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2 min readWhat Drives Your Choices?

by Guy Gage | July 19, 2020 | Business, Leadership, Performance, Personal Management

Choices All Day Long

I’ve written before about making good choices here and here. Every day you make hundreds of choices and most of them are made without much conscious thought (up to 95%). That can pose a serious problem because making important choices while on autopilot can and does get you into fixes you don’t want.

For instance, you are working on a document and you stumble upon something that you would like to explore further. You’re at a crossroad: do you continue with the completion of the project or do you veer off to a deeper dive into what caught your attention? If you don’t make a conscious choice, you will default to your subconscious pattern. Your choice may risk either missing an important deadline or sacrificing your technical competence. This pattern happens all the time throughout every one of your days.

So what drives your choices? This is an important question because, as a professional, you don’t have time to fool around or make choices that distract you or untrack you. Your time, energy and attention are too valuable to squander. Yet too many choices aren’t made consciously.

Common Choice Drivers

Here are four common choice drivers I’ve heard in my coaching meetings with managers and partners. I have to admit that I’m guilty of using all of them and fall victim to them when I’m not paying attention. See if any of these resonate with you.

  1. You want what you want now. This is when you allow your cravings to rule your life. You succumb to the desires of the moment, giving little thought as to the significance or immediate importance of the choice. Whether it’s a certain project, task, or a cheeseburger, what you want now is the first criterion that presents itself. But just because it’s first doesn’t mean it’s best.
  2. What others want. Another easy force to surrender to is relying on others to direct your priorities. In any collaborative environment, you have to align your choices with the work of the team. But then you use that as an excuse to allow others to set the goal line of achievement or the bar of expectation, without you giving it any thought.
  3. You want it all. This is when you try to find ways of blending everything so you don’t miss opportunities. FOMO (fear of missing out) is rooted in this criterion. You are likely to hop from one activity to another, never allowing the deep concentration to final completion of any one thing. Having way too many unfinished projects is a hallmark of this criterion.

The Best Driver

  1. What I want most. This is when your aspirations direct your attention. You have to be much more conscious and intentional about where you are going and why. This requires that you are thoughtful about what you will and won’t do, setting the right priorities and focusing on the 20% that bring the 80% benefit.

Keep your goals and aspirations ever before you. Review them EVERY morning before you start your day. Check in periodically throughout the day to ensure you are doing the right things at the right time.

Since you probably are familiar with all of these, which one, if you were to tame it, would benefit you and your team? How will you redirect yourself to accelerate your goals and career pursuits? If you don’t do it, who knows what drives your choices?

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