Last week, I wrote about the challenge of doing the right things vs. the nice things. As simple as the idea is, it can be far more complicated in real life. Sometimes it’s hard to discern – which is the right choice?
This question of right things vs. nice things is not an esoteric discussion. The ability to do the right things is predicated on our ability to discern the right things. Leaders who consistently do the right things will separate themselves from other leaders.
Here are a few considerations when you’re trying to separate the right things from the nice ones.
What are you paid to do? When facing a nice vs. right decision, one obvious filter is how the various options align with what you’re actually paid to do. Does one of the options better align with your job description?
What are your goals? It might go without saying, but we all know some activities are better suited to move us towards our goals than others. When you’re debating a nice vs. right decision, check your goals. Which option is on strategy? Which activity best helps you accomplish your goals?
What are the long-term implications? When considering right vs. nice, the right thing will almost always have greater long-term impact. That’s why it’s the right thing to do! For example, choosing to sleep in vs. getting up to run in the morning may feel great in the short-term, but it’s clear the advantage will be short- lived.
What were you made to do? I was talking with my son about the nice vs. right conundrum. He leads a non-profit organization dedicated to serving men and women living with HIV/AIDS. His response: “It depends on your calling.” He decided not to do programming for children, so his team could focus their energy and resources towards the adult clients - that's his calling. Do you have a sense of what you were made to do? If so, keeping this top of mind may be able to help you discern right vs. nice.
What does your gut tell you to do? At the end of the day, most of the time you’ll know the difference between the right thing and the nice thing to do. Just stop and ask yourself: What’s the right thing to do? You’ll be surprised how often you’ll intuitively know the right answer.
As I mentioned last week, my challenge is often finding the courage to do what I know I should do. I hope you’ll not struggle with that as much as I do.
Here’s the bottom line…
To maximize our impact we’ve got to trade the nice things for the right things.