One of the biggest challenges I find that my clients have that crosses multiple topics we are discussing – be it in business or be in it life – its all about how to narrow down the choices they have or even better yet to select the perfect one, the treasure at the end of the rainbow. By the way, this is like finding a needle in a haystack (a story for another time!).
Now often, the reason behind the struggle to choosing is defining what you want to achieve, said differently, what is your criteria. The answer is as simple as that but getting to the magic list of criteria can be complex and require much courage from oneself to get there.
Lets pause and think about this for a moment, if you are given a number of products to choose from, lets say condiments, like tomato sauce, chutney, mayonnaise and sweet mustard. Now you are asked to select one without asking any further questions. More than likely you will choose your favourite one. And perhaps after you select an option they remove this option and ask you to continue to select. With this new information it could be assumed they are asking you to narrow down your choices and if you knew this from the beginning your choices would of been different right?
And this is what I mean by developing a set of criteria to help you define your choice, without it you can pretty much take any path, because if you don’t know where you want to go to it wont matter where you go and most times you actually find you sit at those crossroads and go no where – much like a airplane in a holding pattern waiting to land.
If you feel you are in such a holding pattern, lets take a moment to try the following practice out below. Try it as many times as you feel you need to until you have found that you have chosen a path.
1. What is the decision I am struggling with?
2. What are my options? How many have you listed? 2, perhaps 3? Try to list at least 5 other options and believe me there are many alternatives. (And I am most certainly up for the challenge if you feel you can’t find any more!)
3. Now that you have the decision and the options that you have been able to think of. Lets think about what you are wanting to achieve. Try to describe what it is you are wanting in terms of the result. How will you be able to measure this, in other words, how will you know when this result is achieve?. Aim for at least 3 measurable results.
4. Okay, now take these results and use them as “criteria” and compare them to the options you have and perhaps even the decision you have. You might very well find that you end up seeing more options. Take all the options and evaluate them.
5. Pause and consider the results of the evaluation. Can you narrow down your options? Now that you have the options left that meet your first level of criteria – perhaps its time to go to the next level of criteria (go to step 3 and repeat from there).
6. Continue till you have chosen a path.
Are you about to move on without trying the practice above. What do you have to lose? Try it out.
Happy path hunting!