The Fork in the Road (#49)

forked roadFor many of us, when we come to a fork in the road (a decision), we often stress about which path is the “right one”. Then, after we start down our chosen path, we spend time and energy wondering if we made the right choice, frequently looking back over our shoulder at that proverbial “fork”.

This way of thinking creates a lot of anguish by fostering the belief that making the “right” decision is what’s important. I’d argue that it’s not. What is important is how you execute and follow through on your decision as that is what’s likely going to matter more to your success. From my experience, great execution beats an imperfect strategy.

17 years ago, my wife and I decided to buy our first condo, a “fixer upper.”” We planned for some work, but had not counted on the serious termite damage in our unit, a failing boiler wrapped in asbestos, and a property manager who had been stealing funds for years, leaving the condo association with no reserves. Needless to say, at the time, it definitely didn’t feel like we had made a good decision.

After some brief moments of regret, we realized that there was no going back; all we could do was keep moving forward and make the best of the decision we had made.

So here’s what we did. First, we contacted the inspection company and, after arguing our case, got them to agree to pay for the terminate damage. Then, I joined the condo board, took over the finances and hired a new management company.  We became good friends with another young couple across the hall and jointly lobbied for a special assessment to build up the reserves, replace the boiler, remove the asbestos and make other improvements that would make the building more attractive.

The result? Four years later, we sold our unit for almost 50% more than what we purchased it for, a far better outcome than had we gone with our other options. If we spent those four years looking back, we would have created a self-fulfilling prophecy. This experience taught me a great lesson, one that I have tried to carry forward and remember anytime I feel like I haven’t made the “right” choice.

We all have a slew of business and personal decisions coming at us each day. We want to be smart and informed and use good judgement in our decisions where possible. However, saying that something is either a “right” or a “wrong” decision grossly oversimplifies things. What’s important is to just make the decision and put 100% of your energy behind that choice. It’s what comes after that deserves your focus, attention and passion.

 

Quote of the Week

“We need to spend more time making the decision we made the right one, rather than wondering if we made the right decision.”

Robert Glazer

 

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