Decision Making is Lonely

May 16, 2022 | 0 comments

I came across this quote that resonates on many levels.

“Loneliness is the penalty of leadership, but the man (or woman) who has to make the decisions is assisted greatly if he (or she) feels there is no uncertainty in the minds of those who follow him (or her) and that his (or her) orders will be carried out confidently and in expectation of success!”  

– Sir Ernest Shackleton 

Firstly, the brackets added in are mine – the quote needed modernization.  We live in a world where masculine default quotes are no longer acceptable.  Sir Ernest is not to blame though…

But more importantly, how pertinent is that quote to you?  It applies not only to leadership but to every aspect of your life as a human being.

What the quote is saying, in general terms, is that if we knew that everyone agreed with our decisions, we wouldn’t feel so lonely when making them.

As a human being, you crave not only being part of a community, but along with that, being accepted and acknowledged by others for the role you play within that community too.

When you make decisions that impact your place of work, your own business, your clients, or your relationships, you constantly seek certainty in the form of assurances from those around you.  You’re put at ease immediately when you receive confirmation from a colleague or friend that what you have decided is correct.  You’re immediately uncomfortable when you don’t.


The opinion of others is important to you.

Loneliness is the penalty of doing anything on your own, including making unpopular decisions that are in your best interests, or in the best interest of those who rely on you.  The reality is that the people who’s support you seek will never have all the information that you did when you made the decision.

Leaders know this feeling. 
Business owners know this feeling. 
Entrepreneurs with a big vision and new idea know this. 
Parents know this feeling. 
Lovers know this feeling.
Sales people know this feeling.

You won’t always have the certainty of making decisions with the assurance of gaining the popular opinion of others.  If you wait for it, you may never make a big decision in your life.

Knowing who you are, and knowing what you want is so important in these moments.  Your decisions, over time, will ultimately prove you right.  Or wrong.  Regardless, it’s still your decision to make.

As long as you are confidently authentic, and stand true to your values, then you will remain firm in your belief, and your decisions will always be easy to make.

Loneliness will always exist in these moments. 

Staying to true to your values however, will be all the company you will need.

Have an amazing week.

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