I had a big career decision to make after I got back from serving in the military. Should I accept a position as a broadcaster for a nearby radio station that I was just offered? Or ought I to hold off and see how my search for a sales position in the big city goes?
Is it accurate to say that a bird in hand is worth two in a bush?
In addition to working for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Networks while in the military, I had been a TV performer in the past. I wanted to try broadcast sales after being released because it was something different.
I felt bad for ignoring the bird in my hand to pursue the uncertain sales opportunity because my then-wife was expecting, and I might never succeed.
I was under pressure to decide quickly, but I was unable to. What a conundrum! I felt as though my mind, which is usually so reliable, had gone on vacation and left me to struggle with a choice that eluded me.
Comedian Jimmy Durante knew this feeling well when he sang:
“Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go,
however, you still felt compelled to stay.”
How to make decisions
Some years later, I learned that a Psychologist named Abraham Low had diagnosed this condition in some of his patients as “being in duality.” That is acting in two different ways at once and being incapable of choosing. The late neuropsychiatrist recommended three easy steps for his patients to follow in order to break free from duality and make up their minds: decide, plan, and act.
When you are unable to decide what to do or how to weigh your options, you have a split mind. In order to end duality, Dr. According to Low, it was crucial to make a decision about the best course of action as soon as possible and to avoid turning around. Next, decide how to proceed and then carry out your plan. “A firm decision will steady you,” wrote Dr. Low in his book, Willpower Training and Mental Health.
Although I wish I had been aware of Dr. I used Low’s method when I was unhappy, and I’ve used it well ever since in both my personal life and as a coach when I encounter clients who are unable to decide between two or more options.
The question of whether it’s better to hold onto what you have now rather than take a chance on getting something better in the future frequently arises among my candidates. Jimmy Durante continues:
“It’s hard to have the feeling that you wanted to go,
but you still feel the urge to stay.”
When receiving multiple job offers at once, some of my clients asked for coaching support to help them decide which opportunity to accept. Others faced the same decision I did when they first received offers: should they accept them or keep looking for better opportunities?
Derrick, on the other hand, accepted a nice offer on a Wednesday for a job that would begin the following Monday. He did, however, receive a second job offer that Friday, one that would begin the following Monday.
Strategies for making up your mind
I provided Derrick and other job applicants with decision-making advice based on Dr. Milton Erickson, Dr. Carl Rogers, and others Low, and others.
There are numerous methods available that you can use to make decisions in both your personal and professional life. In subsequent articles, I’m excited to share them with you.