Our mind is a powerful piece of machinery that can work in our favor—and also work against us. When imagining all the possibilities in life, sometimes it is easier to shut down than it is to ask “What if …?” While analyzing opportunities or possibilities, it can be helpful to break each decision down and write down all the pros and cons. Additionally, it is important to be completely honest with yourself during this assessment. You don’t have to show your list to anyone. This is just for you. For example, your question and list might look something like this:
What if I sold my house?
I would gain freedom from yard work, house repairs, and hefty property taxes.
I would have more time to pursue my passions.
I could invest the profit from the sale for retirement.
I would lose a solid investment that generally increases in value with each year.
I would lose a significant tax deduction.
I would lose space for my dog to run.
I would lose great neighbors who know me and look out for me.
Now it is time to sit back and evaluate the pros and cons. Are there more pros than cons or the opposite? Are your pros stronger than your cons? Are your pros and cons realistic (R) or are they fear-based (F)? Write an R or an F next to each pro and con. Do you have more Rs or Fs? Finally, ask yourself one last important question:
Am I making this decision for me or to make someone else happy?
Although we all sometimes make decisions based on what is best for our families, it is equally as important to make decisions that fill our happiness tanks and give us a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Is this decision taking you to where you want to be? If not, it’s time to re-evaluate again.
Another example might be this question:
What if I take the job?
I would gain a 20% increase in annual salary and bonus incentives.
I would gain the kind of skills that I need to pursue my dream job.
I would gain a relationship with a superior who is nurturing, kind, and supportive.
I would be free from a negative culture that does not support the growth of its team members.
I would have regular hours that would allow me more time with my children.
I will lose three weeks of vacation.
I will lose the feeling of security.
I will lose an office with a door.
When contemplating career changes, it is crucial to your decision-making process to evaluate the role based on facts gathered through research, the culture of the prospective company, the personality and management style of your potential boss, and most of all, the gut feeling you get when you walk in the door for the interview. Trust it. It doesn’t lie.
Other sample questions might be as follows:
What if I move to Los Angeles?
What if I end my marriage?
What if my son goes away to college three states away?
No matter what decision looms in front of you in the future, following this process of opening your mind to the possibilities will lead you to the answer. If it doesn’t, perhaps it’s not the right time for a change.
Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.