Ever have a tough time making a decision? You are faced with two great (or horrible) options and simply cannot decide which one to choose? Then you need to consider a third option. The one that is the most important one of all. Your IDEAL.

That's right. Before you even start to pick between the two, you need to come up with your dream scenario.

Let's say for example, you have two job offers and you're trying to decide which one to pick. Instead of just comparing the characteristics of the two jobs (for example, salary, commute, title, job function), you need to add the characteristics of your ideal job.

If you don't know your ideal, one tip to get started is to start with a blank sheet of paper. Close your eyes and imagine your ideal day at work. How far is it from home? What’s the environment like? The people? What are you doing? Write down the story of your ideal day at your ideal job.

So for the sake of this example, let's assume your ideal is a design job that pays $100K, is within 5 miles of where you live, with a title of Director, as well as the responsibility of managing a team of at least 3 people. Your next step is to line up your two (or as many as you have) options alongside the ideal and then make a comparison.

Characteristic

Ideal Job

Job A

Job B

Salary

100K

110K

90K

Commute

<5 miles

40 miles

2 miles

Title

Director

Director

Director

Role

Design

Design

Research and Design

# of direct reports

3

4

2

While this analytical method will work well - our goal is always AWESOME. So let's take this a step further shall we? The truth is that all choices involve compromises and trade-offs that are more or less important to us. So, if you just compare the jobs using the characteristics, you will not get the most accurate reflection of what you want. Therefore, we need an approach to make this analysis a little more robust (and there it is my friends....my background as an actuary sneaking in!).

In addition to coming up with the characteristics of your ideal job, do a determination of the relative importance of each characteristic. On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it to you?

So for example if you hate commuting as much as I do, you may score the relative importance of that characteristic at a 9 or a 10.  You may be willing to take a cut in salary to have a shorter commute (and in that case your relative value or score for salary may be a 7 or 8).  Looking at the example in the table below, you would need to determine if the 40 mile commute was worth the extra $20k to you?

Characteristic

Ideal Job

Value

Job A

Job B

Salary

>100K

7/10

 110K

 90K

Commute

<5 miles

9/10

 40 miles

 2 miles

Title

Director

5/10

Director

Director

Role

Design

7/10

Design

Research & Design

# of direct reports

3

8/10

4

2

Of course there are ways to get even more analytical but this process will work with any decision you need to make. Choosing a vacation spot, the way to spend your birthday, the car you choose to purchase or even the coach you pick to work with! If you feel stuck, give me a call and we can walk through it together.

Don't be surprised if the analysis reveals that the best decision is not to pick any option you’re given but to keep looking for something closer to your ideal. Knowing the gap between A, B and your ideal is key to making choices that are sustainable and get you closer to your ideal life.

Here's to your Awesome.

Image courtesy of di-s-nataly.ru

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