Been studying John Maxwell’s Develop the Leaders Within 2.0 to prep-up for my next mastermind in June. One of the most profound (to me) chapters in the book is on Decision Making. It’s the hardest skill to master, yet none of us (yes, even you!) won’t admit that we suck at it! I guess that’s the ego within us all! And that’s okay, like I often say, “creating awareness is the first step to mastery.”

Why should you even consider this? Simply because we think we’ve got our priorities right but most of the time we haven’t. I say that from my experience. The framework is not just simple but has tremendously helped me one of the biggest bottlenecks in my professional life. I’m honestly breathing much better because I applied this concept to my life. A caveat though, like the many other frameworks/concepts/formulas/whatever you may have been exposed to, this too wouldn’t work if you don’t apply it! (Funny how we keep looking for the next big thing or the magic formula without even giving anything a try. And then we complain…)

And here’s another reason — the best leaders out there are great at decision-making. It’s a great skill to develop and add to your repertoire.

Here’s what the 3 R’s are for:

  1. REQUIRED: What’s required of me? What do people (or heck, your priorities) expect from you? Get real. You won’t be fooling anyone but yourself if you can’t answer this truthfully. Take a good look at the aspects of life that deem important to you. Family/friends, work, social, spiritual, education etc. What do you need to do to build a great relationship with your spouse or parent or children? What do you need to do win your employer’s trust and satisfaction? Focus on the aspects of life that you cannot delegate. These are the things that have to be done by you and nobody else. Example: Sending flowers to your spouse on forgetting her birthday (if you’re alive, that is). You can’t possibly outsource that (though AJ Jacobs did just that! But you’re not AJ. Just keep that in mind.)
  2. RETURN: What’s your ROI? Remember your investment the limited time that you have. It’s scarcer than money! What activities give you the biggest bang for the buck? Coaching leaders, writing, speaking, training and designing training programs (for both powerlifting/strength and leadership development — someone at the conference that I’m attending this week confided that’s one heck of a combination!) give me the greatest return. And I literally had to fight with my family, friends, colleagues and community members to ensure that I am able to focus on these (and such) activities. Worth the trade-off? Absolutely! I’m more diligent with time than I have ever been since I’m not cutting into the time for others, just using my time more judiciously.
  3. REWARD: What’s in it for me? If the priorities and activities above don’t satisfy you, what’s the point? You don’t want to be just productive with the things that you must do. You need to achieve a sense of satisfaction. And if that’s missing, you probably need to go back and reassess your areas of focus and analyze if they’re giving you the ROI that you’re seeking.

If you’re thinking the above framework cannot be applied to your life because you’ve got a job, you’re in debt or your life isn’t that simple, you’re probably right. This works for folks who’re willing to give it a try.

And try you must.