Tied up in knots? Find the right string and
We've all had the experience of pulling the right string
and watching a knotty tangle unravel all at once.
When you're standing at a fork in the road -- or wondering
where to turn off a traffic circle -- asking the right question
can be equivalent to puling the right thread.
Let's say you're trying decide whether to move from Boise
to Boston, or vice versa. In my book, Making the Big Move,
I suggest the key question is, "Can I still be me?"
Will you still retain your identity after moving thousands
of miles -- and the question becomes tougher if you also move
to a new country.
When your decision involves money and careers, the key question
often is, "How will this move affect my power?"
"Norelle" enjoyed a well-paying job with a profitable
corporation. In a tight job market, she enjoyed generous raises
and promotions. Norelle called me when she was tempted to
apply for a lower-paying job in the non-profit sector, a job
that she felt was much closer to her life purpose.
Norelle first framed her decision as, "Can I live on
less money?" but she quickly realized the real question
was, "How would this move affect my market power?"
A few queries to her network support her suspicion: she would
have a tough time returning to the private sector if the new
job didn't work out. And she would not be developing new skills
or qualities to become more marketable.
"Ivan," newly promoted and relocated, considered
spending his new wealth on a large house. Buying a house,
however, would send a signal of "I'm staying here!"
However, as in many communities, few quality rentals were
available. Ivan decided to buy a small house -- and "resale
potential" became his first priority.
Once you have asked the key question, the answer magically
appears. To use another metaphor, it's like picking the right
key from a huge ring. The door opens right away. Psychologists
call this process "framing" the question. Just as
you rule out options by trying different keys, often you gain
insights into your decision by exploring different frames.
When faced with a tough decision, try two or three different
keys. If your fork in the road turns into a circle, walk away
for awhile. Stimulate your creative processes. Talk to someone
who can offer objectivity.
We all know that feeling of relief when a locked door to
a room or house finally opens. We're in! We're free! That's
also the "great decision" feeling. Stuck? Keep trying
-- and consider that maybe you've just grabbed the wrong key
|Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. is an author, career coach, and
speaker. She works with mid-career professionals who want to make a fast
move to career freedom. Visit her site http://www.movinglady.com
or call 505-534-4294.