The decisions you make in your job are more valuable than the work you do

The decisions you make in your job are more valuable than the work you do.

That’s the truth, even though your current work environment may not reflect it. If that’s the case, act according to this truth and you will eventually end up somewhere that does.

I was sharing this with one of my long-time personal coaching clients, a self-confessed workaholic AND perfectionist (it’s a wonder a guy like him needs a coach 🙂 ).

One of his team members had just delivered a project that was “good but not great.” My client expressed second thoughts about choosing NOT to redo it. But he also labeled the particular project as “not very important.”

Knowing how busy he is with “high importance” tasks, I praised his choice and taught him the truth you read at the beginning of this email. He struggled with it for a bit, maybe like you are now, because he’s basically been paid by the hour his whole career. It’s tough for him to justify in his mind “billing” someone for an hour of “making decisions,” for example.

Think about the most successful people in business. Do you really think people evaluated Steve Jobs on the quality of the memos he wrote? Or do people derive value from some financial projections that Warren Buffett ran on Excel? Of course not – they judge Jobs on his track record for deciding which products to develop and when they were great enough to ship. And Buffett on which companies he chose to invest in.

Now, of course, you’re not a CEO of a huge company and neither am I. We both have to do actual work to merely stay above water in our current roles (after all, I wrote this email, didn’t I?). This is a principle of degrees, not absolutes.

But think about this for a minute – how much more value would you deliver to your current and future employers if you made some or all of the following decisions?

  • Decide to pitch only newsworthy, relevant stories and not cave on those you know will go nowhere
  • Decide to spend an hour a week reaching out to your top media targets and asking nothing from them in return
  • Decide to ignore your email and phone for two hours a day and immerse yourself in your most challenging creative responsibility for that day

Those might be scary for you to imagine implementing right away. But you probably agree that over the long term your results will increase and you’d offer far more value to your clients or employer.

Decide to decide.

This article was originally published on April 5, 2023

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