“Are you going to do it?” my friend and fellow dad texted me.
“Not sure yet,” I replied.
About a week later, he asked again.
“Not sure,” was my even briefer reply.
My buddy wanted to know if I’d be signing Tyler (my 10-year old) up for a baseball travel team that he and a few other guys in town had joined. I was unsure because of the time commitment and the travel required — most of the tournaments were at least an hour away and covered both Saturday and Sunday, so there would be a lot of back and forth. Also, my wife has to work some weekends, which meant I’d have to haul my little guy, Parker, to these games where he’d have no playmates and, because it was foreign territory, I’d want him to stay close. At home games, he can roam a bit freer with his crew of little brothers.
When it comes to my boys participating in things, I want their buy-in before I sign up. Gone are the days when I made the decisions in a vacuum and, like it or not, they had to go along with the ride. So I asked Tyler if he wanted to do the travel team, to which he enthusiastically responded in the affirmative. But even though he was on board, the other factors I mentioned made me hesitate, so I held the inquiries about our status at bay. Now, it’s important to note I wasn’t holding them back. They didn’t need an answer from me to move forward; they just wanted one.
When I am in the process of making a decision, I’m looking for that “click” — that feeling which indicates you know which way to go. In this case, as in others, I hadn’t yet felt it and so — because I had no deadline — decided to play for time, as time often yields new information or insights that can help one arrive at the click.
The more I thought about doing the travel team in question, the more I realized doing this particular program at this particular time was not for us, and when I realized that, I knew I had to have a talk with Tyler.
“Hey buddy, I don’t think we’re going to do that team we talked about,” I said.
“But I said I wanted to do it,” he protested. “You asked me.”
“I know I did, and I’m going to want your opinion about stuff that involves you. I’ll take what you want into consideration when I’m making a decision, but I may not wind up doing what you wanted. That doesn’t mean I didn’t factor it in,” I said.
“But why aren’t we doing it?” he asked.
“Well, I just think it’s too much for us right now. It’s a lot of games, and they’re far away, and I don’t want to drag your brother to them since he won’t know anyone there. You’re still doing the town travel team so there will be enough baseball this summer,” I said.
While I don’t think he was thrilled with the outcome, he did seem to understand where I was coming from.
As I thought about this particular decision-making episode, I was comfortable with the process and, thus, with the outcome. When I first learned about the program, I’d been very bullish, and there were days when I was almost certain we were going to do it but, for some reason, I held off, never quite pulling the trigger. Then, almost like a tug-of-war where one team has the early lead but gets worn down, the tide started to turn, and it became ever clearer this wasn’t the right move. The key here was time — without it, we’d have been putting a lot of miles on the car and I’d be regretting my rash decision.
So when you’ve got something that looks good but not quite perfect, get the input of those involved, factor it into your deliberations, but don’t let them rule the day. Then, if there’s no deadline, take as much time as you need to see which way the mental struggle goes, knowing the early leader may falter in the end. Above all, whenever possible, avoid making a move until you hear that all important click; the click of clarity.