Sep 162014 7 Responses

You Better Make Up Your Mind

Who do you want to be in one of those moments?

You know “those moments.”

The moments:

  • when the stakes are high and the choices are serious.
  • which define not just individuals, but whole families, companies, and communities.
  • which cause most people to make bad choices, lose reputations, and to fold under pressure.

We all want to be the type of people who are the same no matter the situation. We want to be who others can lean on in difficult times. We want to lead when everyone else is afraid. We want to maintain character when everyone else is losing theirs. We want to be what few people are. (See: You Control What Matters Most)

But how?

It’s tempting to believe that the difference between those who lead through tough times and those who wilt under pressure is internal strength. And no doubt strength matters.

Yet the strength of good leaders and bad leaders isn’t that different.

The difference is that good leaders know a secret which bad leaders do not.

The secret of being who you want to be when the moments matter the most is deciding who you will be before those moments occur.

Some decisions must be made before the questions are asked.

You can’t wait for the moment. (See: 7 Lessons Learned From a Crisis)

If you wait, you might make a good choice—once or twice, maybe three times. But if you wait, you are risking disaster. Eventually you will choose poorly.

You must not wait.

You must decide now who you will be then.

So often the difference between those who make wise choices and those who do not is not the inner strength, desire, or will-power of the individual. Often it is the simple timing in which a person chooses to make a decision. A wise person chooses who they want to be before the pressure of the decision is upon them. (See: When a Baby Cries in a Restaurant, Rejoice)

They choose to:

  • be a faithful spouse before they ever feel the temptation to stray.
  • be an honest salesperson before they have the opportunity to cheat a prospect.
  • record their true score before they ever hit the tee shot.
  • love whomever crosses their path.
  • serve no matter what is demanded.

By making the choices before facing the temptation, they remove the stress, pressure, and temptation of the moment. The choice is made solely on who they want to be.

Yet by making the choice before hand, they greatly increase the likelihood of making a wise choice. It doesn’t guarantee it. We can all ignore what we have said we would do and make dramatically different choices. But it does make it much easier to choose wisely.

For a company or organization, many of these choices are expressed through core values. They define what a company will or will not do depending on a situation.

In the same way that a company should define these values, individuals and couples should do the same. (See: What To Do When You Don’t Have a Clue)

  • Who do we want to be?
  • What do we want to value?
  • How will we handle truth?
  • How will we treat people?
  • What will we refuse to be associated with?

In a moment of pressure, any of us could make a foolish choice. Yet when we take the time to answer these questions before a situation occurs, we are more likely to choose wisely.



7 Responses to You Better Make Up Your Mind
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