Almost anything is easier to get into than to get out of. Agnes Allen
My business partner, Camille Harris, has always had a strong entrepreneurial bent. Starting at age 25, over a 10-year period, she founded and ran (simultaneously) a non-profit organization and two home-based businesses, co-renovated her “fixer-upper” home, and became a mother of two. Each of the things she “got herself into” was rewarding, but she realized that she was burnt out by the ripe young age of 35.
It took Camille about four years to work her way out of the three businesses and change her life to achieve a more balanced life. When she talks about those early adult years, she often says, “I don’t know how I did it.” She also says, “I learned a lot! I’ll never get that overextended again!”
How do you consistently make GOOD decisions and not get into MORE than you can handle? Well, it’s tough. Camille and I recommend that you focus on 4 key criteria when you are making small AND large decisions.
Let’s call these 4 key criteria “VCAB”!! Keep in mind that some decisions must be made quickly. It may be necessary to use only one or two of the VCAB criteria to reach a “Yes” or “No.”
- Know your values. Write them down. Post them. Memorize them.
- Here are some lists of possible values: to be debt-free, to own my own home, to be in a committed relationship (or marry), to be happy at work, to enjoy my life, etc. The list is endless. It’s YOUR list!
- If you have trouble coming up with a list of personal values, contact us to request our Values Exercise document. It will help you get in touch with your values!
- Make sure your values are YOUR values and NOT the values that your peers, family members, or others expect you to have!
- Ask yourself: What core VALUE(S) are served by a decision to “get into something new?”
- Identify your current commitments.
- Write down your commitments to yourself, your family, your social network, your work, your home, your organizations, and your community. Write down any other commitments.
- Arrange your commitments into “commitment areas.” Here are some commitment areas to consider: Self-Care/Self-Development, Family, Friends, Community, Mindfulness/Mediation, Work/Career, Other (list).
- Graph your commitments on a pie chart. What percentage of your time do you commit to each area? Make your commitments total 100% on the chart.
- Assess or evaluate your current commitments.
- Are your commitments aligned with your values? If not, which commitment(s) might you want to drop?
- Are you following through with current commitments? If not, what’s getting in the way?
- Are you over-committed? If “yes,” can you afford to “get into” new commitments?
- Assess or evaluate potential new commitments.
- If you get into a new commitment, how hard will it be to get out of it?
- Estimate the kind of resources that a new commitment will take. Do you have the time, energy, and other resources to take on a new commitment?
- What impact will a new commitment have on your current commitments?
- How do you feel about your “life balance?” Great, Good, Ok, Unacceptable?
- Ask yourself how a pending decision might affect your “life balance.” For example, will saying “yes” commit you to something that will take a substantial amount of time away from other things that you value more?
- What’s your current stress level? Low, medium, high, off the charts? How will a decision to say “yes” to something new affect your stress level?
- What adjustments (if any) do you want to make to your current commitments to achieve the life balance that you want and the stress level you are willing to accept?
Questions for Reflection:
- Identify a current “pending decision” about something that is important to you.
- Assess how the decision you are considering will fit with your values.
- What ways does your decision affect current and future commitments?
- Assess how your decision might affect your “life balance.”
- What is your decision?
We welcome your “Comments” (see below) on this blog and in social media! Let us know what you think about this post and if it was helpful to you! Thank you!