4 Options When Making a Difficult Decision
Life presents us with options…sometimes, none of which we like. Yet, we must decide. We have all been there. Whether in leadership or in life, it is helpful to have a method of thinking things through when we are faced with difficult decisions.
Though our tendency is not to decide when we are confused, we should. And we can. When that time comes, and it seems impossible to decide, you have four options to choose from. Here are your choices:
Option One: Live with it.
This option requires that you make an intentional choice to be okay with the status quo. You adjust your expectations, adapt, and truly make the best of it.
Many times we decide to make no change, yet we find ourselves remaining unhappy. If you decide to make no change, you must genuinely convince yourself that life does not give you everything you want at precisely the time you want it, and learn to be content with it.
I have been in situations where I was not ecstatic about the position I was in. I could not change my situation. Nor could I end my situation. At least that’s what I thought. After making a fuss about it in my head (and sometimes to other people), the mature thing to do was to live it. Sometimes I was able to do that, and sometimes I was not. If we decide to live with it, let us be happy with it.
Option Two: Change it.
Your second option requires courage to do something about it. You may need to face some people or face yourself. Perhaps talk to your boss or spouse. You may decide it’s time to change the parameters or boundaries.
Change can sometimes mean a long and arduous process where transformation is required. If you go with this option, monitor your progress to ensure you are still moving forward with the change you decided to make. So if you decide to change it, make the change a reality. Stand your ground.
Option Three: End it.
Ending anything can be difficult. One of my favorite books by Dr. Henry Cloud is Necessary Endings. Yes, some endings are necessary. Some endings are clear and therefore easier to execute. But here I am referring to those areas that we are not quite 100% sure whether or not we need to end.
You can give yourself arguments on both sides of the fence. You ask people, mentors, and coaches. You pray, you seek, and even with that, there is not a definitive answer. Do you end it, or do you not? This is absolutely the most difficult when it comes to relationships. But it can also mean ending a business or a product line. Endings are not easy, yet we must get better at initiating them when appropriate and learning to live with them emotionally.
Endings require grace, patience, and dignity. But sometimes endings must happen abruptly. It breaks my heart that on a regular basis I see women at my clinic who are victims of domestic abuse. What is more troubling is that so many of them find themselves unable to end those kinds of relationships. This is a prime example of relationships that I believe should end abruptly.
Option Four: Contemplate it.
When we don’t choose one of the top three options, we are by default choosing this one. This is where many times we stay paralyzed. This is not a good option to stay in for long. We stay here because we are not intentional to take a risk and decide. I can tell you that in my life, I have often stayed in Option Four at length. In these times, I basically did nothing. I was afraid. I wanted to make the right decisions so badly, and since I could not tell which one was clearly the right decision, I did not take action at all.
Yes, sometimes we should contemplate things. I am a firm believer in prayer and in seeking God’s direction. I am also a firm believer in applying wisdom and in waiting for the right time. However, these two legitimate reasons often become excuses when we cannot muster the courage to decide. Making an error in judgment is better than endlessly contemplating and doing nothing.
In the difficult hours, may we choose to act with boldness.
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