We make decisions every day. Simple decisions; what to cook for dinner; which book to read next. Once in a while, we make decisions that change our lives.
Those decisions want to be well made.
At the end of last year, I knew I wanted to make some radical changes to my work life. I’d been in the same industry for 16 years and for multiple reasons, I felt it was time to do something different.
Something quite radically different.
So where to start? I went through a few — more or less — obvious steps:
1. Look around, but not too much
It is always good, to first take a close look at what the options are. Determine perhaps a handful of them. At which point, it might be good to stop looking, as too many options can make things overwhelmingly complicated.
2. Narrow it down
Once I had my handful of options, I narrowed it down to two favorites.
3. Deep dive
I gathered all the available information, I spoke to friends and family, I put together a list with pro’s and con’s. What are the risks? What are the opportunities? I made a personal SWOT. All that good stuff.
4. Sleep over it
Taking a giant step back and letting go of all the facts for a moment, is often a wise advice. Going to the gym, or for a long walk. Letting it all sink in.
5. Toss a coin
Which side would you like it to land on? What does your gut say? Listen to it closely. It’s an important voice that requires careful consideration.
6. Take seven deep breaths and make a decision
Apparently, The Shaolin monks, are trained to make their decisions based only on step 6. I was nonetheless, grateful that my decision did not need to be that spontaneous.
While writing down these steps, it all sounds so simple and neat.
Well, reality can be a bit messier. At step 5, I got stuck. Utterly stuck. For days in a row, or it felt more like weeks. I’d toss that coin in my mind, and every time the coin was up in the air, so was I. One day, I’d prefer the one side, the other day the other side, and a day later I’d be entirely indecisive.
I went back and forth and back and forth. I got sick of myself. I’m a quite straight forward person, you know. Just make a decision and stick with it. It is not that hard. I’d tell that to myself and right after, acknowledge that sometimes it simply isn’t that simple.
At that point, I decided to go back to step 4 and this time extend step 4 for six full weeks. I was in no rush, so why rush? I was trusting time to bring the clarity I was looking for.
Well, time is an interesting beast. So is the human mind. The day, after I made the decision, to postpone the decision, I woke up, and all of a sudden, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Crystal clear. As if I had never had any doubts.
How odd is that? Oh well. Life isn’t a checklist. It felt amazing, incredible, wonderful, marvelous.
Today, I signed a franchise contract with TAB — The alternative board. The signing part is just to make it formal. The decision was made on January 25th. A day I won’t forgot that easily.
So when is a decision a good decision?
The moment you decide it is!
The moment you can wholeheartedly say, this is what it is. This is my next step. This can take quite some time or not at all. I won’t start my TAB business until September. I am using the time till that date, to write my first book. Another decision I made one evening. Just like that.
Some decisions are hard; others are easy. Ultimately no decision is final. The future will carry some surprises, good surprises, bad surprises, a lot of things are beyond our control; other people will make their decisions that will influence ours. And so on. It is a constant fluid process. As they say; The future is in the stars.
In the end, I believe in the words that say:
It is not the choices we make; it’s the ones we don’t make that we will regret most.