What if I make the wrong decision?
One of the biggest reasons that people get stuck in the decision-making process is due to the crippling fear of making the wrong decision. If this is the case for you, let me tell you one of my decision-making stories…
10 years ago, I was 30 years old. I had just moved into my forever home – a house we’d had built, and that I’d seen transform from architect’s plans and an empty field into the home of my dreams: 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, huge fireplace, a kitchen we’d designed down to the last cm, a lovely garden with a mountain view, a swimming pool in the garden. It was in a gated residence of 13 houses, made up mostly of young families, in a lovely big village in the south of France. Not only my dream home, but a lot of people’s dream home too.
Add to that I was living with my husband, who also happens to be my best friend and soulmate, and we had just found out I was pregnant with a long-awaited baby (after a miscarriage and 8 subsequent months of trying).
We also both happened to have great, well-paid, high-level jobs for our relatively young age (rare in France).
Who on earth would rock that boat and make any changes to that perfect scenario?
Ben, my husband, had been super keen on starting his own business for the previous 2-3 years. Whilst I’d been slower to take to the idea, I’d been in agreement with him for a good year before this stage in our life.
Then we had a business idea.
The upside was being our own boss. Doing a job we both loved. Potentially earning a lot more money.
However there were massive risks involved.
We had a baby on the way and a 25 year mortgage to pay off, which was based on our good salaries at the time.
No matter which way we looked at it, starting our own business seemed like a crazy idea.
The problem was, we just couldn’t tear ourselves away from the idea. So we drew up a pros and cons list. The pros list was really short, and the cons list scarily long.
On paper it made no sense, but in our guts it just felt so right.
We looked at the worst case scenario. If our business failed, we would be two failed, out of work, entrepreneurs in a country that actively dislikes them. We would be unable to return to our previous jobs, and there wasn’t much else work-wise for us in that region. We would have a small child to support and a fairly big mortgage to pay.
We discussed it in great detail day after day for a good month.
The turning point came when I sat down with Ben and told him this:
“Picture this absolute worst case scenario: We launch our business. It’s a huge failure. We have to sell our house. We can’t find new jobs. We have to move in with my mum and dad in the UK, with our little one, while we try to find work in London. How do you feel? Do you regret doing it? Do you wish you were back at your old job?”
His response was immediate. No regrets. Not even a shimmer of doubt.
And that was our decision made.
When we told friends and family what we had decided I’d say 99%, if not 100% thought we were absolute bonkers.
We went ahead and chucked in our jobs anyway. Threw ourselves into our new business. Fought with French administration (if you want to test a marriage, try coming up against French bureaucracy!).
It was fantastic.
Until a minor issue called a global recession hit.
Cut a long story short we sold our forever home (and I can’t begin to tell you how heart-breaking that was!). We stuck around that same area for a while, doing some horrific jobs. Until one day we decided enough was enough, and we made another new decision.
We chose to call it a day in France. After a phone call to my parents we decided to leave everything in France, sell most of our belongings, leave jobs and schools, and the hardest of all, leave friends and family.
To do what and to go where?
To be homeless and jobless, living with my parents in my childhood home, with our 3.5 year old daughter (to make life easier when we were job-hunting and house-hunting in the UK we stayed with my parents).
So was that initial decision to give up our jobs and start our own business the wrong one? Let’s look at the facts:
- Our business failed.
- We ended up selling our house.
- It was hard to find new jobs.
- We ended up leaving the area we’d both lived in for 12 years.
- We took the plunge of moving to the UK – a country I hadn’t lived in since being a student and a country that Ben had never lived in, where neither of us had a job, and where we had nowhere to live at the start.
Was it the wrong decision?
For many people the answer is “yes”.
But for us it was “no”.
Despite our business being a failure.
Despite this decision not leading to us living happily every after – then.
Both of us learnt so much from that time, and it set us on a new path. A path that led us to a life in the UK. A path that led us to the joys of entrepreneurship. A path that led us to where we are today.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some horrifically awful times during this period. Times when Ben and I couldn’t hold a civil conversation with each other. Times when I wondered if our marriage would actually survive. Times when I did regret our decision.
Yes, that’s right, there were times I regretted it. I ended up in various jobs that I hated with a vengeance.
I had also really wanted to have two babies close in age. But it was just impossible to even consider a second child until I was more settled work-wise. We ended up having our second daughter a whole 6 years after our first.
Initially I was devastated. This wasn’t in the plan. But it ended up being just perfect, as I got to – and I still get to 3 years later – spend time with each daughter individually and they get on so incredibly well.
So yes, I did regret our decision for a time. Of course I did. It would be crazy if I didn’t.
But I don’t now. And I haven’t for a long time.
It led us to where we are now. Along a road that has had its highs and lows definitely. But a way that has led our whole family to a life of extreme happiness here in Mauritius.
Now if you’re sitting there reading this and wondering “what if I make the wrong decision?”, try and remember this:
There is no wrong decision. Indecision is the only wrong decision.
If you decide later on that this choice was not for you then you change, you “recalculate your route” like your good Sat Nav does for you. There are very few decisions that are irreversible.
If I could go back today and talk to my 30 year old self, making pros and cons lists and wondering what my future looks like, I would say this:
“DO IT! It won’t be what you expect, but it’ll be so worth it!”
I hope this has gone some way to help you with decisions that you might be making right now. Remember I have a free guide to decision-making and facing your fears around this subject. Pop your first name and best email address in the box below to get all these goodies 🙂
Finally I’d love to hear about your experiences of “wrong” decisions – pop them in the comments below as it may help others with questions they’re trying to solve now too.