108: Do I Need Another Degree to Change Careers? [Podcast]

How to Avoid Bad Advice About College

Do you need another degree to start a new career? Most of the time we assume the answer is yes – of course. As a result, colleges are making a fortune from career changers. (Which is good for us!) But before you jump in and sign up for a new degree program or new training, you need to look closely to get the facts. Here, I will help you do just that!

Do I Need Another Degree to Change Careers?

Photo by Joshua Earle is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

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Do I need another degree to change careers?

Even as a university faculty, I rarely get people asking me this question. In fact, I find few people ask anything. They assume. They show up at a meeting asking all the wrong questions such as:

  • Would an MBA or Engineering Management be better to get a new job?
  • Which degree will help me get promoted?
  • What degrees are companies hiring more?
  • Should I get a masters or another undergraduate degree?
  • How do I get another degree faster?
  • Which degree is best for getting into ….?

Many variations. It is AWESOME. Think about it – when they show up at the university they already assume they need our product. It is like people showing up at a car lot knowing they want to buy a car. Now we just have to let them pick. Either way, we make money.

But, like so often, we are asking all the wrong questions and have assumed too much.

What question SHOULD you ask?

Here is the better question:

If I want to change careers, what steps do I need to take?

Stop assuming. Stop being so quick to shell out time and money on another degree, certificate, or training package before you know what you really need.

Would you take medical advice (or drugs) from a doctor that did not first diagnose the problem?

But, the truth is we get all kinds of advice from well meaning people that push us down the college path.

Common BAD advice

If you ask a university, college, or faculty if you need a degree, the answer is almost always YES. Why? That is what they do. Do they know? Not often!

YES – I JUST SAID IT.

If you ask a friend or family member, they will often suggest going back to school.

If you ask a counselor, government career help agency (they have many names) or church career ministry, the answer is almost always – get another degree.

Why are we pointed to another degree? Because colleges and universities are excellent at marketing their services.

Are you on Fire?

Remember that saying we were taught about our clothes catching fire. We are to STOP, DROP, and ROLL.

But before you get on fire to go back to school (and spend tons of money!) you need to STOP, ASK, and LEARN

Stop! Take a deep breath and stop applying to school. Just stop. We will always be glad to take your money, and we will be here tomorrow if you decide. Right now back away from the application.

Ask. Find people who are doing what you want to be doing. Find people in that career. Ask. Not one. Not two. But at least 10. YES – I said 10. Go talk to them. Find out what a day in the life is like. Find out how hard it is to break into the field.

BE SURE TO ASK THOSE DOING THE JOB. Do not ask faculty, university admissions, or anyone but the people doing the job.

Learn. Perhaps I should say LISTEN and LEARN. Be ready to challenge your own assumptions.

107: Finding Your Path and Doing What You Love [Podcast]

Interview with Jeff Brown of Read to Lead

How can you go about finding your path and doing what you love? Perhaps it is not by working harder, but instead you should do what you love even if you see no path to money. In 18 Minutes  author Peter Bregman explains that we often find something new when we stop looking so hard. Think about it. Do you know someone who wanted to get married, but only found a spouse when they gave up? What about that guy looking for the perfect job who spent hours per day looking and only found the job when he relaxed? We often find the result we are looking for when we stop pushing for the what and enjoy the now. What am I saying? Stop trying so hard. Have fun. Do what you love even if you see no path to money. Today I will interview the person who found his path by just doing what he loved.

finding your path and doing what you love

Something I love – My Reading List

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Finding your path and doing what you love

I met Jeff Brown at a conference. He is a fellow podcaster who does Read to Lead. In this interview you will hear his story of getting fired, doing something for fun, and finding a career in his joy. Yes, he is the example of someone who demonstrates “finding your path and doing what you love.” You may be a reader more than a listener, but today I think you need to listen as well as read.

Jeff will share with us…

  • His path from career to entrepreneurship
  • Why you should start something just for FUN
  • Why you should always be looking for ways to serve others
  • And of course, why you should Read to Lead. Jeff quit reading after college (Gee -anyone who is reading textbooks is bound to be turned off from reading!) but started again when he picked up a book by Seth Godin.

What am I Reading

Jeff’s guiding principle is “Leaders are Readers.” I have found this to be VERY true. When I meet people or speak to groups, I often ask what they are reading. The entrepreneurs and executives always have a massive reading list and push me to Amazon to make some quick buys of the books they recommend. They also jump on the books I mention that they have not read.

However, those who are not the leaders (just doing a job and getting by) often tell me they do not read. “I quit reading after college.”

Here are the books I am reading now:

How to Become a Reader

If you are not a reader and want to start, here are some simple steps.

  1. Check out my reading list for the new Entrepreneur (If you are not an entrepreneur, forget the title. The books still apply and I can tell you later why I think you are an entrepreneur.)
  2. Remember, audible counts. You can download the apps to your phone and have a book on the go.
  3. I often add books to my READING LIST. I prefer books with short chapters and basic points – so my reading usually will fit anyone.
  4. Listen to someone who reviews books. Hmmm – perhaps the Read to Lead podcast by Jeff.
  5. Learn to skim. Check out How to Read a Book in 30 Minutes or Less.

Of course – let me know what you are reading! Post it to my Facebook page so I can read it also!

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106: Being Lean in Your Business [Podcast]

How to get started and grow fast without spending cash

Lean Startup is a term I hear often. Recently, I was asked to talk about Lean Startups to a corporate group, followed by being asked to speak to a high school class on the same subject. So I wanted to share with you. Lean startups is about about starting or growing a company without going broke. It is a process for entrepreneurship.

Lean Startups

Image is by Stephen Radford (modified) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Validating Your Business Idea – Quick Notes from the Podcast

  • The myth and reality of entrepreneurship – Life in a Van down by the river.
  • What is a minimally viable product (MVP) and why does it matter?
  • Why we need an MVP and the resistance!
  • How to use the Lean process to get to the MVP.
  • Our own examples of being in scope creep mode and how we got out.
  • No matter how much you plan, you will be wrong.
  • How to size your startup by determining the potential revenue.

Resources (Some of my favorites)

Check out Entrepreneur Dream Academy!

This podcast was supposed to be the 4th in a series I was doing with Anthony Witt from The Champion Entrepreneur – but things got lost in the mix and I just put this out. Anthony and I are still working together on Entrepreneur Dream Academy (See below). Check out the other podcasts we have done in this series:

Want to learn how to find your passion and make it profitable? Anthony and I are launching Entrepreneur Dream Academy in mid-September! We will be coaching a small group of hopeful entrepreneurs to help them find a business they love and develop a solid plan. We will walk each person through the process and give them the tools and connections they need to make a real go of it. Have you ever dreamed of starting a business? Have you ever thought about leaving the corporate world? Or are you just looking for something on the side. (Everyone needs to make 25% of their income from a side business – see why here!)

**We are only going to take the first 8 who signup. Once we have 8, it closes!

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105: Just Help People [Podcast]

And other of my take-aways from Tribe Conference

I spent the last few days at the Tribe Conference. It was great to hangout with old friends and meet new friends. While the conference was about entrepreneurship and information marketing, I took away things more about life. The speakers and the side conversations really changed my view on some issues –  and I want to share some of them with you. After all – the first take-away was “just help people” – So I am trying to do that here.  My take-aways – listed below – are a reminder of things that I have seen generate success and freedom.

Just Help People

Courtesy of Jeff Goins and the Tribe Conference

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Today I am going to skip the series I am doing with Anthony Witt from The Champion Entrepreneur. Will be back to it next week! Anthony is my partner in the Entrepreneur Dream Academy (See below). Check out the podcasts we have done in this series to date.

My Take-Aways from the Tribe Conference

The Tribe Conference was hosted by Jeff Goins. If you are an artist or author and looking for ways to market your work, I highly suggest you check it out next year. The dates are September 16-18, 2016 in Nashville. Jeff did an excellent job pulling off his first conference. (I do not have a signup link yet – but let me know and when Jeff releases it I will get you the signup page.)

Here are my take-aways:

  1. Just Help People. We are so focused on being successful, but if we just help people, success finds us. All business is about helping others by serving them with products and services.  This point was pounded home to me with lots of examples from Joshua Becker of (Becoming Minimalist)  and Tim Grahl. Tim spoke of his willingness to get on the phone and help others for free. I was inspired – so I will do the same. Want to connect with me? Setup a time on my calendar and tell me how I can help you.
    .
  2. Create Margin in Your Life. We would never fill up a coffee cup to the very top and then walk to our desk. We have to leave “jiggle room” – else we end up with a mess. We need to do the same thing in life. Schedule time for nothing. Grant Baldwin reminded me that we need time to unwind – and nothing is better that NOTHING TIME. Put NOTHING on your calendar in some time slots every week.
  3. Get Focus. What success traits do Bill Gates and Warren Buffer have in common? Focus. Both men state their success can be attributed to their ability to focus. We should learn from them. What thing can you focus on as the most important? What do you need to let go?
  4. Find Your Style. One thing that Jeff Goins really pushes is us finding our own voice. Of course he is speaking from a writers perspective – but see it everywhere. Just because doing things one way works for someone else, it does not mean it will work for us. Find a style and a method for your own success.
  5. Kill the Clutter. Of course this is part of Joshua’s message – he is the minimalism guy. But when we think of clutter, make sure we also remove clutter from our schedule, our diet, and our mind.
  6. Do What Works. Or put another way, stop doing what doesn’t. Tim hit this topic, but he was talking about marketing of books. I could help but think this goes to a lot of issues.

OK – so there are two other ideas I will leave to the podcast only. But I hope you can see some themes here. Success is simple. Sure, it is hard work, but we make it worse and put success out of reach by missing common and basic principles of truth.

Challenge

OK – here is a challenge. How will YOU help people? Post in the comments or shoot to me in twitter (link to me so I will see it) or on my Facebook page. I would like to hear how you are or plan on helping others. If you have links from your business or other – share them!

 

Check out Entrepreneur Dream Academy!

Want to learn how to find your passion and make it profitable? Anthony and I are launching Entrepreneur Dream Academy in mid-September! We will be coaching a small group of hopeful entrepreneurs to help them find a business they love and develop a solid plan. We will walk each person through the process and give them the tools and connections they need to make a real go of it. Have you ever dreamed of starting a business? Have you ever thought about leaving the corporate world? Or are you just looking for something on the side. (Everyone needs to make 25% of their income from a side business – see why here!)

**We are only going to take the first 8 who signup. Once we have 8, it closes!

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104: Validating Your Business Idea [PODCAST]

How to find out if you have a good (profitable) idea for your business

There are ideas, and then there are opportunities. How do you find out if your business idea is a true winning opportunity or a dud? In this podcast Anthony Witt and I help you find ways to validate your business idea, connect passion to profits, and find significance along with revenue.

validating your business idea

“Validating Your Business Idea” by Todd Quackenbush is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Check out Entrepreneur Dream Academy!

Want to learn how to find your passion and make it profitable? Anthony and I are launching Entrepreneur Dream Academy in mid-September! We will be coaching a small group of hopeful entrepreneurs to help them find a business they love and develop a solid plan. We will walk each person through the process and give them the tools and connections they need to make a real go of it. Have you ever dreamed of starting a business? Have you ever thought about leaving the corporate world? Or are you just looking for something on the side. (Everyone needs to make 25% of their income from a side business – see why here!)

**We are only going to take the first 8 who signup. Once we have 8, it closes!

Validating Your Business Idea – Quick Notes from the Podcast

  • Passion is not enough when it comes to business. You have to have skills and a viable market.
  • However, skills can be developed or hired and a market can be found, but we cannot create passion.
  • Many new business owners fall in love with their ideas and yet fail to do their homework.
  • Over 60% of startups (in the US) never make over $25,000 per year.
  • Doing an opportunity analysis tells you if you have a viable and sustainable business.
  • An opportunity analysis consists of 1) determining the size of the market, 2) getting a percent of the market you can hit (start with less than 5%), and 3) determining the potential revenue per year by multiplying potential sales (from 1 and 2) by product or service price.
  • You have great ideas within you, but you are likely blinded by the obvious. (Or as I like to say, you are blinded by your own genius.)

 

Interesting Facts About Business Startups

  • Over 543,000 new businesses start each MONTH in the US alone
  • Over 50% of small businesses are based out of homes
  • Over 75% of US businesses are solopreneurs (no employees)

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103: How to Find Your Passion and Your Why [Podcast]

Your passion will lead you to your business idea

To succeed in business you need do something you love –  you need to find your passion. It is the driving factor or “WHY” of your work. But, finding your passion is something that many find hard to do. Today, Anthony Witt and I, do the second in our series on getting started in your business by addressing the question “How do you find your passion?”

How to Find Your Passion and Your Why

“Turning Passion Into Profits” by Alex Wong is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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How to Find Your Passion and Your Why

I talk a lot about passion. Many think it is a touchy-feely issue and not worthy of discussing – especially in the hard world of innovation and engineering where I live. But I am talking passion because I know it can connect you to profit. I am reminded of the need to connect to your passion daily with the living dead – those people working in jobs they do not enjoy.  They are suffering from that corporate lobotomy.

In todays show we answer these questions:

  • How does brainstorming fit into finding your passion?
  • What about those assessment tools like Strengths Finder? Do they work?
  • Practical steps to finding and getting wise counsel about your how to get started in a venture you might be passionate about.
  • Hangups we all have in connecting our passion to future profits.

Check out Entrepreneur Dream Academy!

Want to learn how to find your passion and make it profitable? Anthony and I are launching Entrepreneur Dream Academy in mid-September! We will be coaching a small group of hopeful entrepreneurs to help them find a business they love and develop a solid plan. We will walk each person through the process and give them the tools and connections they need to make a real go of it. Have you ever dreamed of starting a business? Have you ever thought about leaving the corporate world? Or are you just looking for something on the side. (Everyone needs to make 25% of their income from a side business – see why here!)

**We are only going to take the first 8 who signup. Once we have 8, it closes!

 

How to Evaluate Your Business Idea

In the upcoming show (Stay tuned), Anthony and I will get into business idea evaluation. We all know ideas are a dime a dozen. So how can we determine if we have a good idea and one that will generate real profits over time. Join us for Episode 104 to find out.

 

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102: Finding Your Why with Anthony Witt [Podcast]

Why entrepreneurs need a powerful why to survive!

Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Sounds like a silly question, but finding your why can be a big part of your long term success. Your why will get you through the rough days, teach you when to say yes and when to say no, and will keep you laser focused on serving your customers. In today’s show, Anthony Witt, of The Champion Entrepreneur, and I discuss finding your why.

Finding Your Why - Business clarity

“Finding Your Why” by Tiago Aguiar is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Finding Your Why

In today’s show we discuss some of the issues we discuss with new and hopeful entrepreneurs.

  • Why do you want to be a business owner?
  • Why should you even ask why?
  • What does passion have to do with it?
  • What about skills? How important are they?
  • What about following the market? Should I just do what is hot today?

How to Find Your Why – A Formula

In the upcoming shows (Stay tuned) we will cover specific plans that will get you moving to help you discover your own why. These plans will get you moving and bring incredible clarity to your business startup ideas. See next week for episode 103 – Using Your Why to Find a Business Idea You Love.

Note to Subscribers

You will find that the email you get about my podcast/blog will soon be changing. I have moved to a new and more powerful email server. The transition to new servers and systems took me a while – which partly explains my absence. Perhaps I will share some of the adventures of moving a site that is making money – not as trivial as I thought! But hopefully the new emails will serve you better. As always – I welcome feedback,  so let me know.

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  1. Go to iTunes.
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101: Thinking About Starting a Business? What You Need to Do Now. [Podcast]

Are you thinking about starting a business? Over 3000 new businesses are started each day in the United States alone. But, most new owners are not prepared for what they are getting into and have failed to prepare – which is the reason many will fail. I am not talking big issues or big strategies to get started – but some common sense things each person who is looking to start a business needs to do to improve their chances of success and increase their enjoyment when they become the boss.

Planning to start a business?

“Creative Commons” by Luis Llerena is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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What to Do Before Starting a Business

1. Know your goals

Why are you starting a business? Is it to control the money, more time with the family, to make your fortune, or just because it is a life long dream? Knowing your WHY will prevent you from starting a business you learn to hate. For instance, if you are wanting to be with the family more and love to cook for family, you might think owning a restaurant is in order. The result will have you working long hours to the point you forget you have a family. There are other options in food services – but keeping your why in check will prevent you from killing your why.

2. Kill the debt

Debt kills business ventures. Get out of debt before you start, and certainly NEVER go into debt to start a business. You could, however, start a side business to generate cash to help you get out of debt. Just remain hyper-focused on on goal of being debt free before you grow or quit the day job.

3. Gather cash

Starting a business, even on the side, will take some money as well as plenty of time. The average cost of a startup in the United States is $7000. But the bigger issue is you will not have a steady income for the first few months. So prepare by saving up 6 to 12 months of personal AND business expenses before you start. If you are starting a side business, you can use the income from the business to build up this cash fund. Being debt free and having cash on hand gives your new venture (or old venture) room to breathe.

4. Get your ego in check

Many who work the corporate world have nice and powerful sounding titles such as director or vice president. If you have an awesome title, you might feel important and powerful – like you really know what you are doing. But, in the corporate world, titles are easy reward. Very often, your title has little to do with ability, intelligence, or control. And more importantly, the skills of getting along in the corporate world are not all you need to make it in business alone.

But now you get to name your own title –  such as president or CEO. If you have an ego you will really feel important now. But, no one cares. You are chief grunt and everyone knows it. Stop trying to be Mr. Big Pants and get down to reality. Egos cause mistakes. Remember, pride goes before the fall.

Starting a Business – the Next Steps

Sure – there is more to do then the simple steps above. But, these steps can get you ready and put you mentally and strategically in a winning position. Check out some of these posts for more information:

 

100: Finding Your Why – Do You Have a LIFE? [Podcast]

A few years ago I was consulting with a telecom startup. One day the chairmen of the board (and primary investor) called me to ask a quick and simple question. “Dale will you take over as CEO?” I did not answer immediately – but somewhat out of obligation felt I needed to step up and take the reigns. I really enjoyed the people and the company. I became VERY busy. But one day I looked in the mirror found myself asking “Why am I doing this? I hate telecom?” Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked yourself a similar question?

Finding Your Why with LIFE

“Finding Your Why” by Mikael Kristenson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Ask Why Often

Now I have learned to ask WHY often. The question brings clarity. But more importantly to you – I  find I am often asking my coaching clients WHY. Not only do I need to know they have clarity – but knowing their why helps me direct the conversation.

Recently a good friend of mine shared his WHY with me. He called it his LIFE model. Wow – it hit home with me – and apparently with many others.

The LIFE Model

I forget when Jonathan Milligan of Blogging Your Passion first shared his LIFE model – but it stuck with me. Jonathan helps people who want to become full time bloggers. His LIFE model was needed to help him help others – but it goes so much further than that. I think it describes almost everyone I have met – certainly everyone I have coached.

LIFE stands for Lifestyle, Influence, Financial, and Effort.

L – Lifestyle: Jonathan wanted to be able to work where he wanted, when he wanted, and doing the things he wanted to do. If he wanted to work at a coffee shop today – no one was stopping him. If he decided to take some time with the kids today – he did not want to have to ask for time off. Even better, if he decides to take a month in the mountains, he can work from there.

I – Influence: Jonathan wanted to impact the lives of others in a positive way.

F – Financial: He was tired of getting a paycheck where he did not control the flow. He could at best expect two small bonuses in the year – a tax refund and/or a bonus. Otherwise, he was tied to a number all year he could not change. While having a steady paycheck is nice, it offers you no flexibility or control.

E – Effort: Jonathan is a hard worker. He wants to enjoy working hard. And he wanted to have something that drove him to work hard.

 

What is Your Model for Why?

When I saw his model I just knew he had described almost everyone I know. Clearly I was right. Him sharing his model has had a huge impact on his audience on Blogging Your Passion.

If LIFE works for you, then you need to get clear on the details. What matters to me and Jonathan might not matter to you – but from my experience this is going to be very close.

What would you like to change? Your career? Your income? Those you serve? The beginning of making progress is a clear view of where you are now vs. where you want to be.

 

Questions To Clarify Your Why

What does your tomorrow look like? Take a moment (or more) and decide. Think about what you really want from your work, your money, and your time.

Take 5 minutes and answer these questions?

1. Who do you want to serve? (If you are a Christian or of other faith the correct answer here is not Christ or God – that is a given.)

2. What are the constraints in your life that are in your way as you try to accomplish #1 above?

3. What are the challenges where you work today?

  • Miserable
  • Bored
  • Physically exhausted
  • Poor morale
  • Hostile environment
  • Poor leadership
  • Not enough money
  • Others (list them)

4. Do you want to fix the feeling or the reality?

Get real here. Would you be OK if you could fix the work place with a new boss or some changes on the job? Would you feel like everything was perfect then? Or would that be a temporary solution only and later you will feel like you settled?

Make a Decision

DO NOT THINK ABOUT THIS LATER, do it now. Make a decision. You do not need more time to make this one. It might be one of these:

– I want to start my own company and get control of my life.

– I want to find a job where I can get control of my life.

– I am happy where I am and want to make it work even better.

Now you can answer yes to two of them, even three. But making this decision is a commitment. It is a start. From this decision, write it on a piece of paper and put in in front of your face daily. Time to quit thinking – time to act. The rest is details. I can help you there, but you have to decide to get off the fence and start moving in a direction.

 

099: Are You Limiting Your Options? [Podcast]

I hate A or B decisions. You know, those times when you have to decide to take a job or not, move or stay, and/or sell your business or keep it. Yet I have I counseled with multiple people recently caught in the “whether or not” trap. One person had a job offer which was going to pay him significantly more money – but in a job he would not like. He told me “I think I am going to literally throw up because I feel I have no choice but to take this job.” Another told me he was going to sell his business to another company because he did not know how to grow it and they did. Both needed to step back and look at more options. We do this WAY too often in our own lives. How can we learn to automatically broaden our options?

Are you limiting your options?

“Creative Commons” by pippalou is licensed under CC BY 2.0Army

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In their book Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, Chip and Dan Heath call these A or B decisions narrow framed because we tend to narrow our view so we “see only a small sliver of the options available” to us. One area we tend to “narrow frame” is about starting companies.

1. Widen Your Options – Create Option C, D, and E.

When making decisions we tend to focus on the opportunities to analyze them. When picking between two cars to buy, we drill in and look at features vs cost, doing an in-depth analysis. In Decisive the authors remind us about sight when they point out the visual anomy “when we focus we sacrifice peripheral vision” So step back and think big picture. What are your real options? And what are the reasons for the decision?

2. Opportunity Cost – What are you giving up?

What are you giving up when you spend time or money on something. If you did NOT do this, what could you do with that time or money? This is the famous economic argument “guns or butter”. If a government uses money for defense it has less money to use for domestic issues. (This trick is often used by politicians – however they sometimes trap us in another A or B rut.)

3. Use the vanishing options test. Helps you to refocus your spotlight on what you are thinking.

What would you do if some of your options suddenly went away? For instance, if you are thinking about moving to Tennessee or Florida. What happens if you cannot move to either. What would you do then?

Anytime you find yourself  in a “whether or not” decision, send up the warning flares. Stop and think broader.

Just for Fun

When you find others making  “whether or not” decisions, frame the question into A and B and them ask them what option C is.

 

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