One Simple Way to Double Your Options

sign on a road reading option A and option B

As we close out 2015 and think about 2016, I thought I’d send along my formula for doubling my options in any situation, but particularly those that seem to have limited options.

Are you ready?

It’s simple, but not easy.

Consider what you can do, not what the other person can do.

For example, perhaps you feel like you deserved a raise in 2015. You worked hard, took on more responsibility, etc., but nothing came your way. It’s easy in this situation to say to yourself, “I can’t believe this! They could do X, or they could do Y! But they’re not doing anything.”

Here’s a tip: you’re not doing much either.

I know it’s difficult, but when you aren’t getting the recognition you think you deserve, you need an action plan that you control: anything from arranging a goal-setting meeting with your boss to putting out feelers for new positions…. You need to keep the focus on your options.

Or perhaps you have a colleague who drives you crazy by consistently taking credit for shared work. Instead of fuming to your chums in the break room, “I can’t believe her nerve—she needs to get real about what she contributes!” you can begin to create a paper trail that demonstrates who was—or was not—responsible for what.

Or perhaps you have a friend whose is consistently late. Instead of sitting and fuming, “I can’t believe it—how hard is it to be on time?? He could get up earlier, change his clock settings…” you could give him an earlier start time than is necessary, alert him that you will be leaving after 15 minutes, bring a book….

You get it.

In every case, although the choices you’ll be making aren’t easy, they do give you a measure of control over the seemingly uncontrollable—and that is immensely satisfying.

Frances Jones Cole signature