Today we want to talk about the choices we make and the sacrifices that go along with them. Some people say that’s an outdated concept – choices and sacrifices. We disagree. As long as a person only has 24 hours in a day, trade-offs will continue to exist.
We have a friend who was talking about the choice she and her husband made to have kids. She said that she really wanted to stay home with them when they were young. So she suspended her career which meant that less money for her family.
You can’t have it all, but you can have all you really want.
It starts with a realistic assessment. To continue with the choice about having kids, you may choose to have kids and continue working. But there are still trade-offs – not as much time with your spouse, money spent on child-care, and less sleep to name a few.
When faced with an important decision, ask yourself these two questions:
- To get what you want, what will you have to give up?
- Are you willing to do that?
These two questions help you weigh the relative importance of your options. They will also help you later – when the reality of what you sacrificed comes to fruition – you can remind yourself that you are doing what you want.
It doesn’t have to be “all or nothing” all of the time.
It’s important to not under-estimate the sacrifices that will be necessary to make something happen. However, it’s also crucial to not over-estimate them. We have a tendency to look at things in an “all or nothing” manner.
Even major decisions, like having kids, often have phases. Our friend went back to work after her kids went to school. Then she and her family were able to live more comfortably.
Since then, she has continued working at her primary career, as has her husband, although they really want to own their own business. However, they’re postponing that until their youngest finishes college. They feel more comfortable with the security of two regular paychecks.
So to have all you really want, the key is to know what you really want.
That sounds so simple, but it isn’t with all the options we have presented to us. We came up with 4 secrets to finding what you really want:
Secret 1: Avoid the “grass is greener” syndrome.
If you’re not happy with your current situation, don’t just jump at something new. Make sure it’s really important to you and your long-term future. If you don’t do this, you may end up just as unhappy with a whole new commitment.
Secret 2: Make sure it’s really is your choice.
Sometimes we do things for the wrong reasons. It’s your time – you should choose how you spend it. Someone else may think it’s the best thing for you. Another person may want something for you that you don’t want for yourself. Choose to make your choices for your reasons.
Secret 3: Test it in advance if you can.
If there’s a way to “dip your toes in the water,” by all means do it! For example, if you’re considering a career change, you might do similar work on a volunteer basis for your favorite charity. Or see if you can “shadow” someone as they do that job you think you want.
If your career change requires going back to school, start off with one class to see if you really do like it. Back to our original example – having kids – offer to babysit for a weekend for a friend or a relative. If you’re still as excited at the end of the weekend as you were at the beginning, you might be ready!
Secret 4: Once you’ve decided, focus on what can be, not what might have been.
Once you’ve made your decision, put all your energy into making it work for you. Don’t keep thinking about what you gave up. That’s a recipe for being miserable. Instead, focus on what you have now by choosing this path.
You can’t have it all, but you can have all you really want. Decide what that is and go for it!
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You made a choice to read our post today and we thank you so much. Join us next time when we talk with a college graduate whose search for the American dream led him to a homeless shelter. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!
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