We can be faced with making decisions multiple times per day, almost every day in our lives. Some people are very decisive and easily, almost effortlessly make decisions that might seem life changing to others. The decision spectrum can range from “What should I wear today?” all the way to, “What should I do with my life?” Of course the latter question is challenging for most of us. For those who are not fortunate enough to have a passion or calling that can become a career, this can be a daunting question. Like any challenge that may seem overwhelming, I like to step back and break the challenge into smaller pieces. The smaller pieces that make up this challenge will be unique to each person.
Uncovering the smaller pieces will likely require and include some self-reflection, perspective, objectivity (hopefully from a support network or perhaps from a professional), and determining your priorities. There are more ingredients to this recipe, but in order to keep this post concise, I will concentrate on determining your priorities as part of the process to overcome the challenge of making significant decisions in your life. If you can work out what your priorities are in terms of your family, friends, life and career, this can help work out where you can focus your energy in terms of decisions about your life and career.
Starting with your priorities as the basis from which to work, you should be able to eliminate any options that deviate from your key priorities. A simplified example would be if you chose quality time with your family as a priority over financial gain at work. Perhaps there is a promotion available at work that requires you to move to another city, and increase your work-related travel to 50%. While the increase to your salary may be attractive, it would be at the expense of re-locating your partner and children, plus spending less time with them overall. If you have already prioritized your family in this context, this promotion would likely be an opportunity that you would not consider. Complications may arise if the financial gain is considerable, so you may need to re-evaluate your priorities and determine if the financial gain might mitigate losing time with your family for a given period. In the long term, your decision could help your children with college/university, or benefit in another way some time in the future.
A dilemma such as this may require you to take another step back if confusion ensues. You may need to take an inventory of your values. Taking stock of your values can help you re-align your priorities, if necessary. There are a number of techniques that assist with this process. It would also be prudent to have an objective view to guide this process. It should also be done as part of an overall decision-making method. Decision-making can be difficult, but it does not have to be debilitating. Sometimes, the hardest step can be to make the decision to ask for help.