Want More Career Options? Make More Decisions.
Afraid of making the wrong career move?
When you’re at a crossroads and determining the path forward, try reframing your decision not as a one-shot deal to get right or wrong but as a series of choices that lead to your goal.
Each choice has the potential to bring you closer to your objective. Each choice has consequences.
Sometimes you accurately predict the consequences; sometimes you don’t.
Unintended consequences aren’t mistakes; they’re opportunities to make additional choices. This is a beautiful thing.
If you don’t like the results, guess what? It’s time to make another decision.
A client recently announced she’d made “several mistakes” in her job search. Her choices and hard work had led to several opportunities. To her, these felt like mistakes because the options and timing didn’t unfold as she’d expected.
Life so rarely lays itself out in a straight line. The choices we make are often wooly and challenging to unwind. Then we put pressure on ourselves to pick the right one instead of the best one given the information we have at this time.
We play the options against one another: viewing three options as one to get right and two to get wrong rather than three different ways to get it right.
The path she chooses might not be perfect forever, but it will bring her into better alignment with her goals. If and when that path takes her out of alignment, she’ll choose again.
During a particularly challenging point in my corporate career, as I approached the office each morning, I’d imagine two scenarios:
Walk through the revolving doors and work another day, or
Keep on walkin’.
I gave myself a choice every day. I didn’t have to walk through those doors.
I'd mentally play out the consequences of each scenario: What would happen if I walked through the doors? What would happen if I didn't? Then I'd make the choice for that day only, knowing that I could make a different choice the next day (or even later the same day, if things got really bad).
Some days that set of consequences was harder to weigh. The key was evaluating what I wanted versus what I was choosing, then honoring the decision and accepting the results that I had chosen.
That simple exercise gave me the power to decide which set of outcomes aligned with what was most important to me at that moment. Daily choice helped me take responsibility for the life I was creating for myself through my own decisions. It also focused me on the purpose. If I was choosing to walk into an environment I hated, I was darn sure going to make it mean something.
Eventually, I'd walk through those doors for the last time. (And, no, I didn’t ever keep on walkin' although it would've made for a much better story.)
You always have a choice. Not choosing is a choice.
We get lost, we take detours, we knowingly head in the *opposite* direction of what makes us happy. Sometimes we divine a suitable path, sometimes we stumble onto it.
Your career is a string of choices that allow you to create and walk the career path of your own design. Strung together, your choices reveal not a binary sequence of black & white, good & bad, right & wrong, but a vibrant spectrum of experiences and opportunities.
Want to open your eyes to career possibilities you didn’t even know existed? Get clear on what you really want, then keep making choices.
Scroll down to comment and share.