Stop, Pause or Continue? Get the questions right for the answer

Start, stop, pause,  buttonsHas this ever happened to you? You had to take a break from something fully intending to go back to it but somehow never did. You really did not mean to abandon the project but in the end, that is what happened. If so, you are not alone.

Recently I had to make some decisions about things in my life and work and there were some that I was not ready to just stop. But other priorities had to take precedence in the now and so I had to make a choice. Even as I was making the choice to put some things on hold, in my heart I knew that for some of them it meant I would not be back. Because that is what happens, even perhaps should happen. The issue then might be how we go about the pause.

Within my own ponderings, I found three questions to consider when you aren’t certain about the future of something. It could be a project, an investment, a relationship – it is just something that in the priority ranking needs to be temporarily culled out of our life. These helped me make decisions with confidence and I believe will serve you as well.

#1 – Why was I doing this? This is an extremely important question to ask ourselves first because our reason is always the best foundation for our reasoning. Quite often the reason we started something doesn’t really exist anymore.  That is why it has drifted down the priority list even if we don’t recognize that at first glance. When that is the case, it’s definitely not a pause, it is a stop and we should treat it that way and end it gracefully and generously if needed.

#2 – Why isn’t this important right now? Here’s another important question because context always matters in how we see the importance of things. It may be that something else in our lives is stalled or on some kind of hiatus and it has affected this particular thing as well. When we understand what the relationship is of timing and dependencies, it makes it possible for us to make a decision about when we will re-visit this decision. Now it’s really a pause just for now until we can determine if a later timing changes our perspective and priority. A key distinction is that we actually choose a date to re-consider our choice.

#3 – How can I use what I already learned or acquired from this somewhere else? A transfer of value is always a good thing. And knowledge applied is knowledge valued. How much easier to consolidate than to cancel! Yes this was a good use of my time, money and energy and it’s brought me to the point that I now need to do something else. Now I will transfer my results of this and feel good about the investment. It really becomes a continuation vs. a cancel.

By asking the right questions, the answers come on their own. We’re able to make the choices we need to make to keep the right investments of our resources front and center. As we live today like we want tomorrow to be, it’s important to remind ourselves what we now want tomorrow to be and then live that. Because that changes as we change. It’s why the word today is so important in that statement. It’s about NOW. It’s about what we want for tomorrow right now so we can live it right now.

Live today like you want tomorrow to be.

Live well.

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