Decision Time: Move Forward or Change Course

by Alli Polin on July 23, 2013

Decision Time: How do you know when it's time to give up or keep going down the road you're traveling?

I was driving home from running errands this week and saw a flashing traffic sign near a construction site that I’ve probably seen a million times before:

Expect Delays Ahead

Consider Alt Route 

This time however, it was as if the road sign wasn’t only talking about traffic but also my life.  Crazy, huh?

  • Should I stay on the road I’m taking home, or is it time for a turn off?
  • What if I decide to take another road and get lost?
  • Should I choose possible frustration and delays and stay on the path that I know will take me where I want to go?
  • What’s the worst thing that could happen if I took a left turn?

Many roads can lead to the same destination.  You pick your path. ~ Alli Polin (Click to Tweet)

Are you wondering if it’s time to take the alternate route or hang in there with your current direction? 

Here are a few truths to tap into during your decision-making process.

CHOICES

We always have choices available to us but often we choose to ignore the ones that are farthest out of our comfort zone.   When we decide to ignore all the options swirling around us and go with the status quo, it’s still a choice.  Might as well be intentional.

RISK

Risks are ever-present even when we’re on the path of least resistance.  The risk of following the straight and narrow?  You’ll only ever go where you’ve been before.  The risk of turning off your path and starting a new adventure?  It will be the equivalent of a boring ride with monotonous scenery.  The secret?  You can always turn the car around and head in the opposite direction.

PERSEVERANCE

There are all kinds of power of positive thinking quotes that inspire us to stay the course.  While none of them are rocket science, they serve a purpose – to remind us that even when we’re tired and frustrated and just want out, perseverance will get us through when it really matters.  There is a time for turn offs and a time to stay the course.  Now may truly be the time for you to keep moving down your intended path.  Nobody said the road would be easy (and free from traffic).

HOPE & FAITH

With every decision there is always an element of hope and faith too.  It’s like a virtual fingers crossed moment at the point of a decisionHope, when married to our desire to create something better allows us to take greater risk.; faith needs to be our partner as we take the first turn into the unknown.

LEAP

Now is the time.  You’re on the road and the traffic is moving.  Do you turn or do you keep moving forward?  Can you absolutely, positively know that you’ll make the right choice before you take action?  Nope; it’s a leap.  It helps when you’re not alone in the car and have other people riding with you on your journey.  They’ll have suggestions, insights and strong recommendations for you.  Still, truth is, you’re at the wheel; nobody can turn it for you.  It’s time to leap. (Click to Tweet)

In case you’re wondering, I chose to keep on going straight along the path I was already traveling.  I was prepared for the delays and was happily surprised when I didn’t encounter them.  I zipped home with the realization that external warnings are important but there is no substitution for going with my gut.  I had a sense of the right road to take.  Who knows, maybe next time I’ll make another choice.

What about you?  How do you know when to stay on the road you’re on or to turn off and make a change? 

BREAK THE FRAME ACTION: Be intentional.  Every “yes” has a flip side “no.”  Make a list of what you’re saying “yes” to and what you’re saying “no” to before you leap.  

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Matthew Hawley July 23, 2013 at 10:44 am

Great post. I would add that having a trusted developmental partner* can be very helpful in (initial) route selection and deciding when/how to stay-the-course as a journey ‘evolves.’

* Whatever could I mean here? A Coach, of course… !

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Alli Polin July 24, 2013 at 7:27 am

Matt – I absolutely know the power of a trusted partner where you can safely noodle possibility without judgment or fear but with incredible support. Incredibly valuable!

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Blair Glaser July 23, 2013 at 11:26 am

Great post, Alli! And so relevant for me right now! As a theater person, I don’t know if you liked musicals, but your post made me think of my favorite lyric from “Sunday in the Park with George”

I chose and my world was shaken
So what?
The choice may have been mistaken
But choosing was not
You have to move on

Thanks for the great reminder and encouragement. Make the choice!

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Alli Polin July 24, 2013 at 8:53 am

Blair – I love musicals! However, that is a lyric that I was not familiar with.

“Choosing was not a mistake.”

I feel that and 100% know that’s true. Crossroads can stink but nobody ever said we can’t make another choice and keep on going.

You rock, Blair!

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Lalita Raman July 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Decision time happens at every mode if life and one I think we need to ask to get out of comfort zones, and probably even think differently and may be change perception to things.

It is the same decision modes, which help us determine whether we should stick to a path we have chosen. The why is answered I believe on this questioning.

Good post Alli. Relevant points raised by you.

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Alli Polin July 24, 2013 at 8:45 am

Lalita – The why and getting into action are deeply tied together. I feel like I’m in decision cycles. Crossroads are everywhere and then, once I get into action I move… until the next crossroads and the decision is really an opportunity to get clear on what matters most – and why.

Always appreciate your insights & connection!

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Lolly Daskal July 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm

My favorite part of your post is the one when you took the LEAP!
you trusted your gut!

How brilliant. If only we would ALL just listen to the messages we have within us! How simple life and leading would be.

Thanks for sharing.

Lolly
Lead From Within

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Alli Polin July 24, 2013 at 8:48 am

Lolly – That’s my favorite too because that’s what it comes down to. We can never ever know with 100% certainty if our choice is the right one but we can LEAP with confidence, enthusiasm, and faith that we’ll figure it out! It’s amazing when we really reflect and look within that we truly have the answers that we’re looking for so desperately from everyone else.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom here!

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Jon Mertz July 24, 2013 at 6:24 am

Alli, Discernment plays a role in knowing what choice we need to make. It is a question of continue progress ahead in achieving our purpose or time to change paths to renew our direction. We need to think about our major milestones and discern whether it is time to change direction or move forward in our path.

Great points made in your post! Appreciate it. Jon

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Alli Polin July 24, 2013 at 8:50 am

Jon, Love that you’ve added discernment. Each of us has the ability to judge well and weigh the options against the many factors that we need to consider…. time, money, resources. We need to learn to rely on our ability to discern the path through the noise.

Many thanks, Jon!

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Johann Gauthier July 24, 2013 at 9:56 am

Great post Alli !
You and I recently discussed an your call to leap really resonates with me.
I believe you and I share the same principle with myself trying to figure out how and when to truly achieve our life’s purpose.
Living a life of adventure and being open to change is so critical.
No matter what happens success is bound to happen because there’s so much passion at play.
I know I will be doing the leap!
Thanks for your call to action!
Appreciate and grateful for our connection!
Johann

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Alli Polin July 24, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Johann – I LOVE the adventure. It’s the adventure that let’s me joyfully turn left and explore without feeling stuck. Passion and joy are great guides to help us see roads and turns that others do not and our curiosity and willingness to TRY is what will take us the distance!

I echo what you wrote – I too am grateful for our connection!

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Terri Klass July 24, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Outstanding post, Alli and loved the sign! We all come to crossroads at different times in our personal and professional lives. I have found it helpful to look inwards and be totally honest about what drives us and understand what gets us to jump out of bed in the morning. Once we make that decision, I adore your idea of “perseverance” because it is so easy to give up when we aren’t successful right away. Thanks for sharing!

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Alli Polin July 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm

You know what I’ve discovered, Terri… when I look inward, I CAN find the answer I’m looking for… but I then try to justify why it’s wrong and don’t want to listen to what I know I need to do. The biggest leap is trusting our choices and not continuing to mull over “what if” forever but instead move forward with purpose.

Also – perseverance is HUGE. There are many times I’ve felt like giving up and then – voila! Progress.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment and insights, Terri!

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