Don’t muddy the waters with what’s next, my mother tells me because she sees figuring that stuff out as part of the journey. If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels or are just simply having a difficult time making decisions, determining your vision, your values, your goals, and your requirements can be part of the process of figuring out what’s next to get you to your destination.
My ‘what’s next’ process recently had to do with making purchase decisions regarding furniture. I had been researching what to get and the pricing for so long that I really wanted to make a decision, take action, and cross the item off my to-do list. Suffice it to say things didn’t go according to my plan.
Vision, Value, Goals
To begin with, I did have a vision for the furniture: I would purchase outdoor furniture for its durability, cost effectiveness, and the fact that I could use it in my backyard when I no longer needed it in my office. This, my advisors admitted, was great idea. Now that I narrowed my focus with a vision, the next important thing I did was decide on a budget and go about looking for the best deal I could find from the stores I’d already picked. I was able to find a four-piece set that came in under my budget. Great, except the color scheme and scale didn’t quite work with what I already had. I went to two other stores and found issues with price, color, or even scale with each set that I looked at.
Here I was looking to make a quick decision and get something accomplished but I was not able to reconcile my vision, my need for value, with the goals of my space. I did, however, quickly realize that there would not be a perfect fit so I had to choose my priority. I decided to go for value – a four-piece set that came in under my budget – only to have it pointed out that it didn’t really fit my vision of having something meet the color/scale requirements of my office or my home. Matching value without meeting my vision wasn’t satisfying so now I wasn’t sure what the decision should be.
The second thing I realized was that if I ignored the value of getting the most amount of furniture for the least amount of money I could identify that all I really needed were three pieces: two chairs and a table. In reevaluating my options I decided I wanted something that excited me, that fit in and fueled my passion for my work, otherwise why bother having it in my office?
I began to try to make my new plan work and I mixed and matched cushions with frames, evaluating and reevaluating until finally my husband – armed with the notion of looking outside the box – noticed a café set that fit in with the Moroccan motif he wants for our back yard. For the most part this furniture set met my vision, came in under my budget, and met my minimum requirements, which allowed me to make the purchase and accomplish my goal.
Lessons to ponder
What muddied the waters of this journey for me was that I had a lot that I was trying to accomplish with one purchase, with one decision. While through the process I was able to identify a vision, value, goals, and requirements I found myself having to wade through all of them in order to find something that I was okay with purchasing. To me it wasn’t perfect because the table was tall and the chairs came with deep orange cushions that weren’t a part of my color scheme.
What I found when I assembled the pieces was not only that the scale of the furniture set fit better in my space than four would have, the table’s height created another work station that I had not accounted for, and the orange color not only tied in colors from the rug I never paid attention to but the overall look related to the rest of the furniture in the office, so what was good enough turned out to be perfect even if I couldn’t see it at the time! As my husband likes to tell me, it’s important to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
The Right Fit
What muddies the waters for my husband in purchasing decisions is when he decides what the price should be and then tries to search for what will fit his needs inside of that price rather than finding the right fit and finding out what it would cost. If I found the right fit first, would the journey to purchase office furniture have been an easier one? Possibly. It does seem that in this case the water needed to be muddied in order for me to be open to options other than the ones that I’d perceived.
What about in other areas of my life like relationships? Whether we’re talking about our relationships with others or our relationship with the earth do we decide how much we’re willing to pay and then make the relationship fit or do we find what fits and then find out how much it costs? I find that to be something worth considering…
This post was originally published on NarrativeEcopsych.Wordpress.com