Opportunity, challenge, hope, chance, and freedom – each of these situations involve choices. Sometimes our choices are simple and don’t require much thought - would you like chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Other choices are life impacting and fraught with uncertainty -would you like to move across the country to pursue a career opportunity? How do you make that decision? Often when we step outside of our normal routine or our comfort zone these choices come up unexpectedly. Having a strategy to tackle these challenges increase our chances of success.
A recent excursion to an unfamiliar grocery store provided an unexpected opportunity to choose. Cold, grey winter weather makes warm food quite appealing, so I decided to make a pot of chili. Off to the grocery store for beans, tomatoes, and ground beef. There was a moderate selection of dried beans, all similarly priced, so I chose dark red kidney beans. Canned tomatoes offered a few more choices, diced, stewed, Italian spiced, or with green chilies. I chose the store brand with green chilies for the flavor and because the store brand is a thrifty choice. Next, I went to the meat department for the final ingredient – ground beef. There I was met with a dizzying array of choices. Different cuts – ground sirloin, ground chuck, ground round. Different percentages of leanness – 80, 85, 90, 92, or 96. There were also organic, grass-fed, and natural choices. Each combination came at a different price ranging from $2.99 per pound to $7.99 per pound. I am a thrifty shopper, but also appreciate delicious food so I wanted to make the best selection. (*note – for a resource on how to choose the best beef for your recipe and budget, subscribe to the blog!)
Something as simple as choosing ground beef for chili became an opportunity due to the considerable, and unexpected, number of available choices. The grocery store I normally go to offers a much smaller selection, but I went to a different store that day – a store that caters to a wider range of tastes. Stepping outside of the normal, everyday brings you outside of your comfort zone and offers more choices – sometimes unexpected choices appear. Having a strategy to deal with choices can keep you from becoming overwhelmed.
Process of elimination is a good method to choose between several different options. What movie do I want to see tonight when there are 15 to choose from? First eliminate genres you don’t care for, next eliminate showtimes that don’t’ work with your schedule.
Make a list of pros and cons. Look at your list and see if the choice is clear. If not, try adding numeric weights to the pros and cons. One client I worked with used this method. She had the perfect job offer but would have to move several hours away from family and friends.
Ask for advice. You may not want to ask your 17-year-old son who plans to pursue a graphic arts education for financial investment advice. But how about advice on your outfit for an upcoming charity event gala? His eye for color and style could offer some expertise that would help you stand out in a crowd. Choose someone you trust whose experience and talent can benefit your situation.
Retain a coach. A coach’s purpose is to help their client access their innermost truth and find their way forward without fear of judgement. Friends and family may have a hidden agenda when discussing your life choices. In a coaching conversation the agenda belongs completely to the client.
These are just a few of the methods to assist with decisions. Sit with your favorite beverage and think for a few minutes about how to be deliberate in your choices. What other strategies can you think of? What strategies will you use? Feel free to share in the comments.