have to make a decision -- and I can't afford to make a mistake!"
I hear this comment frequently
from clients who call me. Here's what I suggest to them.
Some folks believe there
are no bad decisions. . If you turn left instead of right, you
think you've made a mistake -- till you realize this detour is
actually a shortcut to the destination of your dreams.
But if you're standing at
a fork in the road, here are some guidelines that others have
1. Know who you are and
what you want -- today.
You spent a life as the quintessential urban resident and now
seek the countryside. You enjoyed twenty years of law or medicine
or sales, and now you find yourself writing poetry and making
time to help a third-grader learn to read. Yesterday's decision
rules won't work any longer.
2. Be willing to walk away if you're not ready to sign
on the dotted line. You always have choices. If you're supposed
to have that house or that job, it will be there tomorrow.
3.Share your plans with
friends, family and colleagues.
Pay attention to how you feel when you share. Pay less attention
to their reactions.
4 Uncertainty is a sign
that you need more information. Talk
to people who have been there. Book knowledge and internet knowledge
will be outdated by the time you read it.
5. If you turn right,
what is the worst that could happen -- a year from now? Five years down the road?
How does that compare to the worst case scenario of turning left?
6. Some people sleep soundly when they don't know where they
will get the next mortgage payment. Others toss and turn when
their checking account falls below ten thousand dollars. When
you live in your own comfort zone, you attract more opportunity.
7, Decisiveness may be
valued by your corporate
or social culture. In a transition, fast decisions can actually
slow you down. Most people have more energy for starting up than
8. Intuition is your source
of power. Keep your
batteries charged. Meditate, write in a journal, spend solitary
time outdoors. If you feel uncertain or intimidated, go away
until you feel stronger.
9. Don't dive right in. Dip a toe into the water. Warm?
Start wading. Do you find yourself waving good-by to the people
left behind? Are your toes curling happily into the wet sand?
Or are you finding sharp rocks, icy water and harsh tides? Do
you feel ready to take off and swim to the other side of the
world? You can still turn back, but do you want to?
10. Once you've committed
to the decision, keep looking ahead. One of my happiest friends says, "I don't
agonize over a decision. I assume whatever I chose is right for
me and go full speed ahead."
At the same time, remember
that few decisions turn into a life sentence. You can always
review your new life, get out the maps, and chart a new course
for your future.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.
Author, Career Consultant, Speaker
*Fast Track to Career Freedom*