Simple Rules for Life

When I became a mom, decision-making became more complicated. My decisions didn’t just affect me—they affected my boys, two very dependent children in which I was responsible for. My original life plan didn’t turn out as I planned. I ended up being a single mother so I had to earn enough to live. I had to find a balance between earning a living and mom time and still keep my sanity. Time management was critical. Now that I look back, I had two simple rules; not to put my children in jeopardy and the time I spent with them would be quality time.

We make decisions every single day. We are bombarded with lots of advice – advertisements telling you what to do, parents, teachers, coaches, bosses and internal voices chiming in as well. Most of the time we make decisions without realizing we just made one, much less what factors we considered. Our decision also have an impact on those around us. Business owners make decisions every day that affect them, their family, their employees, customers and suppliers.

The process.  For the small decisions, routine or habits will solve these.  For large decisions, I focus on my head, heart and gut reaction.  For those in between I do unconsciously, without being aware of my criteria.  However, I came upon a 5-factor test to improve the quality of my decisions. This concept comes from the book “Right Away & All at Once” by Greg Brenneman. By using this test our decisions will help create a life of significance.

Here are the 5 factors:

  1. Faith – does this move you closer to where I want to be with your beliefs and values?
  2. Family – will this decision benefit or destroy your family?
  3. Friends – will this move me closer or push farther away?
  4. Fitness – will it hurt my health?
  5. Finance – will it put me on a poor financial position? Does it allow me to be a good steward?

To make this process more effective it is important for each of us define what is important. Greg Brenneman defines these elements as our “blue chips”. We only have so much time in this life – if we are spending our time on the white chips, those insignificant things we deal with every day, we won’t have time for the blue chips. So make our choices wisely.

Everyone is unique. When my kids were young, my primary goal was to guide them so that they will have a better life than I will. I wanted them to be self-sufficient, to enjoy their freedom and to give to this world instead of taking.  Now that they are grown, my focus has changed to my career.   I have defined my life’s purpose or mission – to use my talents, experience and knowledge to help small business owners succeed.

Mary Guldan-Lindstrom, CPA

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