Stop, Pause, or Go

May 03, 2023

We all come across certain decisions in our lives that must be made and we all face certain circumstances that are in need of our reaction and/or response. Making decisions can be tough and we may or may not always make the right one, but striving to make the best decision possible is how we should handle every decision we make - especially if it involves other people.

With every decision that must be made and with every circumstance we find ourselves in, we have 3 choices on how to respond: we can either stop, we can either pause, or we can choose to go.

STOP: The decision to stop is pretty self-explanatory, but it is actually the hardest choice to make. If you choose to stop, it can mean that all the progress that has been made up until that point will go to waste and that the possibility of this particular plan coming to life will be no more. But the good that comes out of deciding to stop is making the decision to go another route or changing the course you were originally on and going down a different path. Now don't get me wrong, there are going to be certain situations where choosing to stop is necessary due to things out of your control and/or something else needing to take precedence over it, but more than likely, choosing to stop should only be the case if what has been done isn't working and there is another way. Deciding to stop without having another plan of action will stop momentum and will ultimately lead to laziness on this particular project, plan, or goal - so be careful when you make the decision to stop.

PAUSE: The decision to pause is usually the smartest choice, but is not used as much as it should be in most cases. People do not usually choose to pause anything, because that means delaying the process or putting something that needs to be done on hold. Choosing to pause something can also be seen as weak, scared, or ignorant by others, which is why most people do not choose to pause anything; but when a decision must be made, deciding to pause is almost always the best thing you can do. When you take a step back and take a good hard look at all of the variables involved, you are given the chance to possibly prevent mistakes and/or prevent failure. When you take a break and really examine all of the possible scenarios, it helps you to see all that should be or could be done in order to make the best decision possible for the current situation. Choosing to pause actually shows others that you are taking this decision very seriously and that you actually care about the outcome.

GO: The decision to go is the most popular choice in most cases, but it can also be the most risky. Unless you are absolutely 100% certain that saying "yes" is the way to go right off the bat, making the decision to go forward with something when a decision is needed leaves all possible scenarios up in the air. When a decision must be made to either stop, pause, or go, that usually means continuing with the way things are is being questioned, so choosing to continue as is can be dangerous. Of course there might be situations where an outside source or something harmless is causing some questions, so the decision to overlook that and move forward is understood; but choosing to go always comes with a price if you have not taken the time to research or do all you can to be prepared for any possible outcome. There are some cases where saying go is necessary due to the urgent need or lack of time and research can be done along the way, but if you are not faced with any urgency before making a decision, choosing to go should only be made after much time and deliberation has been done to ensure the right decision is being made.

If you look back at certain decisions you have made in the past, if you chose to either stop or go, do you think it would have benefited you more if you chose to hit the pause button instead? If you chose to go, do you wish you would have chosen to stop if you had the chance to go back? Making decisions is not always going to work out perfectly and sometimes certain variables are thrown in to alter the decision that was previously made, but knowing the 3 decisions ahead of time and the benefits / drawbacks of each can be helpful when you are faced with having to make a decision.

If you find yourself in the future where you must decide to stop, pause, or go, I hope you lean more towards pause, because it will ultimately provide you with the best outcome and will also allow you time to feel good about the decision you make. You may end up choosing whether to stop or go after you pause, but you have to actually pause first before making that final decision.

I know how much pressure comes with making a big decision and how you may be pushed to make a decision fast, but don't let anyone or anything rush you into making the decision. Leaving something up to one person holds a lot of weight, so the more prepared and more knowledgeable you are about each possible decision will help you feel good about the decision you end up making.

- Dean

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