Making Decisions: When Yes also Means No
Career & Work Life Matters
Vol 1, no. 6
How many decisions did you make this week? How many today? Probably a lot more than you think. Each day you decide what time to get up, what to wear, how to spend your time, what to eat for lunch. Many of these decisions are so habitual that we can make them almost automatically.
Career and work life transitions may involve life-changing decisions. But alongside the major decisions are the “smaller” decisions you make each day.
Single decisions may not seem that important, but over time they can have a large impact. Take for example the goal of healthy eating. If you consistently align your decisions with your goal by choosing healthy options for your lunch, you are well on the way to healthy eating. It’s the small everyday decisions that count. On the other hand, if you have decided to eat healthily, but find that your food choices conflict with your goal, it is time to stop and examine your everyday decisions.
Yes and No
In his book, Effective Thinking Skills, Richard Nelson-Jones reminds us that every ‘yes’ involves a ‘no’. Opening one door invariably involves closing another. For example, if you are considering a new field of work, you may decide that you want to make five professional connections a week to get the information you need. You decide how you will do that, but notice that you do not find time in your schedule to do what you have decided. What smaller decisions are you making? Are there new or different decisions you need to make?
If you want to spend more time making professional connections, unless you already have free time available, doing this will involve not doing something else. Did you, like many of us, just add this goal to a “to-do” list that just gets longer and longer? You have chosen your goal. You are clear about the benefits. But have you considered what not to do to enable this new goal? What are the costs involved?
Understanding the Costs and Benefits
If you find that you are not moving towards your goal, there is often a good reason. It may be time to go back review your decision. Ask yourself some questions. Will attending professional meetings mean that you don’t see your family those evenings? Are you willing to accept the consequences of implementing your decision? Do you need new skills or resources? Is the outcome worth it?
Answering these questions will help you to identify sources of resistance that otherwise may be “hidden”. Connecting your decision with a fuller picture of the outcomes will help you to see the consequences more clearly. This clarity puts you in a better position to keep your commitments to yourself and move ahead with your goal.
Share your experience and add questions and comments below.
- What did you learning from reviewing your decisions?
- Were there hidden costs?
- Did you revise your goals?