8 Tips For Overcoming a Bad Decision or Mistake, or “Why I’m Not a Kettle Corn Millionaire”

We’ve been talking about decision making, specifically how to make good decisions, here at Life Compass. Last time, I shared 7 strategies to help you increase your chances for success in the decision making process.

But, what if it’s too late, because you’re already in a tough situation?  Or what if, despite your best efforts in the decision making process, you end up with a decision that goes awry, or discover you made the wrong choice?  Perhaps it’s because you made a mistake in how you implemented the decision. Or maybe it is due to external factors or unintended consequences? [Read more…]

The Decision Making Process: 7 Strategies for Success

Tough Decisions Ahead Road SignThe ability to make good decisions is a key to success in life, and in maintaining work-life balance, wouldn’t you agree?

Yet many of us, myself included, struggle at times in the decision making process, for fear that we’ll choose the wrong option.

This is especially true when it comes to important decisions regarding our family, career, business, etc.

Like whether to go back to school, quit your job, start that business you’ve always wanted, start a family, or work from home. Or maybe decisions regarding how to care for an elderly parent or how to help your child pay for college/university.

Yesterday, in my post on How to Make Good Decisions, I promised I’d give you some tips on how to make good decisions, so…

the decision making process

Here are some seven tips on how you can improve your chances for success in the decision making process:

  1. Embrace the decision making process – Yogi Berra said, “When you come to the fork in the road…take it.” My interpretation is that when you are faced with a decision, embrace it. Don’t shy away from it.
  2. Start with a well-defined goal – Be sure you fully understand the question or problem before you make a decision or provide an answer.  As one of my mentors says,” Sometimes, how we see the problem is the problem.”  If the decision has to do with major areas of your life, like your career, family, finances, etc., you really need to develop a life plan so you know where you’re going.  Decision making is easier when you have a clear goal in mind, because you choose from choices that will move you toward that goal and avoid choices that won’t.
  3. Seek wise counsel – Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, said “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success.” (Proverbs 15:22)  Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – from wise people you know, or even from people you don’t know personally, but you know they have experience you can gain from.  Most people are more than willing to share what they know, if it’ll help someone else.
  4. Don’t fall into the trap of the paralysis of analysis – While it is important to weigh all the options, don’t allow yourself to freeze up for fear that you’ll make a wrong decision.  A friend said, “A good decision is not always the best decision, but it is better than no decision.”
  5. Resolve yourself to the fact that you may not make a perfect decision –  You’ll never know all the things that you don’t know about a given situation.  Be diligent in doing the best research you can, make your decision, and be OK with it.
  6. Pre-make your decision – If you have the luxury of time (and let’s face it, sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t) make a decision and then sit on it a while.  Spend a few days, a week or a month living in the decision, as if it had already been made.  For example, if you’re considering whether to take out a loan to buy a car, and the payment will be $300 a month, start living that way now by putting away $300 a month into savings.  How does it feel?  How does it impact your other spending decisions?  Does it line up with your financial goals and life plan?  Them imagine what it would feel like a year from now?  Does it still feel good and seem like it makes sense for you?
  7. Make your decision with FOCUS – Once you’ve made your decision, go all-in with your decision.  Don’t second-guess yourself or try to re-analyze it.  I love this acronym from Nicole Dean:  Follow One Course Until Successful.  Figure out all the things you need to do now that you’ve made your decision, make a plan, and do them until it’s done.

Would you add anything to this list?  Have any of these strategies benefited you in the past?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.  In my next post, we’ll explore ways to recover from, and make the most of, a bad decision.

You might also like:
How knowing your life’s purpose will help you make great decisions
How to turn problems into opportunities
Decision making process – WWJD?

Pillar #10 – Review and Track Your Progress

Welcome back to Life Compass, where I’m sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design.  Congratulations on making it to the end!  Here’s what we’ve covered so far in the first nine Pillars:

In this post, we’ll cover the final Pillar, Pillar #10 – Review and Track Your Progress.

A wise person once said, “What is expected must be inspected.”  The point here is that we need to set aside a regular time to inspect or check the progress of our targets or goals.

This is another area where many people fall short in achieving success.  They set out with the best of intentions when they make their goal, but if they don’t visualize their success on a regular basis (Pillar #9) and set aside a time to review and track their progress, they lose sight of the goal and it gets forgotten.

I recommend you set aside at least an hour every week to review and track your progress.  Maybe you choose a time at the beginning of the week or maybe toward the end.

Go over your Master Dream List and add any new ones that come to mind.  Then review your life purpose, values, and Plan of Action.  Are you on track with the goals and deadlines you set?  Have you set aside enough time in your week to accomplish the goals that have the highest priority?  Do you need to adjust your deadlines, or set aside extra time in order to complete them?  Have you achieved any goals that you can celebrate this week?

If you stick with it, the weekly review will become one of your best allies in achieving your dream life, because you’ll have a set time to review your progress, make adjustments, and celebrate successes!

That’s Pillar #10 – Review and Track Your Progress.  I hope these 10 Pillars of Lifestyle Design have been a help to you in designing the life of your dreams.  Now the achievement of those dreams is up to you!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me!


Life Change For the Right Reasons

If you’re new to Life Compass Blog, on Sundays I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics.  Click here to read why.

Are there right reasons…and wrong reasons…to engage in a Life Change process? I think so. I’ve encountered more than a few people who want more money for the sake of having more money. And want more free time just so they can travel more and be entertained more.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting more money, wanting to travel, or enjoying entertainment. But if those things are the focus of our efforts, if they’re the reason we want to re-organize our lives, I believe we’ll be disappointed pretty quickly.

Why? Because more stuff is never enough. And more things can’t bring happiness.

Solomon, one of the kings of ancient Israel, was known as the wisest man of his day…perhaps of all time.

He had it all….hundreds of women (I’d question his wisdom a bit, on this point), dozens of palaces, the finest clothes, food and toys a guy could ever want.

Later in his life, he wrote a book called Ecclesiastes, which contains a lot of wisdom he learned from all his life’s experiences – both good and bad.

In it, he tells us that he “denied himself no good thing”. He chased after, and achieved, every single thing he wanted.

But in the end, it was all “meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). None of his belongings could end his longing for more. I think it was because he had the wrong motivation.

When it was all said and done, he realized that God is the source of true happiness and joy, and that he needed to recognize and thank God as the giver all the good things we could ever want (Ecclesiastes 2:24-16).

So, my question for you today is this: What’s your motivation for living, and for wanting to achieve your dreams? Is it just to get more stuff, or is there a higher purpose?

Birthday – Annual Life Review

Today is my birthday.  I’m a little bit older, a little more greyer…and hopefully a little more wiser.  A birthday is a great time to spend with the people who matter most to you – your family and friends.  I believe it is also a great day to spend a little time alone to do an annual life review.  If you can’t do it on your actual birthday, plan another time within the week.  Don’t let this opportunity slip away!

There are three basic steps to an annual life review:

  1. Assess your current reality in your key life areas.
  2. Compare where you’re at today to the targets or  benchmarks you previously set.
  3. Celebrate your progress or determine what mid-course corrections, if any, need to be made.

It’s also a great day to look at your Master Dream List to see how you’re doing at achieving those dreams.  Of course, you can also delete any dreams that aren’t so important to you anymore, or add new ones to the list.

For extra credit, ask your family and friends for their opinion on how you’re doing.  Ask them to share a way you’ve blessed or impacted their life in the last year.  And ask them for a suggestion of something you ought to do in the next year – maybe it is something in your life that they think needs attention, or maybe it is a book they think would add value to your life, or some kind of experience.

And take some time to express gratitude for your life.  If you believe in the Creator as I do, then take the time to thank Him for giving you life, and ask for His help to live more on-purpose in the next year.  If not, then find some other way to express your gratitude and your intention.  Try it, and I think you’ll agree with me that there is power in the attitude of gratitude – on your birthday, or any day of the year.

Pillar #5 – Reveal Your Personal Values

Welcome back to Life Compass, where I’m sharing my Ten Pillars of Lifestyle Design. So far, we’ve covered:

Now I’ll share Pillar #5 – Reveal Your Personal Values. Last time I mentioned you’ll want to keep your Life Area sheets handy, because you’ll need them for this next step.

Each of us have a set of personal values, or beliefs that impact each Life Area.  These values, or beliefs, guide us when we are faced with choices, set priorities, and make decisions.

We all have a tendency to “default” to unconscious values or beliefs that have shaped us due to influences or decisions from the past.  This shows just how powerful our values and beliefs are, and how important it is for us to consciously determine our values for each life area.

For example, those who have been told that they’ll never amount to anything in life end up believing this is true.  Therefore while they may say they want to make change in a certain area of their life, they fail to take action to change their current reality because they believe deep down that it will make no difference.

So, in this step, I want you to take each of your Life Area Worksheets and write down what you currently value or believe about each Life Area.  This will require some thought…and quite a bit of honesty.

Example:  Life Area – Health

Current values/beliefs: I can eat or drink whatever I want and it doesn’t matter.  I don’t really care how much I weigh or how I look.  No amount of exercise will make a difference in my life.

Once you’ve written them down, take a good look.  Is what you’ve written satisfactory to you?   Does it match the dreams you’ve listed or your life purpose or preferred future?  If not, then write out new values or beliefs that do.  Here’s an example:

New values/beliefs: I value maintaining my ideal weight.  I value regular exercise to maintain my body and keep it in good condition.  I value drinking water more often than I do soda pop.  I value choosing fresh foods over processed foods.

Example: Life Area – Family

Current values/beliefs: I’d rather read the paper and watch television than talk with or do things with my spouse.  My work comes before my family – after all, if I don’t get paid, they don’t eat.

New values/beliefs: I regard my marriage as the most important personal relationship in my life.  I spend quality time with each member of my family every week.  I teach my children to manage money and use it wisely.  I keep communication open and comfortable with every member of my family.

Allow yourself plenty of time to do this.  And if you get stumped and can’t think of any values or beliefs for one life area, just skip it for now and move on to the next.

That’s Lifestyle Design Pillar #5 – Reveal Your Personal Values.  Congratulations, you’re half-way through the Lifestyle Design process, and you’re moving closer to achieving your dreams and finding more freedom, purpose and fulfillment in your life and work!

In the next installment, we’ll cover Pillar #6 – Set Well-Defined Goals.