While having dinner this week with a close friend, he revealed that he had a job offer on the table for a comparable role at a different company. The money was similar and he had been at his current job for about 6 years. He was struggling with the decision and we were bouncing ideas. He is someone who likes to talk things out and process the subject as the words roll off the tongue. I get that, as I’m the same. Verbalising can be part of the decision making process for some as it can somehow put thoughts into a logical order.
My friend is quite an adventurer in terms of exploring the world and travelling, but when it comes to big life decisions he really gets stuck on the over-thinking runaway freight train. He was so paralysed by his indecision. Talking to others and gathering others thoughts and opinions was his attempt to uncover or reveal the ‘right’ decision. He was hoping that somehow a flashing, neon street sign would appear and point him in the right direction. Should he stay in the job that he knows inside out and is his comfort zone? Or should he throw caution to the wind and try something new at the risk of it not working out? Should he step away from his safe ‘plateau’ and jump willingly off a cliff into uncertainty?
There are many ways to tackle this conundrum and everyone will approach it from a slightly different angle based on their own past experiences. If you asked me this question a year ago, I would have said……”if you’re on to a good thing, then why change?” I would have taken the risk averse approach, firmly believing that the grass isn’t always greener and a job is what you make it. However, changed my view on this since taking the ‘safe’ option didn’t work out so well.
My advice to him was to listen to what his gut was telling him. When I say this, I don’t mean in a corny, ‘follow your heart’ approach. I mean this in a deep, primal instinct way. What response was the thought of the change bringing up for him? Was it a a fight or flight reaction, telling him not to do it because change is scary? Or was the thought of spreading his wings and trying something new exhilarating? More often than not, it is a combination of both and this is when he would need to dig deeper.
What I wanted him to ask himself was, will this new job opportunity get him closer to his ‘real’ goals? What even are his ‘real’ goals? Identifying these are a good place to start and every other decision made after this must align with the goals. I find the best way to answer this question is to ask yourself, “if I became a billionaire today and I did not need to work ever again…….what would I do with my time? This is after the world travel, watching bulk episodes of your favourite TV show, buying a mansion, a Ferrari and all of the stuff we say we would do if we came across some serious cash. But after all of that is out of the system and you’ve got the opportunity to attend to that deep desire within you, what would you do? What would make you truly happy? Because that, my friend is what you should be doing!
So, with that in mind, back to the job offer. If it’s simply a job to pay the bills while he saves enough money to allow him to pursue his true passions, then perhaps staying with the ‘safe’ option is a good one. By doing a ‘day-job’ that he knows well, it will require less energy to get through the day. Thus leaving surplus energy to be utilised to pursue his deep-seeded goals. On the flip side, if staying in the current job was not really aligned with his ‘real’ goals and is not part of the pathway to reaching where he truly wants to be, then maybe it’s time to take that leap.
Once you’ve clarified what your ultimate life goals are, I’ve found that every decision you make along the way becomes a little easier. The choices you make after clearly defining and acknowledging your goals, need to align with these goals. Imagine being the CEO of your life and you have identified your ‘organisational purpose’; all your decisions must feed into your organisational purpose otherwise it is a waste of company resources. If staying where you are doesn’t take you one step closer to achieving your ‘organisational goals’, then the writing is on the wall. Decision made!
Change is scary, but it can incite an exhilarating adrenaline rush which reminds you that you are alive and that there is more to life than your regular nine to five. When faced with these life changing decisions, I think it’s important to take the time to ‘meet’ with the CEO of your organisation and ask the question, ‘does this align with my organisational goals’. The question should then be a lot easier to answer.