5 Actionable Steps to Take When Making a Major Decision

We all have had that moment in our lives, or will at some point, where are presented with an opportunity that takes a lot of risk. Job offers, investment opportunities, moving to an unfamiliar location, etc. Whatever the opportunity may be, we need to make timely and informed decisions.

In order to do this, we need a strategy that allows us to identify the cost/benefit ratio in a timely matter. It can take some practice but it’s important that we learn how to objectively anticipate the positives as well as the challenges that could arise, and plan accordingly.

Here are a few ways to ensure that we make the right move when making a major decision…

1. Make sure your end goal is still achievable

It’s important to make decisions with our end goal in mind. For example, if our end goal is to travel the world then we need to have a job that allows us freedom of location and so working our way up at the same company located in one town is not going to give us that freedom no matter how much money we make. Conversely, if our end goal is to raise a family and settle in a certain area, then we need to ensure our opportunity allows us stability vs. uncertainty.

2. Talk to a few people that know you best

This is one of the best things we can do to get objective opinions. I would say pick the 3 people in your life that know you the best and ask them their opinion on the matter. These opinions need to be completely honest so you should establish with them that they are free to say anything without repercussions. To avoid biases pick one family member, one close friend, and one person from work. These are 3 separate areas of life where we tend to be a slightly different version of ourselves. We all act different in different situations, especially when going from our family lives, to our social lives, to our work lives. The core of who we are doesn’t change, but we definitely tend to put a different foot forward in each of these areas. Having 3 separate opinions from people who know us the most intimately in various aspects of our lives is a great way to find out about ourselves.

3. Sleep on it

This one should go without saying but big decisions shouldn’t be made in the moment. The example that comes to mind is the person that gets offered a job and is told they need to decide at that moment in the room. One, this should be a red flag. Two, this is a red flag. Our prospective employer should be understanding that we need time to think about it as well as talk it over with other people in our life that will be affected. Sleeping on it could take 24 hours or it could take a week, it’s up to you, and you should be able to take as much time as you need.

4. Do your homework

Calculate the cost-benefit of the opportunity. Where could you end up if you take the offer? Will you regret it if you refuse? If the decision is job related, what if you don’t grow professionally or financially a few years in? If that happens (and that’s more common than we want to think) will you still have been able to grow in other aspects of life outside of your job? Will you have had the time to keep moving your life forward, or will you be putting all your physical and mental energy into a job with an uncertain return?

5. Think about how you would advise a friend

This can take some practice to become good at but if you are able to look at the situation from an outsider's perspective, your gut will usually show you the truth. So how would you advise a best friend or a close loved one on the same situation? Picture them coming to you with the same concerns and write down all the advice that comes to your mind. This is a great way to remove emotion from the equation and find out how you really feel.

Follow the Author: Nick Banar


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