In his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, author Gregory McKeown dedicates an entire chapter to cutting our losses. It’s not an easy thing to do. He cites several examples in which it’s human nature to cling to things we already own, to continue to justify costs into a failing project and to do things the way we always have, even if they are non-productive or pointless. We fear loss. We fear waste. We fear change.
As the owner of a small business in an ever-changing industry, I often have to make tough calls and act quickly. I have a limited amount of time to dwell on the possibilities. Sometimes this works to my advantage because I don’t overthink it, but there are times I fear that I will make the wrong choice. It’s never easy to cut something or somebody, but despite the internal angst, I have never regretted a decision.
I’ve been working closely with our newly minted people manager (Jennifer) the past few weeks as she navigates her role. As a self-proclaimed people gal, she struggles with tough decisions, particularly when it comes to removing someone from the team.
Jennifer’s most endearing quality is empathy, which is necessary when working with people. It’s great to have her in this role because she also helps to balance my analytical and rational brain. Overseeing our contractors has stretched her, but she’s not afraid to do what must be done. If Jennifer – a true lover of people – can make a cut, I know that anyone can do it.
There are some people who make all kinds of excuses to avoid making a decision. I know a family that has been trying to renovate their home for over 30 years. There are bathrooms and bedrooms that aren’t finished, walls that will never be painted, and rooms with nothing but materials for projects. The reason they can’t finalize their plans is simply because they can’t make a decision. Sounds silly when you think about it, right? But, inaction is action. If we choose not to choose, we’re not actively eliminating the things we don’t want to make room for things we do want.
McKeown tells a story of the founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, who describes the role of a CEO as being the chief editor of the company. Editors make cuts. They make decisions. We are all the CEOs of our life. So, make a decision already!
“You cannot make progress without making decisions.” - Jim Rohn
Are you struggling with a personal or professional decision? I would love to hear about it. Share your thoughts here.