Monday Mornings with Madison


There are times in your business life, as in your personal life, when you feel that you must make a big decision. Should you change careers? Should you move into a new industry? Should you look for a different type of position in your current industry? Should you take that big chance to bring your business up to the next level?

For many people, such turning points are highly stressful. They often avoid making these decisions and in doing so, they sometimes lose out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. This happens because they don’t yet know how to look at decision-making from the right perspective. If you tend to fall into this group, consider a few tips that will help you make decisions faster and with less stress. After all, if you want to achieve anything significant in life, you do have to make some big decisions. 

Why now?          Take time to think through why you feel you must make a decision now. Usually this sense of pressure comes from some discomfort that you are currently experiencing. You want to convert this distress into something more comfortable, although making a change may also seem painful and stressful. You don’t want to stay where you are but you are also afraid of what could happen if you make the wrong change. You may, however, need to consider other options that would relieve your distress but that wouldn’t involve making a major decision right now.

What will you gain?       In order to move forward, you also need to be clear about why you want this particular change. What benefit or pleasure will you gain if you achieve it? And how painful will it be if you don’t?  By making a decisive choice, you probably feel that you will attain the future you desire. But do you know clearly how this decision will impact your future? If not, you can stress yourself for weeks and months on end as you waver back and forth. This means that you will have wasted time that could have been used to accomplish what you want.

Get good information      The more information you have before making any decision, the easier it will be to create an effective action plan. You can reach out to others who have already made a similar move to discover their results. You might learn from them some tips on how to accomplish your goals faster and more effectively. On the other hand, you may decide after speaking with them that you are not ready to embark on a change of course.  A word of caution here: make sure you seek advice from people you admire and respect for their abilities and success.

Decide       Set yourself a deadline for making the decision. Give yourself enough time to think through the options and to speak with the right people. Then you need to decide and move on. You may be tempted to avoid decision-making because you hope that somehow your dilemma will disappear or some easy alternative will appear. Successful people, however, always set themselves a deadline and then stick to it.

Get moving        Once you have made your decision, avoid second-guessing yourself. Don’t let your mind wander off into “what if” thinking. This will only add stress at a time when you should be acting on your decision. Instead, start with the end in mind. What will life look like when you’ve attained your goal? Break down your decision into smaller steps and figure out how much time each step will take. Then take the first step on your list and, in some way, act on it.  In taking action, no matter how small that action may be, you will draw strength from the simple force of momentum.Celebrate     Keep your end result in mind all the time, but celebrate every step you accomplish. Acknowledging your own progress will add to your sense of confidence that you are on the right track. You will start to believe that you can achieve your end result, no matter how long it takes and how difficult it may be along the way.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
John F. Kennedy

© 2009 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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