How to Make a Decision

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Yogi Berra

When I went in for my annual physical in late 2023 with my Physician Assistant, it was our first in-person meeting since the time of COVID-19 sequestration. For some unknown reason, it is not unusual for strangers or acquaintances to brain-dump their lives on me.  As we caught up, he described his angst about where he was in his life, which led to a discussion on decision-making and the importance of following one’s heart.

We’re about the same age, titanium level, so I suggested that at this stage, he needs to focus on having fun. I didn’t mean going spring break wild, but rather enjoying what you’re doing, whether that’s sitting on the porch having your morning brew or taking a world cruise.

A Yes or No Decision

He was at a crossroads trying to make a decision. If he chose one path, it would make someone else really happy, but his heart was not in it. I don’t know where they came from, but wise words leaped from my lips:

“If it isn’t a solid YES, then it’s a NO.”

His eyes brightened, he sat up straighter, and he said, “You’re right! It is NO.” Shortly after our meeting, I received a notice that he had retired, and I had a new doctor to break in.

Get Off The Fence!

When you are on the fence about a decision, for instance, you have a client who gives you the willies, and you just don’t know why, it could be that your best choice is to say no or no thank you to them and focus on the people you do want to work with.

A person who makes you uncomfortable will be hard for you to please, and neither of you will be happy in the end. Instead, if you feel that you can’t serve them properly, refer them to someone else who could make a better connection. That way, the client will know you still have their best interest at heart, and you’ll be taking care of yourself.

Do the Research

There are also times when you need to do research to ensure you are making the best decision, like when you are making a major purchase.

My recent adventure of buying a television involved a lot of preparation. Before heading to the store (I know… how last century…), I learned about the screen types, pixel counts, and sound options. I explored how to determine the correct size screen for my viewing enjoyment, and I looked at what would fit my budget. Then, I was ready to face the wall display at Best Buy.

But I wasn’t. The reality of an all-enveloping viewing experience almost made me throw my careful research out the window. The display was mesmerizing. My eyes ping-ponged off each screen as I started to vacillate and second-guess my decision. Fortunately, I held fast and stuck to my plan. If I hadn’t done my research, I probably would have needed a mortgage and a forklift for my new TV.

Rip Off the Band-Aid

It all goes back to you. You have decisions to make on a daily basis, so make them. Yes, you can dither and suffer about a choice if you like, but do you really want to waste your time and energy agonizing over a decision?  Get activated! Do the research or go with your gut, but make the decision. 

The are two things about decisions. First, some will be wrong or imperfect. For instance, my TV is a little larger than my research suggested, but I still like it. Second, you get to make other choices down the road based on what you learned. So go ahead! Take the fork in the road.