We’re all faced with difficult decisions in our lives. Sometimes all it takes is the courage to take the plunge and try something new.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m fifty-five years old now. Heck, I’m proud of it!  
For forty of those years, I’ve been hanging around cars and parts, earning a living and enjoying every minute of it. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I can’t believe I get paid to do what I enjoy so much?” Well, Garth Brooks has admittedly been more successful, but I’ve enjoyed my career choice as much as he has.

Throughout a career in any industry, it’s always about choices. You can choose to stay in one place, or you can choose to move around. You can choose to stay at the same job forever, or you can choose to change jobs for any number of reasons. Sometimes the choices are yours and sometimes circumstances are out of your control. Either way, choices become a part of your life and certainly a part of nearly every career.

Some of you may have noticed that my byline has changed recently. I made yet another choice. For more than six years I have been providing leadership for two organizations. The first, my “regular job,” I was vice president and general manager for a five-store chain of import specialist auto parts stores in Las Vegas. The second, I was providing the communication and leadership for a group of more than thirty import specialists from across the country called S.I.P.S., the Society of Import Parts Specialists. 

I continue to serve the members of the S.I.P.S. organization, but I have chosen to move on from my position with the Las Vegas import specialist. I have accepted a position as the national sales manager for Precision Parts, an Oklahoma City company that specializes in remanufacturing very high-quality import alternators and starters for the automotive aftermarket. Regular readers of this column know that I frequently write while I am traveling on airplanes. Well, now I am practically going to live on planes, commuting to and from my home-base in Las Vegas, so the trend will certainly continue.

Why have I chosen to make a career change like this at a time when flying has just become more cumbersome than ever? The answer is easy. I have enjoyed meeting import specialists from all over the country so much with my S.I.P.S. involvement, I wanted to spend more time with all of them. My new job will allow me to “kill two birds with one stone.” I have come to admire the individual members of the S.I.P.S. group so much that it will be very rewarding to learn more about why they are so successful. And hopefully I will be able to help them become even more profitable and successful. What a country!

Did you know that Dave Thomas started Wendy’s Hamburgers when he was fifty-six years old? Well, what I am doing is not nearly as ambitious as Dave’s plans, but I am just as excited about my new opportunity. Dave had hamburgers and I have rotating electrical units. It’s all about what you love.

That being said, it still comes back to choices and what to do when a choice confronts you. I know a secret that will help you when you need to make an important choice, so let me share it with you.
A lot of people, when faced with an important choice, grab a piece of paper and a pen and draw a line down the middle of it. They list the positive reasons on the left side of the line and the negative reasons on the right side. A quick total of the two sides indicates a greater number of positive or negative reasons and the choice can now be made, right? Wrong, it can’t. You have forgotten an important step, the same step that I had to learn from one of my mentors way back in 1981.

Before you add up either side, first assign a value of one to ten next to each item listed on both sides of the line. This value ranks the importance of each item to you personally, or to your family. After careful thought and after having assigned the proper value to each item that you listed, you can now add up the numbers representing the values and you will get a much clearer picture of what choice is best. This process could easily change your yes to a no, or vice versa, as it has for me on more than one occasion. It’s an important step that you don’t want to leave out when arriving at the right decision.

This method of weighing choices has helped me many times in my career and in my life. I hope it will help you too sometime. After all, it’s all about the choices we make.

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