Photo via unsplash
At regular intervals in your life, you have to make that challenging next big decision.
Life goes along just fine until one day you instinctively know that you have to make a giant change. This change comes about because we need to keep growing. Otherwise we die inside.
Making that next big decision has been something I’ve had to become an expert in over the last 12 months. I had to make the following big decisions:
– Am I always going to be a salesperson or can I go back to being a leader again?
– Is it possible to overcome my fear of public speaking so I can inspire people?
– Is traveling the world something I’m always going to be stopped from doing?
– Where is my love life going? Will I always be single or with someone who’s not right?
These have been very tough decisions to make.
I’ve had some epic failures trying to answer these questions. Here are some examples:
– I tried becoming more technical in my career. I hated it. I only enjoy high-level technical info.
– I gave a few speeches and sucked big time. My face was as red as a tomato.
– I went on a few overseas trips and fear nearly got the best of me.
– I made a bold move to go on lots of dates and find a girl that was right for me. Most of my attempts failed — except one.
Right now, the reason I’m writing this blog post is because I need to change my career. I’ve stopped learning. I’m starting to think I know everything in my field of expertise. I’ve become comfortable. I’m experiencing frustration because I’m surrounded by the wrong people.
These are all warning signs that it’s time to make the next big decision in your life.
Making the next big decision is playing on the offense.
Playing on the offense means that you are being proactive. It means you are skating to where the puck in Ice Hockey is going, not where it is right at this point in time.
The moment you start playing defense and protecting your position, you stop growing.
“Standing still is like being in the middle of a battlefield with no gun and no ammo and hoping not to get shot”
To stay on the offense, you have to recognize the signs I mentioned above and then make that big decision. When you’re forced to make that next big decision, that’s when you’re screwed. Being forced to make the decision means that you no longer have time on your side.
You end up settling for second best because you are in a hurry to make that big decision and you can’t proactively figure out what’s right for you. You don’t get the chance to speak with your network or your mentors and sense check what your next move is going to be.
Become comfortable with not having all the answers.
Making the next big decision will require you to be okay with not having all the answers. While you can do your research and speak to people who you trust about the decision, you won’t know the outcome until you try.
Maybe you’ll hate your next career move.
Maybe starting a business is the worst idea for you.
Maybe marrying that person will end in divorce.
It’s impossible to know the answers beforehand so you have to understand that things could go your way or they could end in disaster. This is a positive.
“You either get what you want, or you get to learn one of those life lessons that will help you become more self-aware and make you more resilient”
Not making that big decision is far worse.
You’ll know when you’ve reached the crossroad. Deep down you’ll know when it’s time to make that next gigantic step. Ignoring the signs is far worse than making that big decision and then having it all blow up in your face.
Failing to make that big decision ends up in regret.
“Regret slowly eats away at your confidence and your ability to be courageous”
Your head becomes full of white noise that drowns out the good ideas and clear thinking that will make you successful.
Go and meet people who are seventy years of age and older at a retirement village. Listen to their regrets and the decisions they wish they made. This will give you perspective. Continually dreaming about where that next big decision could lead is a waste of your energy.
Try something new for three months and then if it doesn’t work out it’s cool. There are thousands of opportunities and there is no one thing, no one person, no one idea, no one business that will give you everything you want.
Prepare and execute.
Big decisions creep up on you like a snake ready to bite you in the ass for disrupting its sunbaking session with your loud ass walking. If you don’t prepare, then you’ll get taken by surprise. Get good at writing lists on your phone.
Be prepared for the possible outcomes of your big decision and work out if there are more positives than negatives.
Once you are prepared, face into the decision and execute. Take the island and burn the boats behind you. Rip up your Plan B and execute like your life depends on it (well it does actually).
Be prepared to be blindsided.
That’s right. Surprises are going to happen. You can plan and still have the whole decision blow up in your face. Be prepared for stuff to come out of nowhere and risk everything you’ve put on the line.
Screenshot by author
I’m about to make my next career move and there are going to be things I can’t see. People are always going to tell you that working with them in their business is going to be amazing. They sell you the dream work-life balance, how great the people are, how you’re going to change the world.
It’s near impossible to know if they’re full of the brown stuff, but that’s okay. Trust your gut. If it all falls apart, then you get to make the next big decision far quicker than you expected.
In my case, I’ve had so many big decisions go wrong that I’ve become an expert in making big decisions and preparing for the myriad of outcomes that could transpire.
When would now be a good time?
That’s what I tell myself when I’m faced with a big decision. The best time to decide is right now. It will never be the right time. You’ll never have enough knowledge, you’ll never be perfect, you’ll never be ready, the economy will never be right.
So if there’s never a good time, then the best time has to be now. You can’t predict the future so you may as well focus on right now and take the wild bull that is your life by the horns.
Act with courage and now will always be a good time. Keep jumping at pretend shadows and you’ll never make a decision.
Failing to make decisions is what’s stopping you from moving forward.
If you feel you’re not where you want to be or you’re unhappy with any part of your life, it’s because you haven’t made the big decisions.
You’re fat? Change your diet and go to the gym.
You’re broke? Learn to control your spending.
You’re unhappy? Decide to stop focusing on yourself and focus on others.
You’re poor? Go on the Internet and find ways to make extra money.
There’s always an answer to your problems. The answer is always to make the next big decision with courage. The answer is always to believe in yourself. Everything will work out for the best. Trust me.