2016 marks the year of a big transition for me – moving from my 27-year career in government service to retiring from that service and focusing full-time on… you!
The transition was a bit, well, rocky. Until I realized I wasn’t using my own tools very effectively. If you’re like a lot of people, myself included sometimes, your progress gets stymied because you get stuck making a decision. There’s a whole mindset (or mind-dance) that you go through.
- Is this the right decision?
- What if it’s the wrong decision?
- What am I really trying to decide?
- What if it works out?
- What if it doesn’t work out?
And on and on and on you go until you are completely stuck. You can’t move forward without the decision, and you just can’t seem to actually MAKE a decision.
(Insert wringing hands and shrugging shoulders.)“But if I make the wrong decision, I can’t move forward, right?”
See, here’s the secret:
Until you make a decision – ANY decision – you CANNOT move forward.
You see, it’s not the substance of the decision that determines the whether or not you move forward – it’s the act of making the decision.
In the words of Roosevelt:
“The best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” The “nothing” he is referring to is getting stuck inside the decision.
Think of kids at a high school dance:
A guy asks a girl to dance (ok, calm down, don’t get caught up in who asked whom), she says yes, or she says no. If she says, “yes,” they dance. If she says, “no,” he moves on. She makes a clear decision – then both parties move forward. But what happens if she says, “Maybe”? Both the guy and the girl stand there, looking at each other, feeling weird and stuck. No one moves forward.
Teach yourself to recognize your decision points. They aren’t just the big things like ‘do I move or not?’ or ‘do I marry him or not?’ or ‘do I take this job or not?’ (Although those are decision points!)
In fact, the biggest transformations happen in what appear to be the smallest decisions:
- Do I eat a donut or free-range egg omelet for breakfast?
- Do I lovingly speak my truth or stuff it down so it gives me heartburn?
- Do I snap at my boss’s inopportune statement or assume noble intent?
As you start recognizing the decision points and consciously make a decision, the act of deciding will get easier! Decision making is like exercising a muscle – the more you do it, the better you get at it.
Will you always make the ‘right’ decision? Of course not! And what was the SECOND BEST thing you could do? Just make a decision and move on toward your goal.
Once I realized that I had many decisions to make about the transition from employee to retiree, I felt better. I didn’t have to stay stuck but could move forward – just making one decision at a time.
Where are you stuck? Where do you need to make a decision and move on? Leave a comment on the blog and let me know!
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