Decisions with “No Regrets”: 10/10/2010

 

About 3 years ago, I faced a conundrum – not of the soul – but of the mind; I was fortunate to have received three meaningful opportunities to take on a new career path; as I went searching for answers, very early one morning, these three questions kept flashing in my mind.

Is this right?

Is this fair?

Is this beautiful?

I resolved, through weeks of exploration, that whatever “change” in my career happens, has to reflect these guiding questions. Now that I have accepted my current role, and moved to this corner of paradise, I feel, that I have used these guiding questions to make a good decision that has changed our lives forever.

Every day, the challenges we face are different. Sometimes our challenges are practical – should I take this job, should I buy this house – or it could be emotional – should I move forward in a relationship. In most cases, it’s rare to find “100% satisfaction guaranteed” answers.

One of the learnings from my proefessional experience have focused around making “no regrets” decisions.

Every time I face a crucial decision, I try to explore as many “facts” as possible; then, knowing what I know at that particular moment, I try to understand what are factors, that may make me regret the decision in few weeks, months, or even years. This path of thinking allows me to explore the pitfalls and imagine beyond, just today.

Often in business, we face a series of contradictory decisions. We can invest for tomorrow – or take a greater amount of profit today. We can repair a piece of equipment for a few years or buy a new one; hire someone who has more “runway” then experience for a particular role. These decisions, sometimes with high financial stakes, are not simple, binary choices. There is plenty of gray to overcome.

A “no regrets” decision, typically involves thinking about all the stakeholders who are affected by this change. At the workplace, for me, it typically involves understanding the needs of the shareholders (of the company), my team and our external customers. Making decisions that best meet the needs of all three constituents has typically been a great guide at the workplace.

With a teenager at home, on a fairly regular basis, one faces contradictory decisions – should we give her the ultimate freedom to choose whatever she likes as a profession – or should we provide guidance – or maybe more of a “nudge”. One’s heart may crave to let her just wander about – from subject to subject – until she discovers what she truly likes. At sixteen or seventeen, it’s not always clear what profession would be a fit, both intellectually and from personal traits.

At the end, whatever comes, can become beautiful; but the only person who can make that happen is, me. I will use my conscience as a guide to take make this journey fair for everyone and that, in itself, is an elegant outcome.

The questions I have asked at the beginning are not questions any more. They are what I have to do to make my limited stay on this earth – a beautiful one.

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