It’s now or never

We often tell ourselves things that aren’t true. We tell ourselves that we have to do something, right now, or we’ll never get another chance.

We tell ourselves we have to go “all in” or we can’t possibly be successful.

We tell ourselves we shouldn’t take certain risks because there’s too much to lose.

Too often, its just our fears talking.

Recently, I spoke with an attorney who is at a crossroads in his career. He was considering some strategies for growing his practice and wanted my opinion. Which strategy? What’s the best way to go about it? What other things could he do?

A few days later I heard from again. He decided he wasn’t going to do the one big thing he had been considering. In fact, he was thinking about retiring.

He had enough investments and income to do that but he wasn’t sure he was ready to walk away from a career that he identified with for so many years.

And he didn’t know what he would do with his time.

We talked about some of his options. I could see he was feeling pressured to make a decision but was worried about making a mistake.

I told him he didn’t need to decide immediately. I suggested he give a little time to several ideas and see how he felt about them.

He would have figured that out himself, but sometimes it helps to have someone talk you through it.

The next time you have a decision to make and you keep hearing those little nagging voices telling you what you “must” do, ask yourself what you would tell a client who came to you with that decision.

The odds are you’ll give yourself some good advice.

Don’t wonder what will happen next, decide what happens next

Life is a series of decisions. You decide on your career path, your school, your job, your first client and your next. This morning you decided which suit to wear, what to eat for breakfast, and what time to leave for work.

You decided which file to work on first, which message to return first, and what to work on after that.

Most of the decisions you make are not very important or difficult to make. Some are critically important and gut wrenching.

But everything is a decision. Letting a boss, a parent, or a spouse decide for you is a decision. Leaving your fate to God is a decision. Not making a decision is a decision.

Things will happen that you couldn’t have anticipated. But when they do, you decide how to respond.

It’s your life and you get to decide what happens next. As someone put it, “Don’t wonder what will happen next, decide what happens next”.

Don’t let the immensity of your power overwhelm you. You don’t need to plan out the rest of your life or even the rest of the year. You only need to decide what’s next.

When you’re done reading this, what will you do?

The best way to start something new

They say the best way to start anything new, a new habit or way of doing something, is slowly. You try it, learn from the experience, and do it again. You get better, over time.

Starting slowly helps you avoid embarrassing yourself or getting hurt. If you haven’t exercised in years, for example, you start by walking, you don’t sign up for a marathon.

Starting slowly means the pain often associated with new habits or initiatives will be tolerable. You’ll be able to stick with it until you are stronger and better.

If you put a frog in a pan of water and turn on a low heat, the water will eventually come to a boil. The frog won’t feel the gradual increase in temperature and will stay in the pan and literally boil to death. If you toss the frog into the pan after the water is already boiling, however, he will immediately jump out.

The other camp says there are some things where it’s best to just jump in. If you start too small or too slowly, you’ll never gain any momentum. You’ll give up before you see any results.

Who is right? Should you start slowly or dive right in?

The answer is, there is no answer. It depends.

What are the risks and what are the rewards? If you jump in and mess up, would anyone know? Could anyone else get hurt? If you start slowly and run out of steam, what might you be giving up?

What are the costs? Could you save a lot of time or money by starting big? Or would it cost less if you do it slowly?

How good are you? If you have a skill set that bodes well for your success, you might be able to take the leap. If you’ve never done anything like this before, starting slowly is probably the way to go.

How are you wired? Are you the cautious, one step at a time kinda guy or gal, or a thrill seeker?

My take? Unless you have good cause to do otherwise, most new things should probably be started slowly. If you get the urge to jump into the deep end of the pool, sleep on it for a day or two, and then do what I do: ask your wife what she thinks you should do.