One of the most difficult things that I constantly face is answering the question of “how much does it really matter”? It’s a question that we don’t ask often enough in our busy lives.
Yes, there are many tools we can use to feel like we are answering this question. There are binary attributes such as: urgent or important, busy or strategic work, needs to be done today vs. being able to do this three months from now. I am sure you have your own decision criteria.
At a more fundamental level, this difficult question exposes us to something deeper that we often miss. It’s hidden from us, in part, due to our need to always want to contribute to a situation. We help it hide from us when, for example, we say instead of black we believe things need to change to yellow. Instead of trusting someone we choose to offer different solutions to parts of their plan (even though their track record has shown us that they always deliver consistently positive results).
No doubt all of our decisions carry some risk. So while it seems prudent to try to micro-manage a plan, we fail to ask the question “how much does it really matter” if we do X instead of Y or Z?
If all of the options suggested lead us to a place we did not intend to go to, than we either must speak out, change entirely the way we will proceed or debate if where we want to go is even achievable or should be different than what we first thought.
If any option proposed will get us to where we want to go to some degree, than we shouldn’t waste a lot of time trying to figure out which option is better. When we ask the question “how much does it really matter?” it starts to bring some context to our thinking. What is revealed is that all of our choices are simply different approaches, to achieve the same goal, based on our biases, our level of comfort, our operating style, and degree of difficulty to implement them.
Where we get hung up, is that we tend to spend so much time on micro-managing a decision or situation that we forget to act. Or we stall a group process by creating dissent instead of consensus. It’s happened to me as well as others many times.
“How much does it really matter that ______________ is done instead of _____________ to achieve ________________” is an interesting exercise to gain more clarity, both in our lives and within group discussions.
For once you discover that there is little difference between two or more options, it will give you the confidence to take the next step towards a different tomorrow using either option rather than wasting valuable time trying to over-analyze what is the best option.
Try it. You might just take back some time for yourself in your busy day if you do.