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Decisions

Indecision is still decision

I’ve been hyper-focused making decisions.

From taking inventory of my current decisions to making better decisions for the future, I’ve been doing my best to become more mindful.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed something about myself that probably applies to many others:

I procrastinate with some decisions and immediately take action on others.

Can you guess which ones are which?

It’s probably pretty obvious - I tend to put off larger decisions that have long-term results and take action on those that are relatively easy and have immediate impact.

For example, I’ve set a goal to open a high-interest, online savings account in order to start a new emergency fund. This was almost a month ago.

Why haven’t I followed through yet?

Probably for the same reason most people use - I’m afraid of making the “wrong” choice.

It’s easy to forget that, in the grand scheme of things, indecision is still a decision. In fact, it’s the worst decision you can make because you aren’t owning the outcome.

Like most things, it’s a matter of simply making a decision and, if needed, tweaking it later.

Once you make one major decision, the momentum carries over to the next and, before you know it, each one becomes a little easier.

Adopting a "one less" mindset

Like many people who struggle with bad habits, I’ve developed a “one more” mindset over the years.

Without even thinking twice, I’ll have “one more” drink, stay out “one more” hour, or try to squeeze in “one more” task while I’m working.

What’s the harm in this?

Like most things, it wouldn’t be that bad if it was just once in a while.

Unfortunately, it isn’t just once. These moments of “one more” compound on each other and end up biting me in the ass. One more drink + one more hour out with friends = one less productive morning.

Instead, what would things look like if I focused on developing a “one less” mindset?

I would probably feel a little better if I had one less drink, I wouldn’t be as grumpy if I spent one less hour out, and I definitely wouldn’t be as stressed out if I took on one less obligation - I would have way more mental bandwidth for the things that matter most to me.

The question is: how does someone adopt this “one less” mindset when they’ve built up a series of unhealthy habits that make it easier to say, “I’ll have one more…”?

I’m not exactly sure yet, but this is a question that deserves at least one more minute of my time.

What does my future look like?

I came to a pretty tough realization this morning:

As much as I think about the future, I don’t turn those thoughts into concrete plans nearly enough.

It’s not that I’m oblivious - I have an (almost) daily reminder in my journal to answer the same, elusive question:

What does my future look like?

This question has become a little more complicated since I started my new job at Slalom.

Not only does a full-time job force you to make the most of your extra time, a job with this company means you also get to play an active role in piecing together your own career.

As amazing as this is, it doesn’t make clarifying my future an easier.

If I had to guess, I’m suffering from the same problem a lot of people do. Planning for the future is hard, time-consuming, and doesn’t provide any instant gratification.

In other words, it goes again human nature. Most of us are hyper-focused on the here and now and don’t prioritize actions that have delayed results.

Unfortunately, it usually takes something extreme or jarring to drive the point home.

I don’t want to wait for something to make me change my ways. I want to play an active role in creating my own path and shaping my future.

Now all I have to do is sit down, shut up, and answer this question…

Biting off more than I can chew

I’ve always had a hard time saying, “No” to new opportunities.

You could say I’m addicted to the rush that comes with a new project or idea.

However, as many of us learn (the hard way), saying, “Yes” to everything is one of the quickest ways to welcome disappointment.

Personally, I thought I could handle my new job, freelance work, new projects with my company Viabl, and writing while somehow still balancing my relationship with my fiancé.

As I’ve quickly found out, I’m not doing as well as I thought.

I received my first email from a client mentioning the timeframe built into our contract.

As someone who prides myself one helping others take their ideas from zero to one quicker than anyone else, reading this was both a gut punch and a reality check.

I’ve always focused on successfully managing the expectations of the people I help. When I fail to meet a certain expectation I set, it communicates a lack of professionalism.

Now that I have less time each day, I have to be even more realistic with my commitments.

That’s why, once I finish my outstanding freelance work, I’ll be taking a small break to reevaluate where I want to go and, more importantly, how much I can take.

For all of you who have never worked with your own clients, I can’t stress enough the importance of managing expectations (and clear communication).

It can make or break your career.

First day of October

It’s the first day of October.

That means sweater weather, pumpkin ale, and bonfires with friends.

For those of you in the corporate world, it also means the beginning of the fourth quarter.

You know, the time of year when, thanks to the holidays, your office is either in total chaos or a barren ghost town.

Usually around this time, I find myself revisiting my final goals for the year.

When you work for yourself, this is one of the most important things you can do in order to ensure a smooth transition into the next year.

The thing is, with my new job comes a newfound sense of calmness.

For the first time in my life, I don’t have to necessarily worry about where my next paycheck is coming from.

Instead, I can focus on growing my relationships, both inside and outside of the office.

This means more quality time with friends and family - the kind where you lose track of the hours thanks to sharing stories and laughing so hard your stomach hurts.

At the same time, I’m nowhere near finished creating my own path. In fact, thanks to this peace of mind, I’ll be able to make the most of my time instead of spinning my wheels.

I’ll finally have the mental bandwidth to set clear, realistic goals instead of living with the constant pressure of exceeding my own unrealistic expectations.

What does the first day of October mean for you?

Not another lazy Sunday

I’m sitting in a coffee shop with a much clearer mind than usual.

During a “normal” Sunday morning, there’s a good chance I would still be in bed, avoiding the constant nagging of my phone alarm.

I would probably feel groggy from a late night of drinking with friends, unmotivated to do anything but curb a stubborn hangover.

My morning routine would be in shambles as I haphazardly figure out what to make for breakfast.

Instead, I’m almost finished with my routine, checking things off my to-do list as I make my way to freelance work that I’ve been neglecting over the past few weeks.

Today, I truly understand why I don’t always need that extra drink or just one more hour out with friends. Sure, it might feel good in the moment, but it’s almost never worth it in the long run.

It’s morning like these that remind me what it means to set yourself up for success.

I’m grateful for a Sunday morning that isn’t so lazy.

Questions I often ask myself

  • What problem, if I solve now, will have the biggest impact on the rest of my life?
  • How can I set myself up for success tomorrow?
  • What is the most important thing I can accomplish today?
  • How can I live a more intentional life?
  • Are my short-term actions aligning with my long-term goals?
  • How can I do things that compound into the future?
  • Will my ambition get the best of me?
  • How can I create a routine around this goal?
  • Is this the best use of my time?
  • How can I help others create their own paths?
  • What is one step I can take to make this idea happen?
  • How can I avoid making the same mistakes?
  • Will I ever be satisfied?
  • How can I connect existing dots instead of creating more?
  • Will anyone find this valuable?

Change is coming

As someone who thrives amongst the chaos of everyday life, I tend to welcome change.

In my mind, it allows us to grow and adapt while learning more about ourselves in a shorter period of time.

At this point, I'm ready for a significant change, a new chapter in which I can reshape my story.

It's not that I'm unhappy, I just have veered a little off course and I would like to get back on track.

In an ideal world, I could make a change like this on my own. However, I'm self-aware enough to know that I am more externally motivated than anything else.

Put me in an environment in which others are thriving and succeeding, and I will rise to the occasion. Ask me to do the same on my own, and admittedly, it will take me much longer.

I look forward to the discomfort that inevitably comes with change. This sort of friction is productive, much like the pressure needed to turn carbon into a diamond. There isn't anything necessarily wrong with carbon but, if you ask me, I would much rather be a diamond.


Coffee and tea

This morning was like any other.

I woke up and groggily stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee.

However, instead of grinding coffee grounds, I decided to try something different: I chose to make a cup of tea.

It's funny how coffee and tea are essentially the same - grounds or leaves steeped in hot water, but we look at them in very different ways.

We hear famous phrases like, "Coffee is for closers!" or "Never trust anyone who doesn't drink coffee" implying that coffee is meant for those who want to be awake and productive.

On the flip side, tea is seen as a way to relax or a soothing drink when we're sick with a sore throat.

With this in mind, I realized I should probably drink more tea. I'm always constantly thinking about what I need to do next and how I can be more productive. What I should be doing is finding ways to relax and be more present.

Regardless of whether or not I drink more tea or coffee, I think it's safe to say that either one is better than having another beer...


Compromise

Whether we realize it or not, compromise is part of everyday life.

From navigating workplace politics to finding common ground in a relationship, playing well with others is key when it comes to future success. 

Just because this is true doesn't make it any easier.

I have to admit, as someone who can be very stubborn, I sometimes have a hard time with compromise. I'd like to think that when it comes to major decisions, I can go 50/50 on almost anything.

However, my stubbornness tends to come out with smaller, more frequent choices.

You know, the "Where do you want to eat?" kind or the "What do you want to watch?" variety.

Regardless of the kind of compromise you're making, I think the most important part is paying attention to long-term trends.

Are you unwilling to compromise nines times out of ten? Do you always have your way when it comes to one specific type of decision?

If you ask me, these trends say a lot more than a one-off decision.


Decisions

I'll be the first to admit - I'm not the most decisive person.

Like plenty of others, I have defaulted far too many times to the nefarious decision by indecision.

Decisions like choosing a movie on Netflix or finding a place to eat don't really require that much effort. After all, we're not talking about life and death here.

However, when an important decision comes along, we can't help but fall back on our habits.

Do you have a new job opportunity? Are you deciding where to travel for vacation? As you can tell, these decisions impact our lives way more than other, more trivial things.

We've all heard practice makes perfect, right? Why not apply this mantra to the way in which we make decisions. Use the smaller choices to practice being decisive and, when the larger ones pop up, they won't be as paralyzing.