5 Decisions You NEVER Make Alone (Read Time: 4 min.)

School 7When you get faced with a major life decision, how do you respond?

Excited? Nervous? Curious? Stuck?

As a woman breadwinner, you have a lot on your plate.  You’re constantly making decisions, whether it’s about the project at work or what to cook for dinner.  By sheer experience, you probably top most people in the ability to navigate, decide, and implement solutions.  But, when it comes to major life decisions, choices that you know will impact the people you love most for a VERY long time, how do KNOW that you’re making the “right” choice?

Therein lies the problem… you don’t.  In fact, all of the analysis paralysis in the world will not guarantee that the decisions you are making are the decisions that are best for all involved… including you.

So if decisions can’t be made perfectly, how can they be made well?

By using a solid decision making process.

In July, I will be teaching a 12 week decision making boot camp called BE DECISIVE! (Check it out here: http://kassandrabibas.com/get-decisive-.html).  In that course, I’m going to talk about a solid, strategic decision making model that will simplify decision making while producing MASSIVELY EFFECTIVE results.  If you’re having issues in the area of decision making, you’re not going to want to miss it!

One of the first things I’m going to teach in BE DECISIVE! has to do with knowing the biases or villains of decision making that impair your ability to make good choices.  There are many of them but four are truly sinister.  In the same way that there are biases to decision making, there are also key life decisions that we must NEVER make alone.  For women breadwinners, there are 5 that are subtle but deadly.  If you make these decisions alone, you are setting yourself up for drama, frustration, and, worst of all, resentment.

For the rest of this month, I’ll be blogging about each of these five decisions and how to avoid framing the options and making the decisions alone.

For now, let’s identify the 5 decisions you NEVER make alone:

  1. Relocation: Whether it’s across town, out of state, or to another country, the decision about whether to move an ENTIRE family cannot be done in a vacuum.  I’m sure there are those reading this post who will say, “Duh Kassandra.  Everybody knows that.”  Talk to enough people and you’ll find that most people suffer from “walk their talk syndrome”: they KNOW what to do but they don’t DO what they know.  Relocation is a prime example of that.  Most people get that you need buy-in from all members of the family to have a successful relocation.  Most people make the decision without buy-in and pay the consequences of resentment, anger, and discord later… once they’ve moved and unpacked all of the boxes.  Relocation is too big an issue to decide alone.  Don’t do it.
  2. Career Change: Women breadwinners, by definition, carry the bulk of the annual household income.  ANY changes to a woman breadwinner’s career has a massive impact on the entire family.  Before deciding to take a job that will double your pay (but also double your travel time), more than one person needs to be involved in that decision.  Before you decide that you’re so burnt out being a lawyer that you want to quit, go back to school, and become a teacher, you need to do some reality-testing of your assumptions, seek out role models, and interview former lawyers who’ve made a similar transition and have been there-done that.  Before you decide to go back to school full time to move up in your career, there needs to be a family meeting about how everyone will support the 20+ hours a week of study time that you won’t have available to complete the tasks you’ve always been responsible for.
  3. Marital Status: Before you decide the honeymoon is over and you want to call it quits, there are many people that need to be involved in that decision making process, the most important being the other person in the relationship.  I’ll dive in to this when we get to that post towards the end of the month.
  4. Having a Baby: Sperm banks with anonymous sperm donors whose specimens you pay for are an entirely different situation from cajoling a spouse into having a baby that he isn’t ready for or doesn’t want.  The same applies to the reverse.  Coercing a breadwinning wife to have a baby that she’s not completely sold on is NEVER  a good idea.  Bringing a life into the world is NOT  a decision you make out of fear, anger, or insecurity.  Far too often, it’s exactly that.  There’s a better way.
  5. Financial Priorities: This area runs the gamut (from creating the monthly budget to debt management to retirement planning to buying a house or a car to how much you spend online).  Even if the woman is the only one bringing income into the home, there needs to be more than one person looking at the financials and engaging in the discussion of what to do with the money that comes in.  Without more than one voice, the decisions being made are, oftentimes, the result of a number of decision making biases (most esp. the narrow frame).  Financial success comes from financial wisdom.  Involve more people in the process, you get more wisdom (caveat: choose people who are good with their money, #justsayin).

There they are: the 5 decisions you NEVER make alone.

In the next post, I’m going to dive into the issue of relocation.  

Should we?  Should we not?  How can we make the best decision possible?  

Join me on Friday!

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