The Serial Decision Maker: The Back Story
For me, everything starts with a question.
Every day – and all day long for that matter – I ask questions of myself and those around me.
I believe that every question has an answer. And, for me, it’s all about the answer.
I believe that questions, particularly those piqued by curiosity form the starting point of every great journey. A leading question or series of inquiries will always help outline what a journey will be about and if it will be worth taking.
Speaking of questions, how about this one? If a question begins every great journey, what fills in the path along the way? The answer is your experiences.
Every experience you have has the power to be great, if not for any other reason than your experiences are uniquely yours. You have the full ability to characterize and categorize them any way you see fit. You alone can decide whether to think of an experience as good, bad or somewhere in between.
You can build momentum and confidence from good experiences. You can create a new strategy or know what you should avoid from bad experiences. You can draw up a whole new list of questions from experiences that are somewhere in between.
You can derive all of this power from your own experiences as long as you are an active participant in them. The power of your experiences is only realized when you are paying attention to what is happening in your life and, to the largest extent possible, you are controlling and directing your life.
You realize this power and you gain control through the decisions that you make.
If you are like me and are an active participant in your own life, or aspire to be as such, you have probably already come to understand from where my moniker, The Serial Decision Maker, came: In order to realize and hold onto my own power and take control of my life, I made the conscious decision early on to ask questions, provide answers, pay attention, weigh options and make decisions on a day-to-day basis.
When you are actively making the decisions that lead to your experiences, you will always learn from them. When you achieve the result you set out to achieve, you will better understand your strengths and put yourself in a position to succeed in the future by understanding the steps that you took to develop them.
When you inevitably make a mistake or your experience doesn’t turn out the way you drew it up, you will be in a better position to avoid those mistakes the next time you are deciding a similar course of action.
In this sense, your decisions provide you with direction and they define your purpose for taking the actions that you take, thereby deeming you a “Serial Decision Maker.”
Your ability to ask questions of yourself that will lead you toward the answers that you seek, and most importantly the type of life that you would like to live, will help you to set your own course. The extent to which you can make decisions that are consistent with this course will have a meaningful and positive influence on how close you get to reaching your goals and fulfilling your potential.
I am no better at predicting the future than anyone else you know. I certainly do not pretend to know all of the answers and I am not naïve enough to think that one guide or one set of instructions will suit everyone.
Despite many attempts, I have not been able to slow time down. I have not set any world records. I am not the strongest person that I know. I am not the fastest, and I am certainly not the smartest.
What I can tell you, first hand, is that I can attribute any success that I have attained in my life to my own purposeful decision making. I have always approached my life as if it were up to me to make sure that I lived it to the fullest and I was fortunate enough to realize, at an early age, that my own decision making was the best tool I have to make sure that I achieve my goals and that I fulfill my potential.
When considering a title for my series of articles, I thought about a lot of different possibilities. I settled on The Serial Decision Maker because it is the most inclusive. Thoughts can be idle. Questions can be pointless. But, when you make a decision, you have incorporated your thoughts and questions, you have deliberated and prepared, and you have reached a conclusion that involves taking action.
My serial decision making has helped me to thoroughly enjoy the totality of my own life’s journey. There have been steps along the way that I did not enjoy as they were happening, but I was later able to derive some benefit from them so as to ensure that I at least continued my forward progress even during times of pain and adversity. As I inevitably will encounter difficult times again, I will be a little stronger and a little more prepared from having had these experiences.
My serial decision making has helped me to fully appreciate the good times. Playing an active role in my achievements has given me a better appreciation for what it took to get there and the reward for the effort that I put forth.
My serial decision making reminds me of how much I can control and influence, which has been particularly helpful during the times that it felt as though my circumstances were out of my reach and happening regardless of what I was doing or not doing.
My serial decision making has been central to every plan I have drawn up, every goal I have ever set, and every positive result I have ever achieved.
Those decisions also form the basis for every great friendship I have ever enjoyed. They have been part of every career move I have ever made (or did not make), and they certainly have contributed greatly to the tremendous joy and happiness that I enjoy with my family on a daily basis.
I understand and appreciate that my decision making, especially my priorities and my points of emphasis, are going to be different than yours.
I believe, however, that my own journey and my active participation in it has helped me to identify the key components and common threads that are present in and amongst all purposeful decision making.
Your own purposeful decision making is uniquely powerful.
For that purpose, I share some of my questions, experiences, decisions, and reflections with the goal that you may also become a Serial Decision Maker.
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union