How to Make a Decision With No Regrets

Hip Hop Affirmation: I make my own decisions

The Ultimate Lyrical Mash-up: Traditional quotes meet Hip Hop lyrics with the same meaning….

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. ~Robert Frost

or

Just know I chose my own fate, I drove by the fork in the road and went straight. ~Shawn Carter (Renegade)

We all have to make decisions

So you have a decision to make.

Should I go to this school or that school.  Should I take this job or that job, should I marry this person or that person.  Whatever the decision you have to make and no matter how tough that decision may be, know that you are not alone; you are not the first to have to make a tough decision.  I just faced one the other day.

Acknowledge you have a decision to make

I was taking my wife to Ballston Spa, NY to visit some friends to work on a project.  Half way through the trip, the oil light and the check engine light start flashing.  It’s cold and a little snowy, but I get out of the car, pop the hood and first check the oil level before deciding to put a little bit more in hopes that this would take care of our oil problem.

It didn’t work.

Instead of just moving forward we got off at the next exit and found a garage who could hopefully help us diagnose the problem.  The local grocery store pointed us to the local garage shop.  There the mechanic looked at our engine and wasn’t too sure what the problem was, but thought it might be that the oil is just not getting to where it needs to go.

His recommendation, “I wouldn’t drive it any further if I were you.”

We kept driving a little bit more and our engine continued to get louder.  we finally decided to tow the car so we wouldn’t damage it further.  Deciding to tow the car was the easy part (we have “AAA plus” which gives us 100 free miles of towing).  The tough decision; should me move forward to Ballston Spa, NY or should we just head back home?

We were in a position where we had no choice but to acknowledge there was a decision that needed to be made.  That is not always the case in our everyday lives.  We find ourselves in positions where we can ignore things until the check engine of our lives come on.  Acknowledging that there is a decision to be made, let’s your subconscious work on it even if you are not ready to. Note that not making a decision is actually a decision.

Weigh your pros and cons and then act

We could go back home and be comfortable knowing that we have a mechanic that could work on the car or we could move forward onto Ballston Spa, NY where we knew nothing about the local mechanics.  We decided to move forward to Ballston Spa, NY because, no matter what happened, at least my wife would have been able to complete her project with her friends.  I would take care of the rest.

Start by writing down all your options and then list all the pros and cons of each option.  Weigh the options and take action.

Be where you are

I ended up being in Ballston Spa, NY for four days when I only planned for one (yes, I had clean underwear; my wife packed extra just in case).

Things I could have focused on:

  • the fact that I was stuck in a place I did not plan to be or
  • that I was watching the Super Bowl on a small T.V. (we still had the pizza and wings) or
  • that my MacBook did not want to connect to the WiFi at our friends home (I know it’s unimaginable but I did not have access to the internet at their house–it’s okay to feel bad for me–that’s not totally true since I had my iPhone with me) or
  • that my wife took the bus back home the next day and I was stuck with finding a mechanic and working through this ordeal.

But I didn’t

Instead I focused on:

  • enjoying the company of my host, Jess and Matt, who I went to college with and their energetic and brilliant 3 year old, Tumi,  who reminded me, “Okay, now let’s go upstairs and play.”
  • I focused on the non-internet having time to catch up on some reading for my virtual Seth Godin Book Club.
  • I focused on connecting with friends I have in the area who I have not seen in ages (shout out to Amy Johnson and Ken Mossman)
  • and making new friends at my temporary virtual office aka Coffee Planet.

Your mindset after you make a decision will make or break your experience.  Guess what, whatever decision you make has been made and you are where you are.  Sounds confusing; let me simplify it for you, “You can’t go back so stop focusing on the past.”

Instead I would offer that you take a breath and you look for the good right where you are.  You aren’t happy and want to make another move? THE DECISION IS YOURS.

On day #4 my car was fixed and ready to go.

What would you have done differently if you were faced with my decision?  What are some of your best decision making tips?

The Point

Once you make a decision, be prepared to live with the good and bad of that decision.  Looking back and wishing you had made another choice is not going to help your current situation.

Moves to Make

  1. Focus on what you have on hand, both the beauty and the challenge
  2. Trust that everything happens for a reason and the story is still being written so hesitate to label something as good or bad just yet.
  3. Change your mind and make a different decision if that is what you want to do.  You have that right.

    You don’t have to go at it alone. If you have not already done so, you can subscribe to this blog so we can stay connected.

    Can you use an ambassador on your journey? Your goals become easier to accomplish when you have the support, push or pull of a non-biased (ok I’m biased towards you gaining clarity, succeeding, growing and learning) third party to tell you the hard truth. I’m only an email away.

    Do you have a question you would like Ambassador Bruny to address? Send an email to ambassadorbruny@gmail.com with the Subject: Question for Ambassador Bruny.

    Bruny

    Coaching, Speaking, Consulting website: www.runthepoint.com

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    6 Comments

    on “How to Make a Decision With No Regrets
    6 Comments on “How to Make a Decision With No Regrets
    1. Great advice, Ambassador. We’ve all been there and keeping the proper attitude is the important thing. I remember driving back to Boston from Myrtle Beach, SC and in Richmond, VA the Nissan Pathfinder my friend and I were driving in started flashing all those ‘uh oh’ lights. After asking a local mechanic if we could drive it home to Boston, he laughed, shook his head, and replies with ‘it’s your life’ (insert heavy Southern accent).

      14 hours later, at 7:00am, we arrived in Boston. A good attitude and loud tunes kept us safe, awake, and on task.

      If more people would “stop focusing on the past”, the world would be a happier, more productive place.

    2. My main man Scott. I remember you telling me that story. I glad you made it through. It seems as the years goes by things can feel more grave and it’s that much tougher to keep up the good attitude. Let’s spread the good attitude vibe man and get more people through tough times.

    3. When traveling to Southern California for a weekend activity, as I got past Tehachapi in a torrential rainstorm I discovered my car’s alternator was going out. Using windshield wipers, headlights and defroster were essential due to the cold temperatures and heavy rains that turned everything dark gray. What to do? I was between areas and knew if I got to San Dimas I’d be fine. Friends were waiting and at least I would have company while hoping to find a repair shop. But how would I get there in pouring rain while wipers, defrost and headlights sucked the life from the battery, my only source of power?

      At the time I used a CB radio for fun, and had connected with another driver who was going my way. I mentioned my dilemma to him and together we established a plan. He found me in the traffic and followed me as a buffer against drivers from behind. I could talk to him as the power slowly drained my battery and lights began to dim. Being more knowledgeable of the area, he guided me along the highway until I reached my exit then left me on my own. Once off the freeway, my hotel was nearby and directly across the street was a repair shop where I stopped. The mechanic was open weekends and able to get the part and repair the car by the time I was to leave to return home.

      Instead of panicking and freaking out, I was able to keep my wits, use my CB to communicate with a “new friend” and establish a plan of action that made it safer to drive with dimming lights, slowing wipers, and fogged up windows during a heavy rainstorm on busy Southern California freeways. Plus, I was blessed by finding a repair shop that was capable of fixing the car while I caught rides with friends to weekend activities. It all worked out perfectly in the end and left me with a great story to tell.

      If more people would work together out of the kindness of their hears and expect little payback, our communities might become less violent and more harmonious in the long-term.

    4. I’ve never been stranded for four days; that’s pretty intense. But when I was moving cross country to Colorado in 2009, my brother’s car broke down in the middle of the highway in central Nebraska. It wound up being a very simple problem to fix, but the situation was very stressful. To start off, the garage that the tow truck took the car was on their lunch break. The mechanic took a two hour lunch that day.

      Meanwhile, the receptionist kept trying to tell us that it was a broken timing belt. We explained that that was replaced as routine maintenance just 3 months earlier and we were told that couldn’t be true, nobody replaces a timing belt unless it breaks. This car was bought from a mechanic and friend of the family. But, oh no, you are definitely wrong.

      Five afters after we first stalled out, we were back underway with a new rotor in the distributor…and a bill that was probably 20% higher because we were out-of-towners unlikely to ever be in the area again.

      But it wasn’t all bad as an experience. While we were waiting for the tow truck, a woman got a flat tire on the other side of the highway. She had a spare, but not a jack! I just used mine to change her tire and she was able to get on her way.

    5. Edward,
      Thanks for sharing. We all have car stories. It sounds like you were put there so you could help the woman with the flat tire. I see you ran into the “out of towner” tax (I believe that’s the technical name for it). I’m glad you were able to take everything in stride.

      Your Ambassador,
      Mike Bruny

    6. Linda,
      That is a great story! I love how you used what you had to get where you wanted to go. Great use of the CB and working with someone you didn’t know but had something in common (CB radio). I see social networks as that kind of opportunity, where you may be “friends” with someone through Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. , but don’t really know them in person. They may be the one to come to my rescue or vice versa. One of the first messages I put out there when I got to my stranded destination was, “Ok, I need my social network to become a helping network and tell me where I can find a mechanic that is open on weekends.” I had several folks reply.

      Your Ambassador,
      Mike Bruny

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