"Every time I've done something that doesn't feel right, it's ended up not being right.” – Mario Cuomo
My business partner and I were reviewing a proposal with representatives from the client. They asked for some changes to the pricing. Actually, they wanted us to cut the price in half. They explained that this was would be the first of many projects with their company. Whatever money we lost on this agreement, we would make up in future contracts.
It was a very large company. And one that was well-known in our industry. The prestige associated with their brand would be a big boost for our firm. With the promise of future contracts, we wouldn’t have to worry about finding new prospects. People would seek us out. It sounded like a good deal.
It also didn’t feel right. It went against the principles and methods we’d used with our existing clients. We started to think about the true costs we would bear to increase our income.
We passed on the deal.
While this example is about business, most of us have had similar circumstances in all areas of our lives. Family situations. Job offers. The next step in a relationship. A decision, that once made, has lasting impact. Moments that make us pause.
During that pause, we can reflect on the emotions and concerns surrounding our choice. It’s common to experience enthusiasm and fear simultaneously. We’re excited about the prospect in front of us, but are afraid of the risks involved. At times like these, a simple cost-benefit analysis doesn’t seem adequate. We need a moment to decide.
Other times, we sense something else during the pause. At first, we may not be able to put our finger on it, but the situation doesn’t feel right. Perhaps it’s instinct, or maybe a suppressed opinion. No matter what words you choose, you know that something’s wrong.
These are critical moments that cause for more reflection, and not immediate action. This sensation is more than just an evolutionary reflex coded in the recesses of our brain. Rather, our reactions are based on years of experience facing other issues, and making other decisions. We need to respect our reflex and reconsider our choices.
What may look like a “Yes – No” situation, may actually be a multiple choice question. We just haven’t found the other options – yet. Or we may be so focused on the outcome that we haven’t spent enough time on the reasons why we want to go in a certain direction. Perhaps there’s an important reason for selecting a different path.
While our lives are short, poor decisions can make the hard parts seem longer. Too often, we are faced with problems that must be resolved immediately. But many times, we have the option of taking a moment to fully consider the import of our choices and the impact on our lives.
Seize the moment! And pause.