financial cost. I think this is a good time to be pretty prudent about our decisions with how we spend our money. Look at something that does not have a huge financial burden, but you are just not making that decision.

Go ahead and make your list. Write down; what are all the factors at play? Give it sort of a weighted value in this order of priority. Make sure that you’ve got that top priority really on the top of the list, and that you are making an educated informed decision that is not overly stressed out about what’s going to happen on the other side. Because I want to know that you will actually never know the outcome of the future. {laughs} So you won’t know it.

To Cassy’s point, there is no 100% perfect answer. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. None of us could have predicted this. Well, maybe there’s somebody who predicted it. But we couldn’t have predicted this, right? So if we were making decisions about our businesses at the end of last year presuming things would be business as usual this year; guess what? The best laid plans.

So I think that’s really important. Let’s just have you get out of that cycle. Come share about it on social media. Let us know. Maybe our audience and our listeners can chime in and help you make this decision. You’ll get some educated folks who are in the same situation. And I would love to hear what kind of decisions you all are making.

That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. You can find Cassy @CassyJoyGarcia and @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo as well as @BalancedBites.

Tune in next week for another brand new episode.

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