Yesterday I turned down two potentially exciting opportunities.
Saying no to opportunities feels antithetical to many of my life philosophies. I strongly identify as someone who seizes opportunities, and I’m happy to have evolved into a person who chooses action instead of over-thinking whenever possible. But yesterday’s double dose of No was a good reminder that eliminating some options can actually create space for more/better opportunities.
And even if it doesn’t (because life is not actually a Pinterest board), sometimes it just feels good to say no.
I’m a pretty decisive person. Sure, I can get all angsty and confused in the midst of making a decision (and, believe me, I did!), but I consider myself decisive because I love the feeling of making a decision and acting on it. And I love moving on quickly after a decision has been made.
One thing that helps me move on is articulating a Clarifying Thought.
A CLARIFYING THOUGHT IS USUALLY A SHORT, SNAPPY SENTENCE THAT CAPTURES MY RATIONALE IN A WAY THAT ALIGNS WITH MY VALUES AND HOW I SEE MYSELF.
In the case of yesterday’s Decision #1, the Clarifying Thought came in the form of words from a friend: “This is a fearless choice.” That not only rang true to the situation (which required rejecting an option that would give me more stability), but also matched up with who I want to be.
Decision #2’s Clarifying Thought was, “This isn’t actually a Big Adventure I’m turning down.” Relevant background on Decision #2: I had originally been drawn to the opportunity because it seemed like a big adventure and I have a personal rule about always saying yes to big adventures (see “Does it Thrill Me?”). But after investigating the opportunity a little more, I realized it wouldn’t actually require that much courage and therefore didn’t meet my own standards for big adventures. So, I was able to comfortably turn it down.
Because both decisions were time-sensitive, I had to watch out for decision fatigue. I knew I was feeling overwhelmed by possibilities, and I didn’t want to brush off opportunities just because I was mentally drained. So I dealt with each decision separately, and I made sure to eat a good lunch. I think that helped.
How do you make big decisions?