The Light Switch to Making Great Decisions

Posted by Kristin Arnold on October 11, 2016

We make decisions each and every day.  Some are little, some are big and a few are life-changing.  Regardless of the relative importance of the decision, I like to use this one simple question that I call “the light switch question.”

Will the outcome of your decision take you closer to your goal(s) or away from your goal(s)?

The answer is either a yes or no.  No rheostat here.  It’s a binary light switch that you turn off or on.  (Of course, this means you have already identified your goals so you can make that comparison.)

Theoretically, everything you do should take you closer to your goal(s).

Now, you may be wondering, “What if it doesn’t take me toward nor away from my goal(s)?  It doesn’t really impact me one way or another?  Can I still do it?”

I suppose you can if you really want to….not sure if you should, though.

Why?  Because there are plenty of things to occupy your time.  Why fill up your day with things that don’t contribute to your definition of success?  Think of the opportunity cost of doing something that has absolutely no value to you versus something that does have value!

If you still want to do it, one of two things might be going on:

  1. There is a slight connection to a current goal that you need to reinforce and strengthen.  For example, you want to go to Starbucks for a pumpkin latte (after all, we are approaching the autumn season).  Why?  Because you love just about anything pumpkin and you enjoy meeting new people.  The “line of sight” to a relationship goal would be to meet one new person that would be a good person for you or your network to meet.  Ahhhh…. so that’s why you want to go to Starbucks!
  2. You haven’t identified the goal, but it IS important to you – you just don’t know it yet!  So let’s continue with the Starbucks example:  Why are you jonesing for a cuppa coffee?  Is it something about the coffee?  The atmosphere?  The people?  Hmmm….only you can know for sure!

When you tie your actions to a goal, the decision is fairly easy to make and even easier to execute!

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KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF, CSP is a high stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.

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