How to Make Better Decisions

In my 20’s, I found myself making really bad decisions with my life. My emotions were ruling me and I couldn’t figure out why everything sucked so much.

I was drinking heavily, getting together with insane women and going to work 3 hours late. I found myself eating chocolate and drinking tons of coffee to stay awake. Then I bought a car that I couldn’t afford.

Suddenly I found myself unable to sleep and having heart palpitations at night. I went to the doctor and he put me on anti-anxiety medication. Things were pretty much… “a shit.”

So I decided I needed to examine the decisions I was making in my life. I did a very simple exercise that helped me get clear about what I was deciding to do and why I was making the decision. That gave me the insight to make better decisions in the future.

Here’s what I did. First, I started by writing down every big decision I had made in recent months. I then wrote why I made the decision and what the outcome was.

Then, I told myself

“NO DECISION MAKING UNTIL I WRITE IT DOWN!

I would write the options I had and why I was choosing a particular option.
I would then allow myself to actually make the decision and not beat myself up over the outcome.

We MUST make decisions! We cannot let ourselves get paralyzed by too many options or fear of the unknown.

The final step of this process was putting time on my schedule every month to revisit decisions and evaluate how they worked out in retrospect. I would see my bad decisions and why I chose to make them. I would see my good decisions and I would see why I chose to make them.

Eventually this gave me a great deal of clarity about what kind of thinking got me into trouble and which types of decisions I needed help with.

If you’re having trouble deciding on a career, try to strengthen your decision making skills using this method.

Whatever you do, make a decision. If you never make a decision, you will be stuck forever and unable to move forward. Break free from your fear!

What decisions are you delaying?

What Would Help You Most?

I admit it, I’m sometimes clueless as to what my audience wants to see on this site. You probably stumbled upon this site while doing career research. But did you get anywhere? Have you made any real progress? Have you taken any actions toward taking charge of your life? If not, I’m not doing my job. I want you to become a person who takes action and sculpts the kind of life that you’re truly happy about; not someone who starts a hundred things and finishes none. I want you to see that you CAN be that person and that becoming that person will bring you success and happiness. So I ask you, what do you need help with? What specific issues are you having in relation to your career search or some other area of your life?

What Would You Tell Little You About Your Career?

If I could tell younger, more naive Mike anything about working with computers for a living, it would be these things:

  1. You will not just be working with computers, you’ll be working with people.
  2. You will be annoyed by people and their demands far more than you will actually code.
  3. A summary of how I feel about my job: “Get it done yesterday.”
  4. I get paid well and that’s awesome. It’s the single perk.
  5. Learn to spend time helping people hands on, right now (there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer, even if you don’t believe it – ask mom). This will show you what you really want to do.
  6. Working for a Coporation is like a Hell unparalleled by any experience you have had to date. It is a feeling of using all of your energy to restrict and repress your emotions and potential.
  7. 99% of the jobs you can EASILY find are in Corporations, so be aware that you’ll need to work to get a good job elsewhere. By work, I mean talk to people, ask people for advice, ask questions, show people what you’re capable of. Yes, you’ll have to actually talk to people.
  8. You will someday start a business and it would be helpful to you if you a) take a business class or two and b) choose a major in which you can actually give a shit. This major can give you the basis for your business later. For instance, if I were a music major, I can start a business teaching people music or helping musicians with marketing themselves online.
  9. You might not have enough skill or the portfolio to be a musician. And that’s ok. There are a million things you can do with your ears. Like audio engineering at a recording studio or engineering for a Broadway musical.
  10. Research potential careers. That is, talk to people who do those things. What do they think about that field. Do they like it? Why? Why not? Will you like those same things? Will you dislike those same things? Find some common ground with the person so you can compare experiences and understand if their likes and dislikes will be the same for you.
  11. Money is important, yes. But it’s not the only thing. Try to be a little uncomfortable in your daily life and try surviving on less.
  12. Start a band immediately. Express yourself and see how much you love performing, despite the fear holding you back.

To my adult readers, what would you say to the younger you?

 

What to do When You F*cking. Hate. Your. Career!

I have “f*cking hated” my job(s) more times than I care to admit. This was especially true after the birth of each of my sons, when I wanted to be home helping my wife and holding their tiny bodies.

It was also true when I had the most boring job in the world where I found myself becoming a person I didn’t actually like.

And it becomes true every time I get a new business idea and decide that the idea is far more important and fulfilling than my actual career.

Take a deep breath. No, really.
If you’re going to survive this job without an ulcer, you need to take a step back and take a deep breath. Or 20.

Unfortunately, you are dependent upon your job. You need the money and they don’t pay you to slack off and fantasize about business ideas all day long. The longer you slack off, the higher the chance they’ll notice and the better the chance you’ll get kicked to the curb.

When you start talking about “hating” things and what you “want” or supposedly “need”, that’s not you. That’s your ego and you need to deflate that fucker fast! The easiest way to do that is to take some deep breaths. Center yourself. Understand that your job needs to come first while you’re at work (if you can get your work done in half the time, I’ll give you the rest of the day to slack off).

Next, Make a Choice
What are you going to do about this shitty job you’re stuck in? You’re a smart guy (or girl), you’re educated and you don’t particularly like being miserable every day, do you? You have to make a decision here. You can start looking for a new job or you can decide to change careers.

If you’ve only been at one job in your field or you’ve been doing the same job for more than 3 years, you should consider looking for a new job. Quitting is terrifying and liberating at the same time, but it’s also easier than switching careers.

Is this the Right Career for You?
There comes a time when you realize you don’t hate your f*cking Job, you hate your f*cking CAREER! And that is a bigger problem for people who need their income and work in high-paying industries.

I went to work one day and said “I f*cking HATE I.T.(my field)!!!” And that was it. I launched this site and started searching and trying to figure out what the hell I could do with my life.

“How do you escape?”
“How can you match the salary?”
“How can you get paid well without taking on so much stress?”
“Do I really have to go back to school??”

So many questions! I went into this productivity coma while day dreaming and researching, but ultimately I felt completely trapped.

At the same time, my wife started a catering company. I saw that she struggled with the basics like web design, marketing and keeping the books so I started helping. I found myself completely consumed in it. I found a passion!

The only problem was that I wanted to control the company. I wanted to come up with the vision, optimize the way we did things and think about the long term strategies.

My wife just wanted to use it as a platform to getting a job cooking professionally and wouldn’t give up any control to me. But it served a purpose for both of us. It got her into a kitchen and made me realize what I want to do:

“I want to be an entrepreneur who helps people create businesses and blow past the subconscious limitations that keep them from success.”

It took me many months to fully realize that and put it into words, but once I found it, I found meaning, I found hope and I believe that I found a way out of Corporate Hell.