Before I became a military spouse, I was pretty disconnected from the military community. I may have been an Air Force brat, but moved away from that to start my career. My colleagues, friends and pretty much my whole entire environment didn’t have the military around it.
In fact, I had to hop on a bus for 8 hours just to see my husband when we were dating. And I did it. It was MY decision and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Despite everything and everybody saying, “what the hell are you doing?” I went onward and upward in my relationship– at the same time as my career.
Then, the dreaded orders came down for my husband. Uh-oh. That meant I had to make a life-changing decision for myself. Stay in this relationship or not. No brainer. It was easy for me to stay in our relationship. I love the man dammit. But, I knew with that decision, I challenged something else I really loved, which was MY career.
Ugh. Well, it was time to put on my big girl pants and make a decision careerwise too. With some great support from my friends, husband and powerful network of other working milspouses, I put together an awesome game plan and pave a path for my future.
5 Tips for Making Decisions When Being Indecisive Isn’t an Option
- The Pros/Cons List. Don’t just do it in your head. Grab a pencil and several sheets of paper and draw a line right down the center. One side: pros, the other: cons. Write your answers and thoughts that way you visually see it. When anything comes to mind when you’re at the grocery store or watching TV, type it on your phone and add it to your comprehensive pros/cons list later. You never know when you might get inspired. After networking and discovering the power of telecommuting, I wrote out a pros/cons list for myself on building a freelancing workload at our next duty station. I researched the idea and asked a ton of questions that ultimately helped me solidify my decision. Sometimes it take months to really feel comfortable, so don’t rush. Take your time to weigh out your options.
- Trust Your Gut. If you were like me, your gut might have been feeling a bit queasy at first. At the beginning of my journey, I seriously felt like my career was doomed. Over. Kaput. Sayonara career. It was nice knowing ya. After the pity party ended, my gut told me that I could do it. What was I thinking? I knew other military spouses that were able to make things work. What makes it different for me? Nothing. Your intuition is stronger than you think.
- What Would Your Best Friend Tell You? Emotions can get the best of us. Remember my dramatics for #2? I thought my career was over. I can’t tell you how many times I talked out options, points, benefits and whatever else my little mind can think of with my closest friends. They might even offer a bit of insight that didn’t come up in your own brainstorming. Also, they could be beneficial for new points on your pros/cons list.
- Flip a Coin. I’m partly joking. I can’t help but be indecisive at times (aren’t we all?!). My husband wonders why I have so much trouble figuring out what I want to eat for dinner, let alone what I want to wear for the day. Sometimes life gives us a variety of good options. That’s when the coin flip comes in handy. If I’m having trouble with a decision between 2 relatively similar things, I try my 50-50 odds. I tend to keep the coin flips on the smaller scale. That way the outcome isn’t meter moving. Here’s a pretty silly example (you’re allowed to laugh after reading): I wanted to get a pretty decent all-in-one printer for my home office. I did my research and asked around. Even after all that, I had a handful of very comparable printers left. To avoid spending the whole day at the store, I figured my coin could make the decision faster. I wanted to end my day productively. Ultimately, refer to number 3, especially when the coin flip doesn’t end to your liking. Gut outweighs coin flip in my opinion. But, the option still remains.
- Own It. Once you make a decision, wear it on your sleeve. Whether it was a decision made with a coin flip, an extensive pros/cons list or your gut, own it like nobody’s business.