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4.2: Internal and External Factors that Affect Making Decisions

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    There are many factors that contribute to making decisions. Some factors are internal factors and some are external.

    Internal factors are those that you control, they come from within you. Internal factors are influenced by your feelings and thoughts. These can be positive or negative. Positive thoughts will help you with decision making, while negative thoughts will most likely hinder you. Fear is a common internal factor that negatively affects decision-making.

    • Fear of failure
    • Fear of making the wrong decision
    • Fear of rejection
    • Fear of letting others down

    Unfortunately, fear can lead to paralysis in the decision-making process with “worse case scenarios.” To avoid this from happening, remember FEAR is really an acronym for:


    Remember, you are in control of these internal thoughts and feelings. You hold a lot of power. Use it wisely!

    Another internal factor that affects decision-making is self-confidence. Lack of self-confidence can make decision-making challenging and negatively impact your goals. In Unit 1, we addressed the importance of self-confidence in setting yourself up for success. You can either be your best friend through the decision-making process or your worst enemy. The choice is up to you. If you lack self-confidence, the good thing is you can work on building it.

    External factors are those that stem from your surroundings. External factors may include expectations from your family, friends, cultural or gender stereotypes and family responsibilities. These factors can influence decision-making in a positive or negative way. It is important to consider external factors when making decisions so you can absorb the positive support and create a plan to counteract the negative.

    After making a decision about your career direction, it is important to be mindful of the internal and external factors that may affect your next steps. Once you have narrowed down your career choices, you will want to set a goal and develop a plan of action by setting effective goals.

    Activity 4.2: Identifying Internal And External Factors Affecting My Decisions

    As you get closer to making decisions about your future career and potential major and educational training you'll need, reflect on the internal and external factors that may hinder or support your progress. Be honest with yourself.

    Factors that Hinder My Career Decisions:



    Factors that Support My Career Decisions:



    Focus on the factors that you have control over. What can you do about the factors that are currently hindering your ability to fully work towards your fullest potential?

    Continue to capitalize on the factors that support your success!

    This page titled 4.2: Internal and External Factors that Affect Making Decisions is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Graciela Martinez and Elizabeth Shaker.