How to Make a Decision With No Regrets

Hip Hop Affirmation: I make my own decisions

The Ultimate Lyrical Mash-up: Traditional quotes meet Hip Hop lyrics with the same meaning….

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. ~Robert Frost

or

Just know I chose my own fate, I drove by the fork in the road and went straight. ~Shawn Carter (Renegade)

We all have to make decisions

So you have a decision to make.

Should I go to this school or that school.  Should I take this job or that job, should I marry this person or that person.  Whatever the decision you have to make and no matter how tough that decision may be, know that you are not alone; you are not the first to have to make a tough decision.  I just faced one the other day.

Acknowledge you have a decision to make

I was taking my wife to Ballston Spa, NY to visit some friends to work on a project.  Half way through the trip, the oil light and the check engine light start flashing.  It’s cold and a little snowy, but I get out of the car, pop the hood and first check the oil level before deciding to put a little bit more in hopes that this would take care of our oil problem.

It didn’t work.

Instead of just moving forward we got off at the next exit and found a garage who could hopefully help us diagnose the problem.  The local grocery store pointed us to the local garage shop.  There the mechanic looked at our engine and wasn’t too sure what the problem was, but thought it might be that the oil is just not getting to where it needs to go.

His recommendation, “I wouldn’t drive it any further if I were you.”

We kept driving a little bit more and our engine continued to get louder.  we finally decided to tow the car so we wouldn’t damage it further.  Deciding to tow the car was the easy part (we have “AAA plus” which gives us 100 free miles of towing).  The tough decision; should me move forward to Ballston Spa, NY or should we just head back home?

We were in a position where we had no choice but to acknowledge there was a decision that needed to be made.  That is not always the case in our everyday lives.  We find ourselves in positions where we can ignore things until the check engine of our lives come on.  Acknowledging that there is a decision to be made, let’s your subconscious work on it even if you are not ready to. Note that not making a decision is actually a decision.

Weigh your pros and cons and then act

We could go back home and be comfortable knowing that we have a mechanic that could work on the car or we could move forward onto Ballston Spa, NY where we knew nothing about the local mechanics.  We decided to move forward to Ballston Spa, NY because, no matter what happened, at least my wife would have been able to complete her project with her friends.  I would take care of the rest.

Start by writing down all your options and then list all the pros and cons of each option.  Weigh the options and take action.

Be where you are

I ended up being in Ballston Spa, NY for four days when I only planned for one (yes, I had clean underwear; my wife packed extra just in case).

Things I could have focused on:

  • the fact that I was stuck in a place I did not plan to be or
  • that I was watching the Super Bowl on a small T.V. (we still had the pizza and wings) or
  • that my MacBook did not want to connect to the WiFi at our friends home (I know it’s unimaginable but I did not have access to the internet at their house–it’s okay to feel bad for me–that’s not totally true since I had my iPhone with me) or
  • that my wife took the bus back home the next day and I was stuck with finding a mechanic and working through this ordeal.

But I didn’t

Instead I focused on:

  • enjoying the company of my host, Jess and Matt, who I went to college with and their energetic and brilliant 3 year old, Tumi,  who reminded me, “Okay, now let’s go upstairs and play.”
  • I focused on the non-internet having time to catch up on some reading for my virtual Seth Godin Book Club.
  • I focused on connecting with friends I have in the area who I have not seen in ages (shout out to Amy Johnson and Ken Mossman)
  • and making new friends at my temporary virtual office aka Coffee Planet.

Your mindset after you make a decision will make or break your experience.  Guess what, whatever decision you make has been made and you are where you are.  Sounds confusing; let me simplify it for you, “You can’t go back so stop focusing on the past.”

Instead I would offer that you take a breath and you look for the good right where you are.  You aren’t happy and want to make another move? THE DECISION IS YOURS.

On day #4 my car was fixed and ready to go.

What would you have done differently if you were faced with my decision?  What are some of your best decision making tips?

The Point

Once you make a decision, be prepared to live with the good and bad of that decision.  Looking back and wishing you had made another choice is not going to help your current situation.

Moves to Make

  1. Focus on what you have on hand, both the beauty and the challenge
  2. Trust that everything happens for a reason and the story is still being written so hesitate to label something as good or bad just yet.
  3. Change your mind and make a different decision if that is what you want to do.  You have that right.

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    Bruny

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