When I left college, I was an uncertain young woman confused about my life path. I had a creative gift and considered going into the music industry full time. But, I sensed a technology age was upon us and so, I wanted to acquire tech and commerce skills too. I didn’t just want to be a creative, I wanted business sense and I knew it was needed to go far.

A meeting with a mentor provided some clarity. His submission was to earn a sustainable income first, and then I could pursue my real interests. However, I was faced with choices.

You see, even in the midst of fear and trepidation, I had begun knocking on doors and cold-calling businesses in my final year of school. I would approach people in church for introductions and then walk into companies to sell myself. I eventually secured four job offers – in a radio station, a recording company, a bank and a consulting firm. The question was, which opportunity would be most useful to my future? I strongly believed that how I began my career was critical.

So, I created a spreadsheet on paper with two columns – Pros and Cons.

I wanted to make a decision based on facts, and not sentiment, fear or convenience. I didn’t just want the highest paying job, which coincidentally was the radio station.

Some of my criteria included proximity, impact on my career development, opportunity to develop tech skills, freedom to learn about finance and business, brand profile etc. By the time I was through, I summed up the pluses and deducted the minuses. It was then obvious which job offer was best suited to me. That was my process of elimination.

I use this process of elimination all the time. Especially when I’m overwhelmed with emotion or confused by options. At the very least, even if things go wrong, I know I’ve done my best and selected the option that made the most sense at the time.

Going with your gut is good. But making decisions with eyes wide open and with facts is good too.

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