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Stop Deciding

By Ed Lawrence

Five frogs were perched on a log in the middle of a swamp. One decided to jump into the water.

How many frogs were left sitting on the log?

Before I provide the answer, I must remind you how we all make decisions every day. Some of us act on those decisions; some don’t.

For example, after graduating from college and not finding a position in Marketing, I decided to go back to school for a Master’s degree. I enrolled in night classes at Boston University, and after two years decided to go full-time. I resigned from my job, moved back in with the parents, and graduated a year later.

In 1990 I thought about becoming a lawyer.

I decided to enroll in paralegal school to see whether I liked studying law. I did; so, sat for the LSAT; applied to law schools and got accepted to several. But I never attended law school; I never became a lawyer.

In 2013, I decided to become a career coach.

I volunteered with the Institute for Career Transitions and later with Career Collaborative.

I studied for and attained the CPRW certification. I got certified in Skillscan and Myers-Briggs.

And in 2017 I started my career coaching business. In 2019, I resigned from a job to dedicate my career to my career coaching services.

(Hey…did you just change your answer to that frog question?)

The answer to the frog question—in case you haven’t figured it out by now--is five, because deciding to do something is not the same as doing something.

Or as another coach once told me, “Decision without action is just planning.”

Think of the deciding as a strategic move. The decision must be followed up with a progression of tactical action steps, each of which gets you closer to the finish line. Choosing to not take a step or failing to accomplish it, can end the progression.

For my decision about becoming a lawyer, I accomplished a series of progressive steps and then stopped short of attending law school. it was my choice not to attend. My hi-tech career was going well and we wanted to buy a house instead of spending money on law school.

For my decision to become a career coach, I performed a number of progressive steps all the way up to starting a business and resigning from a full-time job. My hi-tech career had been winding down for a few years, and the timing was right to do what I really wanted to do.

So, stop simply deciding to do something.

Decide and do.

As master Yoda from Star Wars said, “There is no try; only do or not do.”

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