Life is a series of choices. As I teach my 5-year-old about life and being a good citizen of the world and taking responsibility, I realize a major lesson for her is about the choices she makes and the consequences of those choices.
Choose “bad behavior,” and you’ll lose privileges. Choose “good behavior,” and you’ll find that life is much better for everyone.
But the world isn’t black and white. Even in business, the choices you make can make or break your business - or you. Or they might have little or no impact on anything. And the choices you make are never made - or played out - in a vacuum. There are other factors, other players, other influences.
So even if you choose “good behavior” or make what you feel is the “right choice,” it can create an avalanche of problems or cut out opportunity,.
For 2012, one of my focuses has been on paring down the projects I work on and the opportunities I accept. They either have to be things that make me say “Hell, Yeah!” or that pay me commensurate to my worth. The first criteria is something entrepreneur Derek Sivers talked about back in 2009 - a criteria for determining when you agree to do something. If it isn’t a “Hell, Yeah,” then it must be a “No.”
The second part - being paid commensurate to my worth - has always been a tough one for me because saying “No” simply because someone doesn’t have a budget seems…bad, somehow. Yet we all set goals for ourselves and our businesses, and if part of those goals are financial - which they should be in business - then wanting to be paid what your worth is a good thing.
Still, saying “No” can be painful. I cringe. Feel guilty even.
I was recently offered a paying speaking gig, and although it wasn’t a “Hell, Yeah,” it was certainly an acceptable offer and my immediate inclination was to say yes. But then, another factor came to play in my decision, literally as I composed an email to accept. I realized the event fell close to other business travel and suddenly my “few days away” from my husband and 5-year-old turned into 10 days including travel time.
The Family Factor. That’s another part of the complex puzzle of making choices. And after being away for 6 weeks last year for a book tour and several overseas speaking engagements, I vowed that in 2012, I’d make very conscious, careful choices about opportunities that took me away from home.
When I was single, I was a road warrior and loved every minute of it. Now that I have a child, I don’t only feel like I’m missing out on her life when I’m away, but it is also complicated and stressful figuring out childcare in our rural town. For the 6 weeks I was away last year, I flew my mom to our place from Florida to help out. But that’s too costly for 10 days away.
So I said “No.” And my gut churned. Words started flying around in my brain like “You reject this, and they’ll never ask you back” and “You just turned down money. You’re going to fail.” To get through those moments of panic, I kept telling myself “You can’t just chase the money. You can’t just chase the money.” I knew I was making the “right” decision but even found myself a little disappointed that I chose not to go.
Life is full of choices. Even the good ones might end up “bad.” But if you know in your heart why you are making those choices and can live with that, then stand strong. Nobody said it was easy.
What criteria do you use to make your business decisions? Is it all about the money…or more?