In the immortal lyrics of The Clash’s song Should I Stay or Should I Go, “This indecision’s bugging me”.
One of the toughest things about business is the decision making. It often feels like one wrong decision and your ‘toast’, ‘the game is over’, ‘the fat lady is singing’. OK, too many metaphors, but I feel the looming outcome of a bad decision can stop many from making any decision at all.
If I go there will be Trouble – If I stay there will be Double
Recently, I have been in a transition. I have made some decisions around my focus for the next 1 to 5 years. I used a tool from Warren Buffet described in a book I am reading [Daniel H. Pink: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing] that took me through evaluating the 25 things I want to accomplish in the second half of my life and then narrowed it down to the top five priorities for now. Even with this type of clarity, it was still unclear to me what had to change to make these 5 core priorities my only focus. Do I give up everything I have built to put one of those five at the top of my list of five? Do I try to restart some of the programs I’ve let go of, to get back some of the successes I’ve had in the past that align with my top five? If I chose one of these, what happens with the choices I’ve already made? I really feel that if I go forward without clarity on the ‘what’ then I will be in trouble and if I don’t move forward soon I will equally be in trouble (or as the song says, “there will be double” [trouble]).
The Direction I Choose
One thing I have always had going for me is that my clarity comes from faith. Faith that the direction I choose, no matter what it is, will result in my future experience. “Well, dah!”, you might be thinking. The key here is that my future has always been where I want to be. Maybe because I am happy with a lot of different outcomes, or maybe because what I put my mind to I make happen. If the latter is the case then it doesn’t matter which choice is the right answer, it matters which one I choose. I can choose to follow a path, maybe one I described above or one I have not envisioned yet, or I can choose to not follow a path. By abstaining from choice I inadvertently make a choice that has the same consequences: I will end up going in the direction of my non-choice.
The Business Key
Decision making is based on the knowledge and understanding of what choices are available. Making great decisions cannot be simply choosing from A or B if the choice turns out to be ‘E’ (not even C or D). If you have never invited the opportunity to explore ‘E’ then how will you get to the place where you make the best choice? I believe, from what I have experienced, we often rush to make a choice from options that do not adequately meet our needs. We can tell which of the two or three are better than the others, but we still feel challenged to make the call because unconsciously we know that none of the other three were the exact right choice.
So, over the past 3 weeks, I have been spending time looking for the exact right choice. I don’t usually take this long to make a decision. For me this feels like a failure, not making a decision. In fact, I would have made a decision already, if the opportunity had not disappeared at the time I was saying yes. This is likely because the universe knew it was not my option ‘E’, it was just better than the other options. Since then I have spoken with mentors, friends, peers, and spent time simply working on things that are my top five. From that has come an awakening to a new perspective on my business. For me, it was relatively sudden and came during meditation. For you, it may be subtle and repeated.
Sometimes we have to ride the wave of confusion and do the work to uncover the options that are not clear at first. If you feel like none of your options will result in an exceptional outcome than you too are likely trying to make a decision without all the information. Go find your option ‘E’.
If you were wondering what my ‘awakening’ was, it was that; My business is not the business to grow & sell, it is the business that helps others get to a salable business. My business is me. Focusing on me in my business has never been my goal, but it shows up, over and over. I have had people say, “I want more of you”, “I was hoping to work directly with you”, “are you the one that does this work”, etc. The universe has been trying to tell me this for years and I keep working on building a corporation I can sell wondering why I can create millions of dollars for my clients’ corporations but not for my own. Hmmm, now I see it. Option ‘E’ choice made – Focus on ‘Me’ and my personal service as the product.