Leap Year Lesson #19: Decide in Advance

Posted: January 19, 2012 in Decision Making

You and I face decisions all day long – some major, some minor, some with significant consequences and some with no real impact regardless of what we choose.  When we come to crossroads that we have faced a million times, we are wise to follow what we know to be the best path according to our past experience and our solid determination to reach a particular destination. But what about those times when we come to decision points during our day that we might not have faced in exactly this way before? The circumstances are different. Options don’t exactly replicate prior options.

It is in those times that we make the tough calls.If you’re like me, you’ve made some good choices along the way and you’ve made some very bad decisions with serious consequences.

So how do we improve the likelihood of making the right call in those new circumstances? I think it’s by deciding in advance what we will do. But, you ask “How can we make decisions in advance for circumstances we haven’t faced?” It is by knowing who you are and what you believe at your core. It is by being firm in your values and making decisions consistent with them. I don’t have to envision all specific choices and situations in advance. Nobody can do that. We can, however, anticipate the types of decisions life and work will bring and know what guiding values will shape our response.

Don’t fret too much over the little things. I mean, who really cares if you get the chicken or turkey sandwich at the deli? Just pick one and go on. But for those matters of longer-term consequence – especially those that will impact the lives and welfare of others – there is more riding on what you choose than you may know.

So whether your core values come from your religious faith as do mine or from elsewhere, know what they are. Know who you are. Follow leap year lesson #19 – Decide in advance – and you’ll more likely choose the right path at the next crossroads.

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