I was recently presented with an extremely exciting opportunity. I was offered not one, but two new positions in my company at the same exact time. One role would be doing work that I am super passionate about and the other would offer me more experience leading a large team. As you might imagine, my excitement turned into stress when I realized I was forced to make a pretty tough choice.
Throughout our careers, we will all experience these types of intersections. Whether deciding to switch companies, change industries, or - like in my case - choose between the work you love or the experience opportunity, these are tough situations that can leave us feeling confused and indecisive. How do I know I am making the right decision? Will I regret my choice? These are just a couple questions that ran through my head.
When I encounter a tough choice, there are a few questions I like to reflect on to help me come to a decision:
- What excites me about this opportunity?
- What worries me about this opportunity?
- What will I give up if I choose this one over the other?
- What are my long-term goals? Where do I see myself in 5, 10, 15+ years?
By asking myself these questions, I am able to visualize myself in that new opportunity. It makes it more real for me than creating a simple pro/con list. To me, those lists never helped - they just made it more confusing. I need to imagine what it would be like to live this choice out.
Something else that I have to keep in mind is that every choice comes with it's own level of risk. You can never know for certain how a situation will turn out until you are in it. So I try to consider this even playing field and ignore the "what ifs" that will inevitably pop in my head.
It was tough to make a choice between taking a role to gain experience or doing work I love, but ultimately I chose to pursue the first. My long-term goals require this type of experience and I saw this as an opportunity I couldn't pass up. Yes, I was giving up work I love, but to me, seeing myself accomplish my long-term goals was more important at this stage in my career.
So the next time you find yourself faced with a tough choice, ask yourself these questions. Visualize what your life would look like. And remember that sometimes taking a risk can lead you down a wonderful path.