How To Make Decisions Like a Boss
Let’s be real, we have all been here: stuck in a position of having to decide between two (or more) different things, different paths, different choices. But how do we know which one is the best one?
We make choices every day. We choose to get up when our alarm goes off. We choose small things like what clothes to wear, food to eat, and texts to answer (or ignore!). We also choose big things like going to college or which career path to pursue. We choose to get married, move to a new city, buy a new house, or adopt a pet. Some choices are easy, and some are really hard. But when we’re stuck in the middle, how do we get out?
Sacrifices vs. Gains
When you’re thinking about the choice you have to make, ask yourself, “What sacrifices do I have to make to do option A? Option B?” Then ask yourself, “What will I gain from choosing option A? Option B?” Which sacrifices are you willing to make to have your desired outcome? Which outcome will make those sacrifices worth it?
Known vs. Unknown Consequences
The next thing to think about is the consequences to each decision. Here’s an example scenario:
“I need to decide between two apartments. Apartment A is more expensive, but I could walk to work and it’s in a cool downtown neighborhood. Apartment B is cheaper, but I would need to drive 30 minutes there and back.”
Some consequences to this choice are known. Which one would you rather deal with? Paying more money or spending more time in transit?
But then sometimes consequences are not known. Apartment A is in that downtown neighborhood, but there’s no grocery stores nearby which results in you having to drive further or take the bus each time you want to pick up some necessities. But then the commute from Apartment B – the one you thought would be 30 minutes – actually takes you closer to an hour in rush hour traffic so you know spend close to two hours a day in your car.
So which of the known consequences would you rather deal with to make those unknown consequences not seem so daunting?
Short-Term Rewards vs Long-Term Happiness
The older I get, the more perspective I have regarding making decisions in my life. There are some decisions I made to get a short-term reward that in the long run, didn’t add anything to my overall happiness. I may love shopping, but is buying another black sweater going to add to my happiness? Maybe for a short time. But, if I choose instead to use that $30 and buy a train ticket for a day trip somewhere – I’ll have those memories for much longer than I’ll have that sweater. So would you rather spend $30 at the bar every Saturday night or put that $120 a month towards funding a trip to the mountains… in Germany?
Deciding With Your Heart vs Your Brain
This is the hardest one. How do you decide something if logic tells you to make one choice, but your emotions want something the complete opposite? Your heart says take a chance and move to a new city, but your brain says stay where you’re comfortable and and already have a job. What do you choose?
First, you have to ask yourself: am I making this choice based on my own fear, insecurities, or anxieties?
Then ask: do I want to be ruled by those fears, insecurities, or anxieties?
And lastly: if I don’t choose a certain way because of those fears, will I regret not doing – or attempting – the other option?
Finally, let me answer the question you must have by now – “How DO I make decisions like a boss?”
The answer is simple: Take risks. But take smart ones. Because it is entirely possible to follow your heart and your passions by thinking with your brain.
I’ll be honest with you: I am almost 26 years old and my life looks nothing like I thought it would at this point. I am not working a job in my career field. I am not in a relationship. I don’t even have my own apartment.
AND THAT’S OKAY!
Because the risks I’ve taken to get where I am have given me the one thing I wanted above all the others – happiness.
Ten years ago, the school I attended for 11 years closed down, and I took a risk by not following my friends to their new schools. I went to a new school where I didn’t know anyone, and now I have some wonderful friends who I love supporting and cheering on – and they do the same for me.
Seven years ago, I took a risk and was open about my beliefs in a conservative environment. I became a part of an incredibly diverse group of people forming a supportive LGBTQ+ student organization that is still running now even after every single original member has graduated.
Five years ago, I took a risk and spent 6 months living in London on a study abroad semester. At first I was completely alone, but then I met some great friends that I still speak to and visit across the U.S. and Canada.
Four years ago, I took a risk and moved to Los Angeles four years ago, a city within a state I had never set foot in. But I met some of my most favorite people who truly “got” me for the first time.
Two years ago, I took a risk and moved back to Nashville. I was not the happiest at first, but I used that year as a time for reflection and discernment while I explored my passions and realized what I wanted to do next.
Five months ago, I took a risk and moved to Rotterdam, a city within a country that I had never been to, and got welcomed into a family and have made friends I hope to know for the rest of my life.
So all this humble-bragging to say – if you take risks, you will be rewarded more than you can imagine. You may fail along the way (I certainly have!), but a true boss will use those failures as learning experiences.