Fred Smith said, “Life is a network of decisions.”
We make decisions all day long. When you wake up, you decide whether to just lie there, press the snooze button, or get out of bed. You also decide how you feel about the day ahead in those early moments. Do you see opportunity, repeated routines, or abject drudgery? You further make the choice to continue doing what you’re doing or make moves to schedule your life around something else.
Some decisions are more important than others. It’s not that important what you eat for breakfast, what time you eat it, or whether you eat it at all. It’s much more important to choose your spouse wisely, manage your money, and spend time with your kids.
There are three steps that support all good decisions.
The first is this: To make good decisions, you must gather all the facts.
Facts are valuable. It’s important to know from the outset what really is. Don’t confuse that with the reality you’d like to believe. Truth is truth. Sometimes things are not as they appear on the surface.
Chuck Swindoll was giving a week of presentations. He noticed a man who slept during every session. He naturally assumed that the man was bored and that it was his wife that wanted to be there. After the last session, the wife approached Chuck. She told him, “It was my husband’s idea to come here. You’re his favorite Bible teacher. He has terminal cancer and his last wish was to hear you speak and meet you in person. The medication he is taking makes him very sleepy though, and that causes him a great deal of embarrassment.”
Chuck felt humbled and severely rebuked.
Be careful what you assume.
The second step is a question: What opportunities do I see now?
Just about everything can be done more than one way.
I recently taught my son how to mow grass. As I watched, I saw that his way of getting the job done was different than mine. Rather than discourage him by making him follow every rule I set for myself, I decided to emphasize a certain result. Then from time to time I would ask him, “How does this look to you? Is there anything that might need more work? What looks good?”
My hope was to get him involved in the process by seeing his own options and choosing from among them.
Having a set of choices means you have to leave something behind. Since we don’t have all the time in the world, we can’t do everything. When your alarm goes off in the morning, you have the opportunity to get up or stay in bed. If you get up, you leave behind the option of staying in bed. If you stay in bed, you forsake the option of getting up at the time you decided when you set the alarm.
When you see all the options and their consequences clearly, it’s fairly simple to choose the best one.
The third step in good decision making is so important, you can’t make a good choice without it. To make a decision good, it has to be able to be implemented.
If you can’t put your plan into action, it’s not a good plan.
Let’s say I decide to go to the lake. I drive my car there. But instead of towing a boat, I pull a school bus. Do you think that bus will float?
If my plan is to sink, then it’s a good plan. Since busses don’t float, I won’t succeed trying to navigate the waters.
Good decision making is within your reach. Get all the facts you can. Consider the options those facts present and weigh the outcome of each option. If the path you choose is good, you’ll be able to take action on it.
Now that’s the way to build your network.