Making decisions is hard. And there are so many to make! We’re constantly bombarded with choices at every turn; both personally and professionally. When we have decision-making fatigue, we start to get reactive and we tend to choose something without much thought or intention. We’ve all done it. These bad, or at least less than thoughtful choices can lead to lost revenue, lost sleep, and overall unhappiness.
Several years ago, I was struggling with a particularly life-changing decision and a good friend of mine shared this strategy with me. It was imparted to him during a difficult time and I like to think it’s impactful enough to keep passing it on to others. This approach has changed my life and now all decisions are remarkably simple.
It includes 3 metrics – just 3, and it helps me make the right choice every. Single. Time.
When it’s time to make an important decision, whether personal or professional, I ask myself three questions:
1. Does it teach me something?
2. Does it bring me joy?
3. Does it pay me well?
The general rule of thumb is that whatever event or opportunity I’m considering, it MUST meet one of these criteria. If it doesn’t teach me something, bring me joy, or pay me well, it’s a resounding NO without another thought. After all, time is a finite resource and as my business coach taught me, saying yes to one thing, means saying no to something else.
Everything is a choice.
I’ve since taken this process a step further and now require that most investments of my time or money meet not one, but two of the criteria. This addition all but guarantees that I will be happy with my selection. Basically, it shakes out like this:
If the opportunity or event checks all 3 boxes, it’s a resounding yes.
If it checks 2 out of 3, it’s a probably yes.
If it checks 1 out of 3, it’s a solid maybe.
Furthermore, I learned that, if the only box checked is, “does it pay me well?” then I need to think long and hard about my final answer. Experience has taught me that the things we do solely for money are not always worth it. I’ve taken on some professional projects that paid me very well but, in the process, made me very unhappy and, if given the opportunity for a do over, I would say no. So, for me, personally, if it teaches me or brings me joy, I’m good to move forward, if its all for the money, I take my time and think it through.
And there you have it; my recipe for regret-free decision making – as easy as 1, 2, 3!