One Choice that Informs All Others
Unable to choose is unable to move. Choices enable movement. Unable to choose is another way of saying stuck. Successful leaders make decisions.
Everyone who’s stuck
lives with choices waiting to be made.
Fear of choosing is fear of losing opportunity.
Fear of missing out is the reason you miss out.
The critical first choice:
The choice that informs all others is who to be not what to do.
First choices enable action.
Choosing what do before deciding who to be means you’ve caved to external pressure.
Answer “what to do questions” by clarifying who you want to be. What to do is an event. Who to be guides the journey.
First choices involve who to be.
Second choices explain what to do.
First choices are relatively easy. But, if you’re not sure who to be, ask, “How do I want to be known?”
Identity off-sets external pressure with internal strength. Success demands you become bigger than challenges. The only way to be bigger than challenges is to know who you are.
Choosing “what to do” before “who to be” means you’re pushed around by circumstances and activities.
Identity determines function.
Chill out. Life changing choices are often insignificant and unplanned. For example, Jay Elliot stopped at a diner after a new job fell through. At the diner he met Steve Jobs. Jay became a Sr. VP at Apple. Stopping for something to eat changed his life.
Chill out. Most choices aren’t final they can be unmade.
Four decision making tips:
- Choose forward-leaning. Avoid the comfort of going back.
- Identify real problems/challenges. Keep asking, “Why.”
- Connect with people of experience and expertise.
- Focus on what can be done. Any fool can find reasons things won’t work.
What decision-making tips can you add?
How can leaders choose who to be?
Just do something for goodness sakes!!!
Like when you said decisions are not final.
Nothing in life absolute but taxes and human stupidity, so lighten up!!!!
Life, you know if you are not having fun u are not doing it right.
The Dude Abides…..never forget that…. It will help you keep things in their proper perspective.
Thanks Dude! 🙂 I’m heading out to do something.
The Scotts agree! For people in leadership roles, not deciding or hesitating to decide can have a big ripple effect. Imagine all those people who depend on your decision before they can take action . . . or who end up spinning their wheels in the absence of a decision.
My wife is an executive with a large company, and her decisions affect many people over a wide range of operations. She is an excellent leader and manager; but is not comfortable making decisions quickly. After a meeting where she told her people she needed some time to think about a decision, one of her direct reports said to her after the meeting, “I’d rather have a decision now, even if it means making adjustments later, instead of waiting and having all my people wait.” With that brief conversation, she changed her approach to decision-making.
This is a very powerful post and one that every senior executive should take to heart.
Thank you John! Best wishes
“..What decision making tips?” Seek courses that add value (especially in customer/vendor settings). That might sound obvious, yet many ask “what’s right for ME” prior to asking “what adds value for our customer?”
I like your 3 & 4
Thank you Ken.
What adds value to others… POWERFUL!
My dad always said, “Not to decide is to decide.” So true…
Thanks Vicki. Our dads were smarter than we thought. 🙂
And my dad said, “If you are going to do something, DO IT WELL! Daddy was a farmer and he had the straightest rows of corn in the country! He was a doer!!
When you know who you are, many choices almost make themselves. When our identity is solid, it informs everything we do.
Thank you Justin.
I think the trouble is we start making other choices before we’ve made the first one…. oh yeah, that’s the post… 🙂
Reblogged this on The Other Side of Risk and commented:
Sometimes I have a hard time choosing what to do. Things go better after I choose and move ahead. Dan Rockwell’s post was spoke profoundly to me today. It’s not just the message for me personally, but another reaffirmation of my project management philosophy.
When I suggest we find what can go right on a project, in a way I’m saying that we need to put more emphasis on what we want to be when we get done with the project. That comes from two perspectives. First, how the project’s outcomes make our organization’s services and capacity more perfect. Second, how can we make our journey to get there more perfect in its contribution to our growth. Both perspectives are more about, as day suggests, choosing who we want to become and how we want to become that way (in keeping with who we are) than what we want to do.
Balancing the focus on completing scope with a focus on completing ourselves is finding what can go right on a project. It’s the other side of risk.
Dan, thanks again for helping me consider more deeply what I’m trying to say.
Thank you Glenn.
I find your application of these ideas to project management compelling and useful.
In particular…your inclusion of who we are or who we are becoming along the journey encourages and challenges me to broaden my hopes for my leadership.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn with you. Here, in fulkl humility, is my added language to contribute to the golden wisdom of both Glenn and Dan’s sharing:
Choosing who we want to become and how we want to become that way (in keeping with who we are) is more helpful in making a decision than trying to only decide what we want to do.
Balancing the focus on not just completing the scope of work but also with a focus on completing ourselves is then the biggest fun: finding what can go right on a project and with that, what really inspires people. And, it is a nice balance with fear. It’s the other side of risk.
You are right, Dan. The most important choices are not about things, but about values. We need to resolve to 1) turn from doing wrong and 2) do what is right.
Character that makes for great leadership results from firm resolve to do the right things for the good of the organization and its stakeholders.
People may not always like leaders with impeccable character, and may even find them naive when they choose to do right. However, trust is the foundation of strong relationships, and so valuable that “Business at the Speed of Trust” is a best-selling book.
For example, Daniel’s resolve led to being number 2 in the largest empire of his day, and outliving 2 kings and a regime change.
Thank you Marc.
Love your first line…it’s powerful and useful.
It’s in the doing that we also discover who we are and wish to be.
Thank you Karin.
One sentence that opens a world of opportunity. KaPow!
Once we are clear on BEING, HAVING and DOING…..life is great!
But, that is not an easy journey.
Thank you DR.
It seems the ability to push out doing for a bit is an important step to finding our being.
Part of my learning through experience is things do not happen for a reason too. The discipline of peace has slowly helped me to learn to wait for the choice, to hold back, to not rush into solve, suggest, or fix…but to let each situation unfold fully if a clear path is not known. It is one of the gifts of this last five year’s learning, to learn that in choices to wait, at times that is indeed a choice in itself, but it often allows new unknown factors and opportunities to unfold.
Thank you for the post …food for the soul.
Thank you Sweetie.
I find your use of “unfold” so helpful. Perhaps we rush in and try to unfold things too quickly. 🙂
On choices not being final:
Sometimes you have to walk into a choice before you know that it is right or wrong. Then the biggest choice is to be an adult and live with the consequence. Great thoughts Dan!
Thank you greggory.
You remind me that we always deal with inadequate amounts of information. If we have all the information, it’s too late.
I find myself doing things that take me out of my comfort zone but I do it to make myself better. Your post makes me think of the same concept. I think that if we do t move ahead, we stay behind. We all have to get out of our comfort zones and make something of ourselves. I also welcome your readers to visit my blog https://bradfordcares.wordpress.com/. This blog is taking me out of my comfort zone so I welcome all of you to please check it out. I welcome your feedback and follows. Thank you and great post !!!
Thank you Carlos.
I see real wisdom and opportunity from stepping out of our comfort zones. How else do we grow?
Very informative post Sir. I have always faced two biggest problems.. 1. Initiating problems- cant start and takes lot of time to start. 2. Fear as you explained. How to over come fear.
Your expertise guidance will be highly helpful for me. 🙂 Thanks Sir.
And thank you sir! 🙂
I feel the issue of delay…
Thanks again! Another blog that resonates and warms the cockles of my heart. (Do hearts actually have cockles?)
“The choice that informs all others is who to be not what to do.”
That’s the big one I see most often: ambitious people who get so caught up with what’s going on outside that they lose contact with who they really are on the inside. I guess we all do at times.
I made a little animation (1min 35sec) to illustrate this theme.
‘When you know who you are, you’ll know how to deal.’
I’d like to invite you all to meet Diamond: http://www.bonnie-williams.com/2013/02/diamonds-are-forever-whats-your-game.html
Thanks again Dan. I appreciate connecting with you.
Thank you Bonnie.
Hmmm, cockles… LOL.
It’s way to easy for achievers to get lost in achieving.
Decisions are often not outcomes. Outcomes are often impacted by others. I really like the idea of deciding first who to be. With any luck, you have control over that!
Thank you Henry. YOu would certainly hope to have control over who you are becoming. 🙂