I’ve had to make more than few big decisions in my life. I dedicated my 20s to being a nomad, exploring what type of job I wanted and where I wanted to settle down. Each time I made a decision to make my next move, I struggled and ended up creating an old-fashioned pros and cons notepad.
I don’t regret any of the decisions I have made in my life. I took risks and fortunately they turned out quite well for me. I have witnessed my share of tragedy, but I also have come out alive on the other side and ready for my next adventure.
There were many times when I would just stare at an equal pros and cons list, not knowing which way to go. One of the biggest moments was accepting a job in NYC when my entire community was in South Florida, including my boyfriend at the time.
That pros and cons list what a sh*tshow, so I created a process for myself to use anytime I had a hard decision moving forward. This process is how I came to the conclusion that I absolutely had to take the job in NYC, which has been one of my favorite roles to date. I still use this process when I hit a fork in the road and have no idea of which way to go.
Maybe this process can help you too:
Which Of The 10, 10, 10 Rule Is It?
I am openly stealing this from a Fast Company or Forbes article I read when I was in an airport traveling for my first job in NYC. It’s the concept that helps ground you in your decision-making process because it forces you to think of your issue in terms of 10 days, 10 months, and 10 years. This instantly provides perspective, giving you an idea of just how big of a decision you’re making. In essence, will the consequences of this decision matter in 10 days…in 10 months…what about 10 years?
What Makes You Come Alive?
This is a list I have been making since I was a kid. List absolutely everything that makes you come alive. For me, that includes my faith, baking, interior design, spending time with family, writing, conversations with others, photography, indie music, indie movies, fashion, and art. So, when I was making my decision to move down here I was looking at where I could find the best church and time to go every Sunday, where I could have room and time to bake, which place my family would actually visit, etc. I also use a similar list when I’m dating, matching up attributes that I admire and crave in others to the person I am thinking about being with. It comes in pretty handy.
Who Does This Affect?
I know that you’re always supposed to not make decisions based on others, and only think of yourself, right? There’s even a famous quote out there that you should tie your happiness to goals and not people. Not going to lie, I’ve had my moments, especially living in NYC, where I’ve disappeared into my job and ‘goals’ in hopes to not have to deal with the heartbreak and tragedy that comes from human relationships. However, at the end of the day, all I was left with was some unemotional job. People are important, the community is important. Think of how your decision influences those close to you, and take their advice seriously.
What Are Your Morals/Values?
Duh. You knew this was coming. Think hard about what your morals and values are. Actually, define them. Then think of examples of how you live up to each of those morals and values to test them. We’re talking about your real morals and values, not just what you hope they would be. Once you figure out what these are, you can use them as guideposts for your decision-making. It becomes a lot easier choosing a job when you realize you have to be able to serve others through what you are doing. It becomes easier choosing a date when you realize your faith is #1 in your life.
What’s Your Elevator Speech?
Think of who you are in a paragraph. If you met someone on an elevator today and they asked you who you are, what you say? Your elevator speech will help refine your ‘What Makes You Come Alive’ list, morals and values into a few sentences that you can carry with you into all of your decision-making moments.
Where Is The Elevator Taking You?
Then, think about where this elevator is taking you. Where’s your future? Picture it, every detail of it, and remember it when you are making decisions so you don’t get off-track. It’s easy to make right-now decisions that can wreck your big picture. Don’t let that happen. Don’t let your future get lost in the temptation to make quick decisions today.
What Is Your Gut Saying?
I have a strong intuition that works for and against me. It works for me because I usually can sense things before they happen, and sense exactly what I need to do. It works against me because I usually sense things before they happen, and sense exactly what I need to do even if I don’t want to do it. That little tug at your gut is the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Don’t ignore it, and trust it more than anything else you’ve read in this post.
When you know who you are and where you are going, it becomes a lot easier to know what decisions you have to make. It helps to have good people around you, like my mom, to step in every now and then and remind you of where you are going. Ninety-nine percent of the time you know exactly what you need to do, you just need help carrying it out. This process will help you reveal what you know, and push you to make the decision you need to make in your life. It definitely helps me!
– Marji J. Sherman