Written by Lauren Tolin
Decision Making- for some people is the easiest thing in the world, and for the rest of us…well not so much. If you are like me, you probably struggle with decision making, whether it’s the most mundane tasks or important life decisions.
Starting out as a Pre-Business freshman, I had a general view of what I wanted to do as a career path, as well as the vision I had for my future. However, as life happens and we grow and learn more about ourselves throughout college, I found that there is no set path to success and what others deem “success” may not align with your view on the topic. Through this misalignment, I found myself getting caught up in what people envisioned for me, career-wise, and was not taking my own values into consideration.
Upon gaining admittance to the Eller College as MIS major, I discovered my passion for technology. It was during this time that I was a petitioning member for Alpha Kappa Psi, the professional business fraternity, which is where I pinpointed my passion for working with people and for a common goal. Through my other involvements in the Eller Leadership and Integrity Training for Excellence (ELITE) Program and through Eller Leadership Board, I truly discovered what I value in life, professionally and personally. Through some focused steps and SMART Goals, I have been able to achieve my aspirations by owning my decisions and basing them on my values.
1). Own Your Own Authority
You know when your gut is telling you something, so trust in it! Often we can get misconstrued with what feels easy or comfortable; however, it may not be the best choice for us. For example, accepting that internship with the company that you aren’t passionate about, yet you want the job security. Own your own authority and trust that when your head, heart, and gut are telling you something, it is definitely worth listening to. Make your decision for you and no one else! This is your life!
2). Keep Focused
It is easy and often normal to lose track of your values if they are not well defined. We can get caught up with other peoples’ values and call them our own, even if these values don’t necessarily align. It is so important to not only define your values but understand them and implement them into your everyday life. Once you have this framework, you will easily be able to decipher what opportunities, experiences, or challenges align or do not align with your values-based decisions.
3). Pay Attention to What Makes You Feel Fulfilled
To me, this is the most important aspect of values-based decisions. At the end of the day, if you are not enjoying what you’re doing, or it’s not making you better in some way, you likely aren’t growing or learning. As young adults, we are at that crossroads in our lives where we are beginning our careers and figuring out what makes us come alive. Finding that fulfilment is not always easy, it often comes in the most unexpected of ways. I did not think I would end up interning for Goldman Sachs and I did not know if I would be fulfilled with my decision; however, recognizing that I enjoy working in teams and being challenged outside of my comfort zone, ultimately led me to find that Goldman was the company for me. Likewise, many Pre-Business freshmen recently participated in Eller’s Millionaire Mile where they went zone-by-zone through different C-Suite position decisions. Some of the challenges they faced were not so clear cut, but focusing on what their company’s core values were made the process a little simpler.
Knowing your values and what you are searching for decision-making, you will be able to create values-based decisions that will improve both your professional and personal life. Through these guided steps and focusing on what makes you come alive with joy and passion, you will successfully make decisions for your life and career.