Making 1000 “Right” Decisions Every Day

Making 1000 “Right” Decisions Every Day

Written by Mark

Topics: Uncategorized

Being an entrepreneur, you have complete flexibility over all facets of the business.  You can change and create at will and have nobody to answer to but yourself (or co-founder).  This is exciting and exhilarating, but can also be stressful.  How do you know what decision is right?  How will things turn out if I choose this over that?  There are so many unknowns.  I wrote about success needing no excuse.  If a decision turns out to be right, then it was a “genius” decision.  However, if it turns out to be wrong, it was a “perilous” decision.  There’s so much judgment, but only after the fact.  When in reality, the decision was based purely on what seemed right at the time.

I find myself having to make hundreds if not thousands of small and large decisions every single day for my Chicago parking startup company SpotHero.  There are so many different facets of the business running in parallel that just the focus of time involves a lot of decision making.  Do we practice our presentation for the class we’re guest presenting at, work on SEO, write a SpotHero blog post, work with legal and liability issues, answer emails, spend time going door to door in key parking spot areas, on the ground event parking research, learn how to code Python, apply for startup funding from a place like Y Combinator, or schedule meetings with perspective owners of parking spots?  These are just a few of the endless list of things we must allocate our time to.  Each facet has a multitude of decisions that must be made.  It seems there are so many critical decisions made each day, yet it’s impossible to know how they’ll turn out or impact the business later on.

Some decisions you can see results right away.  I disagreed initially on a key part involving our design with my co-founder.  I was extremely adamant, yet we ended up going in his direction even though I disagreed.  It ended up being one of the best decisions we’ve (I mean he’d) ever made.  As an entrepreneur, you have to make hundreds if not thousands of small and large “right” decisions every single day.  I know for a fact there are some decisions I’ve made that will probably negatively impact my business later on down the line.  I don’t know what they’ll be, but I can’t fret over them.  I take solace in the hope I have made enough “right” decisions that will counteract all the “bad” ones.  I have those two words in quotes because a decision that seemed right can actually turn out to look like it was a bad one, and then flip flop and end up being the best decision ever.  This is true in the reverse also.

Sometimes my co-founder and I fret over decisions because we just aren’t sure.  All the research in the world sometimes just doesn’t help.  There are so many unknowns, yet the decisions need to be made today.  It’s impossible to make 1000 right decisions every day, but an entrepreneur must try.  In the midst of constant choice and infinite paths, having a co-founder helps to keep some sanity.  There’s no way to predict the future, but I’m hoping that it will show that of all the decisions I make each day, the good ones will make SpotHero prevail and uplift it from the bad ones.  Only time will tell.

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22 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Jeff says:

    Worrying about making right decisions is futile.

    Instead of worrying about making the right decisions it is much better to be alert and at the top of your game everyday.

    If you hold your situational awareness throughout the day it is much easier for you to make good decisions.

    Some things you can do to do this are write to do lists for each day and do not go to sleep until these things are accomplished, eat healthy, exercise often.

    We will all make bad decisions. But the key to finding success is making more good decisions than bad.

    I saw Tiger Woods in an interview and he was asked why he has such good concentration and control over his golf game. He replied something to the effect that he has amnesia after every shot, whether he just hit a hole in one or hit it into the water. He tries to forget what happened before and focus on the present. Making good decisions like this overtime creates a better mindset for success.

  2. I feel you on your many decisions to take. You just got to do it and hope for the best. For Yakezie, there were also lots of decisions to make, and still more that haven’t been made. We make do with it, and look to optimize over time.

    Your guest post is going up 2/16 on FS.

    Cheers

    • Mark says:

      Thanks again Sam for having me on Financial Samurai. You had some great questions and really forced me to thing about a lot of different things. I am very proud of that guest post.

  3. 1,000 right decisions isn’t as cool as making 1,000 very “wrong” decisions.

    :)

  4. Emilie says:

    Sweet post! I can totally relate to the feeling of overwhelm and having a million different things to do. I usually just ask myself which action would get me closest to my most important goal. Or I ask myself which action I FEEL like doing, and that’s the one I focus on.

    But yeah, like what Jeff said, it’s useless to worry about which actions are right and which are wrong. You just use your judgment with the info you have at the time and correct any mistakes that arise along the way.

    • Mark says:

      Emilie, definitely can’t just worry constantly about which actions are right and which are wrong. Just need to make the decision as best you see fit in the moment and tweek something later if things change down the road or you have new information.

  5. Chase Night says:

    Decisions overwhelm me. I blame this on childhood Choose Your Own Adventure Books. I HATE being eaten by the alligator in the basement! I like to think I’m getting better at it, but I still second guess most everything I do. Sometimes I forget that if you try something and it doesn’t work, you can usually go back and try the other thing too. Very few decisions are truly final, and that takes a lot of the pressure off.

    • Mark says:

      Ahh, I used to love those choose your own adventure books! I actually wrote one in the fourth grade. Hmmm, wonder where that book about the Egg Palm Islands and Adventures went… It’s been a while… But wouldn’t it be nice if we could look into the future,then turn the pages back if a decision didn’t turn out as hoped?

  6. Tom says:

    Mark,
    Even though I don’t run my own business, the sentence ‘I take solace in the hope I have made enough “right” decisions that will counteract all the “bad” ones.’ is golden. It’s true that we are all caught up (to some extent) in trying to make the perfect choice, but there are too many factors out of our control to get it “right” every time. I’m thinking of running my own business, and I’ll bear your quotation in mind whenever I have a decision to make.

    • Mark says:

      Tom, there are so many decision to make! It can be stressful, but also liberating! What type of business are you thinking about starting/running?

  7. Hey Mark, you’re right, the pressure of worrying about making the right decisions can really build up. I’m not a parent, but I suspect they have a similar kind of overwhelm.

    But you know what I think is worse than making the “wrong” decision?

    Making no decision at all.

    For the most part, even a ‘wrong’ or perilous decision isn’t world-crushing. Sure, it can be a setback, but you can only be set back if you’re going in the right direction.

    @Chase kudos for the mildly obscure cultural.

    • Mark says:

      Yes! Kudos to Chase for that blast from the past! Love them choose your own adventure books! No decision is world crushing. In fact a decision that seemingly looked awesome could turn out being terrible and change back to actually being awesome again. It all depends on the outcome. Those outcomes will never be known if no decision is made in the first place.

  8. Tom says:

    ‘I take solace in the hope I have made enough “right” decisions that will counteract all the “bad” ones.’

    This quote is golden. It’s so easy to not take any action for fear of failure, I will bear this in mind when I’m having difficulty making a choice. Thanks Mark!

  9. Angela Giese says:

    Great post Mark! There ARE too many decisions that have to be made and one really can’t fret too much about them all. I’ve fallen into this trap way too many times, and I’m just getting started with my business. Learn, research, grow, take care of the customers, and keep moving forward. Great advice!

  10. Mark Powers says:

    The SpotHero project sounds incredible, Mark! I can only imagine how many decisions are constantly required of you during its development.

    Being an entrepreneur is definitely not the easy route. This reality of having to make ALL of the decisions is certainly one reason why. Thanks for the great post!

    • Mark says:

      Mark, there are so many decisions that go into SpotHero. It’s not an easy route, but it’s an awesome one. Thanks for dropping by Mark!

  11. Great post! This is an incredible reminder to not become paralyzed by indecision. I work in medical / software research, and I can relate (probably on a smaller scale) to the huge variety of tasks – both technical and non-technical – that direct the success of the project.

    Looking forward to reading more, and good luck with SpotHero! If I had a car I’d definitely use something like that.

    • Mark says:

      Hey Eugenia, thanks for sharing how the same principles apply in your space too. Thanks for the support with SpotHero! We’re working really hard everyday! I saw that Python is one of your favorite programming languages. Are you going to the Chipy meeting in Chicago on March 7th? We’re one of the speakers.

  12. Mark, this is a really important post for employEEs to read. Every day I read a post somewhere with someone complaining about how terrible their job is or how crummy their boss is. But few of these people have the wherewithal to DO exactly what you’re talking about — to take the leap of faith AND all the responsibility of starting their own business.

    The perks and privileges of “being the boss” come with huge responsibility and risk. Too many just don’t understand that.

    I’ve been self-employed since 1987 and my husband left his job as a university engineering professor to be a full-time entrepreneur in 2001 (he started his company in 1996). It’s a wondrous thing, but not for everyone, to be sure.

    P.S. If you need Python, my husband is an expert. He has been a huge proponent of the language for over a decade. Shoot me an email and I can connect you. :)

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