The other day I was asked what the most important lesson was that I had learned over the past five years.
For those of you who have followed my writing, you will know that 2008 started an avalanche of loss and grief that brought me to my knees. There were times I truly believed that I would never recover, that I would be battered, bruised, and broken for the rest of my life. But, with faith, gratitude and a whole lot of believing way beyond my circumstances, I found the pathway back to a happy and successful life.
So, what have I learned?
There are so many lessons that one blog will not hold all the wisdom I have gained the hard way. So, I decided that I would start a blog series to cover them. Here is the first.
If I would have known this prior to 2008, my life would be totally different today. I have traced back my poor decisions and the source was always fear or money. They were never about what I truly wanted in life.
I left a position at a large financial institution because of money. It wasn’t the right move and I knew that. But, in all of my wisdom of the day, I really believed that if I made enough money, I could make up for the lack of enthusiasm and passion. I was blinded by dollar signs. The worse thing about it is, these were not real dollar signs, they were a possibility. So, how dumb can you be when you make a major decision like that, blinded by dollar signs that weren’t even guaranteed? If I had made the decision based on job satisfaction, passion, and my desired purpose in life, I would never have made that move. I thought money would solve everything. Instead, it was the catalyst behind the biggest failure of my life.
How do you avoid making an error in judgment because of money? Take it out of the equation. Consider every other factor first. If you are in agreement that it is right for you, then consider money. Hard to do? Absolutely. We have been programmed to think of money first. “Show me the money” is one of the most recognizable lines from films. I say, show me the excitement, the challenge, the wonder, the fulfillment, the ability to change the world. That is what impresses me now.
What about fear? I have so many examples of decisions based out of fear before and during the crisis that began in 2008. You cannot make a rational decision when your mind is clouded by fear. How many panicked decisions have you made that have turned out well? Me, I think I am about 0 for 50. It could be fear of not having enough money, fear of looking stupid, fear of people not liking you, fear of losing your job, your home, your car. It could be fear of missing out…hence the “limited time offer” marketing ploy.
Never make a decision under duress. You always have time. If this offer expires before you are sure, another will come along. Good decisions are made when you become quiet, stop the chatter in your mind, and listen to the quiet whispers of your heart. They will never lead you astray. I often invoke the 24 hour rule. That seems to give space between panic and peace, so I can define the best course of action for me. I have missed out on opportunities because I have waited. Amazingly, after initial disappointment, as time passed I realized they would not have been the right opportunities for me anyways. I do not have any regrets for waiting to decide. I have many regrets for the decisions made in fear.
I have learned the hard way that making decisions based on money or fear never turns out well. I hope that you can learn the same lesson without paying the price I did.