Sometimes life can be confusing. We try to make sense out of everything that is taking place in our life all at once. Unfortunately, that is just not the way things work. It would be wonderful if life were a nice, neat package that operated according to schedule every day, but sometimes life can be messy. There are unexpected events that take place, circumstances that change and unplanned interruptions that come into our lives on a daily basis.
In times of confusion, I have discovered that it is very helpful to answer this question, “Am I in a maintenance mode or am I in a decision mode?” Let me explain please.
When I am in a maintenance mode, I realize that it is a time to simply gather facts, data and information. I get a piece of paper and write down everything that I need to know concerning a particular issue or situation that will help me. For example, dealing with a major home repair issues is vastly different than dealing with a major automotive issue. They may feel similar but in reality, they are two different decisions. I mentally relieve myself of the pressure of having to make a quick decision. I remind myself that, for the moment, it is not yet about making a decision but rather about gathering facts. I am in a maintenance mode. I am not trying to move ahead. I am simply trying to maintain where I am at this moment in life.
Maintenance mode is a very good place to be. The pressure of trying to “hurry up” and get things accomplished simply goes away for the moment. Maintenance mode becomes a very good time of gathering information and finding all the necessary facts to help make the best choice and the wisest decision.
Decision mode, however, is very different. When it comes time to make a decision, you can make the wisest decision possible based on everything you found when you were in maintenance mode. It will then be time to put all the information into a plan of action.
I learned from my good friend, Charlie Jones, that there are three parts to the decision-making process: 1) make a decision, 2) make it yours, and 3) die by it. Let’s look at each of those components separately.
1) Make a decision.
This goes back to discovering all you possibly can while you are in the maintenance mode. Gather all of the facts, data, information, and insight you possibly can to help you make the wisest and best decision possible.
2) Make it yours.
Whether things work out the way you want them to or do not work out at all, at least it will have been your decision. It will be one that you have embraced, and you will not be able to point a finger at another person and say, “This was your fault.” It will be your decision and yours alone.
3) Die by it.
Do not be upset if things do not go the way you had planned. If things go well, then you will be rewarded. If things do not go well, then you may suffer the consequences of your decision. In either case, own it! You may learn a great lesson for future use. Remember, it will be your decision that you make, and you will take with you – good, bad or indifferent for the rest of your life.
When I heard Charlie break that apart, I realized that there was much more to the decision-making process than simply “making a decision.” I have found this to be very valuable information.
I imagine that there are many things on all our “to-do” lists that still have not been accomplished. It might be worth your time to get a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Title the left side “Maintenance Mode” and title the right side “Decision Mode.” Look at where you are in your life and write down appropriate measures to help you accomplish the things on both sides of the ledger. I have found that this is a powerful tool that will help you in all that you do.
One last thought. I constantly coach people who are trying to decide what to do with their life. I walk them through this methodology, and it usually brings clarity to their situation. I trust it will to your situation as well.
Tip: Are you in maintenance mode or decision mode?
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm