Episode 60 - Making Career Decisions You Won’t Regret
Amidst career decisions, many find themselves spinning in uncertainty.
Accomplished women, despite their achievements, often grapple with the idea that their choices must be perfect for happiness. This external locus of control is exhausting and futile. The truth? Your happiness is within your grasp, irrespective of outcomes.
In this episode, learn to make career decisions free of regret and redirect your energy towards self-growth. Seize the power to shape your happiness and envision the transformative impact it can have.
Disclaimer: Some of the content and information mentioned in this episode might no longer be applicable. This includes references to specific links, courses, or programs. As a result, all the links mentioned will now redirect you to our current website. There, you’ll find up-to-date information, resources, and exciting new content to support your journey. We appreciate your understanding and unwavering support.
Hello there, and welcome to The Career Reset podcast. I’m your host, Mel Savage.
This week, we are talking about something that comes up so often in sessions with people. And it’s about making career decisions. It’s scary. It’s scary for a lot of people. It’s scary and confusing, I would say, for a lot of people making career decisions. I think the reason for that is because careers are so linked to so many things in our lives. It’s how we make money and pay for all of the essential things in our life. It’s how we support our families. It feeds into our social standing, it’s part of our identity when people say what we do. It’s part of who we are. It’s where we get our purpose from. It feeds into so much.
When you make a decision about it, a lot of people are like, Yikes, I don’t want to make the wrong one. A lot of the things that come to me when I’m talking to people or people who come to me are like, I don’t know what I want to do. What’s my best next move? I don’t know what I should do. I don’t know how to handle the situation. What’s the best way to do things? It’s tough sometimes for people to understand what they should do. They swirl. They waste a lot of time avoiding making the wrong decision. And they don’t always know what the right decision looks like, except the right decision is where they don’t fail. That’s it.
I don’t want to fail, I don’t want to make a wrong move. What they’re really saying is, I don’t trust myself to handle what happens after I make a decision. Because let’s be honest, folks. It doesn’t matter what decision you make, you can’t control what happens after the fact. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You might buy the perfect house on the perfect street with the perfect layout that you’ve always wanted. Then something could blow it up. Someone loses their job, or you find out that they’re opening a waste management place two blocks away. Stuff happens, you cannot control what happens after the fact. All you can do is handle it.
The reason we’re so afraid is not just because we don’t trust ourselves to handle it. It’s if we make the wrong decision, we’re afraid it’s going to impact our ability to be happy. Because isn’t that what it’s all about? We just want to be happy. So if I make the wrong decision, I’m not going to be happy. That’s the concern, really, when it comes down to it.
In this podcast, I want to help you never hesitate to make a decision again because you’re going to trust yourself that you can handle it after the fact. And you’re going to see that no matter what decision you make, you can be happy.
Even as you follow through, you’re making little micro-decisions all the time in how you follow through on things. Decisions are so important, and the more time you waste spinning if you’re making the wrong one, the slower it is for you to get to your goals and the more drama you create for yourself, which is why my whole focus for people is to help them achieve their goals faster, get to their success faster, reach their potential faster, with less drama.
If that’s something that’s interesting to you and if you want to learn how to get out your own way and reach your full potential, you want to talk about where you are now, where you’re going, the gaps that are in there still holding you back, then yes, book a free consult with me at the melsavage.com/chat.
When we talk about decisions, we talk about the idea that the reason we’re stuck making the decision is that we think the outcome of the decision has control over our happiness. And because we can’t control the outcomes, we can’t control the world, and we can’t predict the future, it gets scary to make decisions.
Because we feel like career decisions have a lot of weight, not only in our happiness but also in who we are. All the things that feed into our happiness like the amount of money we make, who we are, how we take care of our family, and the amount of stress. We have all the things and we think we need to control all those external things to be happy. You need to find the right job at the right company with the right boss and the right culture, and all those things. Once you find them, they can never change, which we know is not so true. We need to learn to roll.
I would say one, there is no right company, right boss, the right job in the right culture at the right place at the right time. Because those things are only right if you think they are right. What determines if those things are right for you? You do. It is not magic. It’s not like, Oh, it’s just clicking, It feels right. No. You’re determining whether you know it or not with your mind.
You are having thoughts about what’s going on around you and based on those thoughts what you think about your job, the company, your boss, the culture, all the money you’re making, and all the things. You have thoughts about that. If you have thoughts that are positive, then the job is right for you. If you have thoughts that are negative, then you’re having a problem. As I say all the time, you get to decide what you think about things, and based on what you think, you will do stuff.
I want to talk about a little bit of my own story, the story of my decision to change careers and leave McDonald’s to start my own business. I had a multi-six-figure job at McDonald’s, I had a lot of prestige, I had a lot of people who wanted to meet me and know me and I had lots of connections to be able to get stuff, and there were a lot of perks that came with that job, yada, yada, yada. And I decided, no, I don’t want to do that anymore.
I want to start my own thing. I want to help people, I want the next phase of my life to have my own business, I want a work-from-anywhere lifestyle, I don’t want to be commuting to the city anymore, and I actually want to leave the whole metropolitan area, and all this kind of stuff. It was scary. I was scared, I was making a lot of life-changing decisions in a short period of time.
One of the ones I made along the way was to leave the city. So we sold our house in the city, we moved up to our lake house and we sold all the other stuff. And that was scary. Afterward, I questioned myself a lot. The reason it was scary was because I didn’t know anybody up here, I’d never lived up here full time. Winter is insane up here. Would I make friends?
Would I miss the convenience of going to any kind of food restaurant I wanted to at any time or any kind of store, or whatever? I couldn’t just get in my car and go for sushi anymore. If I want to go for sushi here, I have to drive a long way. And even still, I’m not really sure that I should be eating sushi at some of the places here, I got to be honest. Could I live my life without sushi? Oh, my God.
These are the scary decisions I had to make. I’m just making it up. But as an example, there aren’t a lot less conveniences up here and there’s a lot less variety up here, let’s just say that. I didn’t know anyone. These were the kinds of scary decisions that I was making for myself. And after I made it, I questioned myself so many times.
What I decided at that point was, well, here’s what’s going to happen. I’m either going to be miserable up here, or I’m going to be happy up here. And what determines that? I do. I get to decide what I want to focus on. I don’t have to lie to myself, but I can say, look, the city and the country are two different sides of the same coin. I can decide to focus on what I’m missing by not being in the city or I can decide to focus on what I get by living in the country. Both of those things are true for me. I just get to decide where I focus on and I decide to focus on what I get by living here versus what I’m missing by not being in the city.
What I get by living here is space, fresh air, a beach, and water. I’ve made so many friends. Every time I go out of the house, I know somebody now. It’s nice. It’s quaint. The city is two hours away. If I really want something, Amazon is my new best friend. I just have to plan differently if I want something. But to to tell you during the Coronavirus, it’s been really great being up here because I’m not in the hustle and bustle. We have 12 cases in our entire county. It’s nice. I feel safe here as well. And I joined up for things. I just make the most of the situation. On top of that, I get to go visit my friends after the Coronavirus is over and live the city life if I want to.
Those are all things that were part of my story. I could have made this a bad decision for myself, but I decided to make it a good decision for myself. I didn’t have to lie to myself to do it. I just had to decide which of the things I believed I was going to focus on. That’s really what I want to talk about today.
Three things. One is about how the thoughts you have control your decisions. The second thing I want to talk about today is what a decision actually is. And the third thing I want to talk about today is how to make a decision right for you. How to make the decision itself
Let’s go back to the first thing. Your thoughts control your decisions. Sometimes I ask people, how will you know what the right job is? I have a client right now. She is someone who’s struggling with deciding the right career choice for her. How will she know what that is? And she’ll say to me, Well, I’m just going to feel it. It’s just going to feel right. Have you ever said that? It’s just. I don’t know what it is but it’s just going to feel right. It’s kind of funny when we say that. It’s just going to feel right.
Because what causes your feelings are your thoughts. Your thoughts determine how you feel about things. You get to determine through your thoughts if the company and the job are right for you, not your feelings. Your thoughts are going to drive your feelings. Things feel right because you’re having a thought about whatever it is that’s making it feel right. You may not know you’re having these thoughts about it, but you are.
Let’s say you walk into a space and it’s big and open, and there’s lots of light and there’s hustle and bustle and you like that. You’re like, Oh, I love this environment. That’s a thought that you’re having. And it feels right because of the thought that you’re having. Your thoughts decide if you are happy or you’re not happy. And your thoughts are not mandatory. You get to choose them. All of your thoughts are optional.
Let’s just break this down. If the right job, what makes it the right job, the right decision, or the right whatever is it just feels right how you feel about it, and your feelings are caused by your thoughts, and all your thoughts are optional, and you get to choose your thoughts, then you always get to choose if something is right for you. Always. You can also say, It was right for me and now, it’s not right for me anymore. I’ve decided to make a different decision. You get to choose that, too. Once you’ve done something, doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever.
I live in this house now up in the lake district of my where I am. But do I need to live here forever? No. When it doesn’t work for me anymore, I might leave or I might have a second house somewhere. All decisions, I get to make. Your thoughts decide if you’re happy or not. And you get to control that. When you say to yourself, I’m afraid to make this decision because it’s going to impact my happiness and I don’t know if it’s going to be right for me. You get to control all of that. All of that. You get to control if you’re happy, you get to control if it’s the right decision, you get to control your thoughts around it.
The problem is people like to abdicate responsibility for doing that. It’s not like they like to give their power away. They give their power away because it’s such a huge responsibility. If I say to you, if you’re not happy, that’s on you. And if you are happy, that’s on you. That’s kind of a nice responsibility to have. What are you saying, like, I can be happy whenever I want and if I’m not happy right now, it’s because I’ve decided to not be happy? What? I don’t want that responsibility. I don’t want to blame myself for this. I’d rather blame other people and other situations for the reason I’m unhappy right now.
But the challenge with that is that it doesn’t move you forward. It’s fine. You don’t have to take the responsibility. You can blame it on other people. But then you’re stuck there, blaming it on other people. On top of being stuck, it takes up a whole lot of energy and creates so much emotional drama and suffering for yourself that it’s such a waste. It’s such a bad ROI. What a waste of your time to invest it in this made-up drama, just because you decided to focus on things that make you miserable versus things that make you happy.
It would take so much less energy for you to change how you think. It’s work, it’s breaking patterns in your head. Our patterns like to help us focus on things that are missing versus things that are working. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to change the pattern and just focus on what’s working. I’m not saying delude yourself and make shit up, either. I’m just saying, decide to focus on what’s working. Decide to be glass half full versus glass half empty. And the glass half full are things that you actually already believe.
If you have a boss that you don’t like, for instance, I bet you there are things that if you focus enough, there are things that you truly appreciate about that boss. Truly, there are things about that boss that you think actually they do these things well. Why don’t you just focus on those things? Why are you focusing on the shit that you hate? You get to decide. And if you focus on the shit that you like versus the shit that you hate, you’re going to be happy versus miserable. You get to decide.
So the very first thing is, your thoughts control the outcome of your decision. That’s the very first thing. You need to decide. You have all the power, my friends. All of it.
The second thing is, what is a decision? A decision is simply you committing to believing your thoughts. That’s it. That’s it. A decision is a commitment to believing your thoughts. We think decisions are actions that we want to take. I want to quit this job, I want to find another career, I want to decide if I’m going to put my hand up to be on this task force or apply for this job transfer or whatever it is. We think decisions are actions, but actions come from your thinking. You think something, you feel something and then you act on that feeling.
It works backward, too. If you think, I want to take this action. How do I need to feel to take this action? What do I need to think to feel that feeling? All decisions come from thoughts. For instance, let’s just take this as an example. Let’s say, you want to make a decision to have a great relationship with your boss and do your best to have a great relationship with your boss. What do you need to think to be able to have a great relationship with your boss? What are the thoughts that you’re going to commit to so that you can have a great relationship with your boss? What are the thoughts that you’re going to commit to so that you focus on being happy at work? What are the thoughts you’re going to commit to when you decide that you’re going to change careers? These are all thoughts you’re committing to believing about yourself.
You run a 5k. What are the thoughts you’re going to commit to that are going to get you to run a 5k? That’s what a decision is. A decision is a commitment to believing certain thoughts. You want to be happy, be happy. You have to commit to those thoughts. You want to be miserable, be miserable. You have to commit to those thoughts. You have to commit to what’s working to be happy versus what’s not working. Those are things that you want to think about.
The first thing is basically, your thoughts control your decisions, the outcome of your decisions, and that any decision you make is not a commitment to the action. A decision is a commitment to your thoughts. And then the third thing is, that any decision can be right. Any decision can be right. We’re going to talk about how to make decisions a little bit here. But I want you to know, that any decision can be right if you like your reasons. It’s not pros and cons. It’s about understanding your reasons. That’s how you make decisions. What are the reasons that you want to have these decisions and do you like these reasons?
A lot of people make a pros and cons list and then they weigh them. But I have to be honest with you, when you make a pros and cons list, there are pros and cons to any decision that you want to make. There might be three or four or five different possible ways to go with the decision. How do you make a pros and cons list for all those things?
One of the things I always talk about in the advanced career planning program is you need to really focus on what’s your overall goal. Everything comes back to your objective, even when you’re training people to do something. What are we trying to do here and how are we doing it? So come back to what you are trying to do here. Oh, I’m trying to be happy at work. Was that your number one goal? Fine. Is it I want to get promoted? Is it I want to find a new job?
Whatever it is, what is the purpose? What are you trying to do here? What are the reasons that you would like each of the possible decisions? What are the reasons you would stay? What are the reasons you would leave? What are the reasons that you would change careers completely? Then look at those reasons and decide if you like them or not. Which ones do you really like?
For instance, sometimes we do things because we’re running away from something. Sometimes we do things because we’re running towards something. So I would say, if the reasons I have are based on fear and scarcity or maybe hanging on to some kind of story from the past, then maybe I don’t like those reasons. Maybe those are the reasons I’m doing something. I’m staying in a job because I’m afraid the next job won’t be good enough. Just list all the reasons. They don’t have to be good reasons.
So I finally decided, I’m going to stay in this job. Why are you going to stay in this job? The pay is good. It’s stable. They like me here. It’s too hard to find another job. I don’t know. I’m afraid no one else will want me. I don’t have time for this right now. Make your whole list. So when you look at all my reasons, you just say, Look, these reasons are based on abundance and empowerment. These reasons are based on fear and scarcity.
Don’t get me wrong, growth and self-confidence are also very uncomfortable emotions, but they’re not easy emotions to have. Growth comes from courage, and doing things that are a little bit scary sometimes but moving towards something. Having self-confidence is really about believing you can do something when you don’t have any evidence that you can do it. That’s what self-confidence is, really believing that you can do anything that you want to. That’s uncomfortable. Those can be uncomfortable things.
It’s not so much that which decisions are easy versus which ones are hard. It’s more about, do I like my reasons. Are there reasons here that are built based on fear and scarcity versus based on growth, confidence, empowerment, abundance, that sort of thing? Because honestly, if I’m going to feel uncomfortable, anyway, I’d rather my discomfort come from growth and self-confidence versus fear and scarcity. But these are decisions. You have to like your reasons. And just be honest with yourself.
You might be saying, Look, I know these ones are based on fear and scarcity, but that’s what I got right now. I’d like my reasons for staying. At least you’re being honest with yourself. I’m staying because I’m afraid and I’m okay with that. You’re allowed to think that. You don’t have to always go for growth and self-confidence. But just be honest about it. It’s a decision you’re making and be honest with why you’re making it. That’s how I make decisions. I just made a list of the reasons that are possible for me. I’m actually making that decision. Then I decide, do I like those reasons? And that’s how I go.
Always know that whatever happens, you can’t control it. You can’t control what happens after the fact. But you could control what you think about what happens after the fact. And how you think about things after the fact, actually determines whether the decision is a good or bad decision. If you think shit thoughts, crappy thoughts, miserable thoughts after you make the decision, and you have like, buyer’s remorse, and this was really stupid, and why did I ever do this, and you become miserable, that’s why it’s a bad decision. Not because of anything that happens after the fact.
But even if you decide to go work somewhere, and the job isn’t exactly what you thought it was, and the bosses are not the bosses you thought they were, you can still find reasons to make that job work for you if you want to. One of the things I always say to people is when you have a career plan, a really clear career plan about where you want to be, depending on the horizon, it can be anywhere from one year to five years, where you want to be, and you take a job, or you go after an opportunity, or you make a decision to do something based on the needs of your career plan and where you’re going long term; it really takes the emotion out of whether you like people or don’t like people.
It’s not about liking people, it’s about how can this job serve me. What can I do to make the most out of this experience to help my career move forward and enjoy myself in the meantime? All of those things are in your control. You don’t have to be afraid of any decision because you control the outcome of what happens after the decision. It’s not magic. It’s not luck. It’s you being purposeful.
The magic ingredient for any decision being an amazing decision is learning to choose your thoughts after the fact. And I’m not saying makeup thoughts. I’m not saying delude yourself. I’m not saying pretend everything is okay. I am not. But if you look at anything, any situation, I guarantee you, you will have thoughts that are negative, and you will have thoughts that are positive. Thoughts that you actually believe, not made-up thoughts. You actually can look at something and say, I believe these negative things about the situation and I believe these positive things about the situation.
You get to decide which ones to focus on. You also get to decide whether you want to stay somewhere or not, do something or not, shift, pivot, or whatever. None of those things have to be bad things. That’s really the magic ingredient. You do not have to be afraid of decisions, you just have to make them and move forward and decide how you want to think about your decisions after you make them.
As I said, any type of career planning, whether you’re doing it on your own with your organization, hiring someone like me, or taking up a program like mine, those are all designed to help you make a series of purposeful decisions. In my case, I really help people, high-potential people achieve their potential and lean into their potential faster, with less drama, helping you make decisions about your career, what you want, how to prioritize it, manage your mind, how you get there, and all the things.
If you want to talk about that program, or you want to have a chat with me about it, you can do that. You just have to go to melsavage.com/chat and book your free 45-minute session.
In summary, today, we talked about the whole idea that the reason that you are scared to make decisions is because you believe the outcome of the decision controls your happiness. You don’t believe that you control it. You think whatever happens after I make the decision controls it. And that’s a thought error. Because you control your happiness. You control whether a decision is a good decision or a bad decision. You do that because you control your thoughts. You do that because your thoughts are everything. Every decision you make is a commitment to believing a thought. It’s not a commitment to action, it’s a commitment to believing a thought.
Any decision can be the right decision if your reasons are the reasons based on fear and scarcity, or if hanging on to something In the past are your reasons based on abundance and empowerment, growth, and self-confidence. You get to choose whether you’re half empty or half full after the fact of any decision.
The other thing I want to really underline is that the outcome of decisions, whether a decision is good or bad is not magic, it’s not luck, and it’s not fingers-crossed everything will work out, it is on purpose. You get to decide on purpose. You get to decide to learn to choose your thoughts to make the decision right for you.
That’s what I have for you this week, my friends. I hope you have a fantastic week, and I will speak to you soon. Bye for now.