Decision Making: Balancing the ‘here and now’ and ‘the future’

I am constantly teetering on the fine line between what feels good in the moment and what I know in my heart is right in the long run. The two feelings, and subsequent actions do not always have to be mutually exclusive, but lately I have fallen into the middle. What is the right balance between acting in the here and now and planning for the future?

A friend of mine came to me last week with great news that he has been offered an amazing deal to focus on his startup full time. It’s what he’s been working towards over the past year, but it would require him to give up a well respected, exciting job that he has (but has grown tired of). He knows that the deal in front of him is happening at the right time and just what he is looking for…but the idea of leaving his current job is risky and scary.

If Seth Godin were writing this blog post, I’m sure he wouldn’t fail to mention the resistance (or natural fear) that builds up when we’re just on the verge of diving into our creative genius. It’s there to remind us that we are scared of actually achieving the results that we claim we want. When an opportunity falls into your lap, whether it’s a startup or a new gig, it can be overwhelming and uncomfortable to decide what the best option is.

On top of that, identity can become so easily entwined with who we are when we’re used to being in a certain job, or living in a specific place, or dating someone. When you take that job, that city or that significant other out of your life, who are you? It’s a confusing place to be, especially when you have the luxury of choice (which so many people don’t even have in the first place).

So, how to make it? Our immediate reaction, or gut tells us so much about what we instinctively know to be true. But it gets more and more confusing as we start to rationalize, make pro/con lists and talk to our friends and family. What did we want in the first place?

I recognize that some decisions carry more weight than others, but I tend to remind myself what my intentions are. As I look at the life that I’m creating for myself, I ask, “Is what I’m doing aligned to my future vision?” If it’s not totally aligned but the immediate opportunity will make me happy and help to sustain myself, then I’m okay with sidetracking briefly. But if it’s going to take me off the road that I’m paving, then I have to say no and accept the consequences of my decision.

As one of my coaches once helped clarify for me, “no decision is a decision.” So use your choice wisely.