Making Decisions in The Grey Area

Murder is wrong. Feeding the starving people of an impoverished nation is right. Spanking your child is much less a black and white issue.

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Children need appropriate discipline. But, is a spanking the right discipline for the child? Different children respond in very different ways to spanking. Some hardly notice a spanking. Whereas a spanking might bring another child's world to an end.

The job as parents is to make decision in the gray area. To decide based on the child if spanking is the right discipline.

Likewise, every leader, team, and organization has to make decisions in the gray area. Whether on which vendor to use or what policies to set in place. The ability of a person to make decisions in the gray areas relates to a their ability to lead. When the smallest of decisions paralyze a worker, their ability to work stops.

A leader can weigh the pros, cons, to make a decision with widespread impact. The leader makes those decisions with confidence when it is time.

How do you handle situations when they are in the gray area? How do you assess the right decision? What size of decisions paralyze you? Who helps you make decisions in the gray areas?

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Every morning, my alarm goes off. I get up out of bed and get dressed to go to the gym to work out. I go to the gym and follow the workout on my phone. I finish my workout between 7:30 and 7:35. Afterwards I shower, sometimes shave, get dressed, and go to work. I take the same route to work every day.

When I get to work, I make myself coffee. While my coffee is brewing, I finish my breakfast of two hard boiled eggs, a sliced apple with almond butter, and a banana.

At this point, I have made no decisions nor have I had to apply myself. I have followed the road I laid out for myself, relied on the habits I have and the planning I already put into place. I have spent no mental energy to get to where I am by 8:30 every morning.


My outfit is pretty standard and unremarkable.

My breakfast is the same.

My workout is preplanned.

As mundane as this sounds, it is incredibly freeing. I am set free to execute predetermined systems and processes while I pay attention to the things that really matter to me. I stew on the ideas of the podcasts I am listening to while I work out. I am pondering the items on my schedule while I “pump iron”.

Even when I get to work, putting together my coffee and eating my breakfast is as much a part of my mental boot up process as it is a habit.

Oh, and did I mention I am significantly physically healthier now than I was 2 years ago?

My entire process has freed me to make more decisions about things that matter while I have systematized the mundane. The mundane no longer has the power to steal from me while I pour my energy into what really matters to me.

Where are you spending energy making mundane decisions? How can you better systematize these mundane decisions? What can you make more reflex based than decision based so you can focus on what really matters?

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Do or Do Not


“I, I don’t believe it.”

“That is why you fail.”

The scene quoted above is between Luke Skywalker and Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda levitates Luke’s X-Wing out of the swamp it sank into and that is the exchange following Yoda gently setting it on the ground of the swamp.

Moments before, Luke had tried the same feat. He had that strained look of angst on his face as he tried to levitate this massive spacecraft out of the quicksand like bog it was mostly submerged in.

Luke’s success was limited by his belief in himself.

Now, I am not advocating we all go out and try to levitate our cars using the mind power we have in our heads from the mystical force.

How often is it that you do not try something because you believe it will fail before you try or start? Or worse, you give it a half try and call it, ‘good enough’? What are you not trying because you are afraid? What are the little thing you are not trying because of fear? What are the big things you need help to do that you are not trying?

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