Whenever you feel yourself dilly-dallying around a certain decision, usually the correct answer is the more difficult one. And by delaying the decision, you’re trying to find a rationalisation for not doing the right thing, simply because it would be too difficult.
The reason you’re dithering isn’t that you’re unsure. It’s that you don't want to deal with the root cause of the problem — something that will need you to take some bold and unnerving decisions — so your emotions are trying to justify the easier path.
But to go anywhere worth going, you have to do the difficult thing.
It's not even about how struggling and doing what's difficult is necessarily a moral good in itself, but it just so happens to be the case that the right thing to do in any situation is usually the tougher mountain to climb.
And you're conflicted, not because you aren't sure. You're conflicted because deep down you secretly know what the right answer is but you wish to avoid that realisation.
If you need to climb Mt. Everest in 6 months, you can spend the first 5 months circling the base, doing busy work; being indecisive; not gaining any elevation. But you will still need to cover the 8000+ metre elevation in month 6. There's no way out of the hard work.
But here's the good thing: despite how much emotions cloud and contort while you try and justify avoiding the correct decision, you will often find that the relief, strength, and clarity that comes after doing what you know needs to be done totally resolve the anguish of stepping up to the plate.
Is an early hire not working out or do they need more time? If you have to ask, you know the answer, you just don’t want to do the difficult thing.
Have you realised that your startup idea might actually not be that great, 6 months into running it? Are you convincing yourself that more money and more time will fix your lack of product-market fit? If you're not capable of moving on from a bad decision, you shouldn't be starting up. Just being honest here.
Is your co-founder insufferable and not the kind of person you would like to work with but you're trying to convince yourself otherwise because you secretly know it will be hard for your company's reputation?
As a leader, your job is to do the difficult thing. And you truly earn your leadership in times of adversity: when no one wants to be in your shoes.
I’m sorry it has to be you, but you wanted this. Maybe you were thinking about only the good bits, like getting to say you’re a founder and telling potential significant others that you own your own business; that you don't have a boss, and you get to have a final say over everything.
Well, now you have it, along with all its downsides.
Be kind and be swift. Hard decisions as a leader often tend to be hard for everyone in the team. But the sooner you acknowledge the truth and move ahead with it, the kinder you're being to your employees and everyone involved.
If you wait another week, it won’t get any easier, except you’ve wasted a week. You knew what needs to be done all this while. Just go ahead and do it.
Do the job.