Prioritize your values
"Why didn't you tell me that wasn't a good way to spend my money?" my daughter asked me when we were having a discussion on why she was low on cash.
"Well, even though helping you be a smart spender is important to me, giving you freedom to make your own choices is an even higher value." And frankly, I'd rather have her learn the hard way that spending $5 of her $20 on candy and gum might not have been worth it. The stakes are much lower now than if I wait several years and she learns the hard way by maxing out a credit card and not having the means to pay the bill.
As I quoted in an early blog post, "When values are clear, decisions are easy." When faced with dilemmas on how to handle something, prioritize your values. Ask yourself what is most important in that particular moment. Because you can't have it all.
I'm working on finding the right way to remind a prospective client about this; he has essentially asked us to create and conduct a survey that delivers better results for a lower price in the same quick time period as a current vendor. There are many images out there that convey the relative impossibility of this, signs that say, "We offer 3 kinds of services - Good, Cheap, Fast - but you can only pick two. Good & Cheap won't be Fast. Fast & Good won't be Cheap. Cheap & Fast won't be Good."
I think of these images often when I face a choice. And I remember hearing a question from the coach I worked with years ago: "Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right?" It was mentioned in the context of marriage and a reminder that some battles aren't worth fighting. That question has helped me so many times! Sometimes I choose to keep the peace rather than making a point. (And sometimes I don't!)
It would be nice if we could have it both ways, isn't it? Since that just isn't an option, thank goodness we always have a choice! Next time you have a difficult decision to make, ask yourself, "Which value is most important to me in this situation?"
Prioritize your values.