A long time ago, as I reached the end of my teacher training, I started going to interviews for my first job. It was the end of the 70s and people were already going on about high unemployment and a shortage of jobs.
In the end I applied for something like 35 jobs and went to 18 interviews. I still remember things about a lot of those schools. The one in Cornwall where you could look from the playing fields down over sheep grazing on the hills to a glimpse of the sea. The one with incredibly narrow corridors where the students had to turn sideways to pass each other. The one with cherry trees in glorious pink blossom in early May.
But the one I go back to in my mind is the one where I got offered the job and couldn’t make up my mind. I sat in the headmaster’s study in an agony of indecision. It was late in the day, and everybody had gone home, including the other candidates for the job. There was just the headmaster and me and my indecision.
After a while, he said to me that he had to go and check on one or two things and lock up. Then he would come back and I would have to give my answer. That would give me a few minutes on my own to make my decision.
I was still no nearer to a decision when he came back in.
And then something clicked in my mind and the situation suddenly became clear. And I said to the headmaster, “If I have to think about it as much as this, then the answer must be no.”
And I walked out of there with a sense of relief.
I’ve never regretted that decision.
I had another situation recently where someone made me an offer and it was going around in my mind. Lots of arguments for, but did I really want to do it? And then this incident came to mind again and I knew the answer had to be ‘no.’
I share this little story with you in the hope that it may ease a difficult decision for you in the future. Just remember, if you have to think about it, then the answer’s probably ‘no.’ The best decisions are the ones you don’t even really think about. You know exactly what you’re going to say.
Another pointer: we often have a lot of different voices and motivations going round in our heads and it can be difficult to know which of them really belong to us and which are those of our parents, loved ones, friends or simply the one that doesn’t want to upset the person in front of us.
Try to decide what’s you and what isn’t.
And then ask what you really want to do.
It’s you that will have to live with the decision, not someone else. So don’t get trapped into saying what you think other people want to hear. You’ll be selling yourself short and ultimately, you’ll be selling everybody around you short as well, even if they may not recognize that immediately.
Have a great week.