I had been thinking and thinking for a long time about whether or not I should pursue something new at work. I thought long and hard and weighed the pros and cons of this path for a while now. Pursuing it would mean a small change in my career. But I wasn’t sure about making that change especially given uncertainty around every corner of business today. There were a lot of questions that I wanted clarity around, such as: Will this allow me to grow into a better job? Will this new assignment mean that I would be passed up for opportunities in my current area? Will this role be eliminated? Will I be any good at it? and so on.. And time flew by. Weeks, months and a whole year. I waited and waited to see the person in charge.
Finally I did it. No, I didn’t quit my job. But I did get off the fence. I went to see the person in charge and pitched him on an idea – an assignment that would allow me to enter into a new area that I’m interested in. I forced myself to just make a choice and move on already. To choose either one side of the fence or the other. I chose one of the sides. I’m not sure if it is the right side of the fence I jumped into but I did it. Who knows if I made the right decision? Only time will tell. But I made a choice and did it – I got off the fence.
Here’s the thing about uncertainty. It paralyzes you. And not knowing what will happen after a choice is made is scary. It frightens us. No matter how much information we have, making any choice – any decision can be difficult. But what I’ve come to realize is that sitting on the fence is no fun either. You get stuck in limbo land. You go through life thinking that you’re going to make that decision one day and that one day never comes. That when conditions are perfect, that’s when I’ll make my move. When the stars align – that’s when I’ll strike. And you get lazy, scared and can even lose focus on your current job. And the fact remains that stars DON’T align. Things don’t get simpler but they do get more complex and more uncertain. It becomes a vicious cycle where you end up delaying a choice forever and life passes you by.
There’s nothing sinister conspiring to keep us from making a decision about making a career change, pursuing that passion or simply writing that novel. It’s only us. Our logical, over stimulated minds who fear the unknown and suffer through paralysis by analysis.
Heading home from work after I got off the fence, I felt so much better. I felt elated and not because I think I made the right move. I felt better because I don’t have to bother constantly thinking about it anymore. Getting off the fence made me feel like a burden has been lifted from my shoulder and that I made some small incremental progress. So what if I made the wrong move? At least I’ll know it was wrong and I’ll figure out the next step. But at least I did it. A small but potent victory. It feels good to do something different and finally make a decision on something no matter how small the decision. Even a token or more symbolic decision gives you courage and confidence to do more. Small decisions build on each other and create positive energy, momentum and progress. Here’s the best part of getting off the fence: You’ll be kicking yourself for not doing it earlier!
Get Off the Fence [Rule #2: Say YES, Rule #5: Put Purpose to Work]