As one in the business of listening to those in crisis, guiding those off-track, restoring those who are broken and inspiring others to transformissional living, I’ve never known a single person who made one bad decision. Everyone I’ve ever coached or counseled over the past 35 years can point to a series of bad decisions. Their lives gradually unraveled. Yet, I realize that I’m always just one stupid decision away from destroying my life and legacy!
We all encounter regular crossroads where we have to make decisions. They are usually small decisions. Tragic stories of iconic heroes who morally crash and burn always happen in slow motion. I’ve never heard of a politician, a sports figure, a spiritual leader or a celebrity who woke up one morning and thought: “I think I’ll have an affair with a woman half my age. It will be fun for a few months. But then she will kill me, then herself. Everyone will wonder why I risked my role as a superstar NFL quarterback. My wife and my kids will spend the rest of their lives trying to forgive me.”
No, we never have that kind of clarity at the beginning. Instead, we make some small decision. Perhaps it is a simple choice to flirt with an attractive person at our place of work or to have a one-night fling while out of town on a business trip. Then it snowballs from there.
One bad decision becomes two. Two becomes three. And eventually it cascades into an unexpected end. Twenty years from now, our family and friends will still be trying to get over the betrayal and the crazy unfathomable culmination of stupidity
Here’s what I’ve been learning to keep me from making a bad decision:
We never make decisions in nothingness. Everything matters. Our words and actions will resound on into eternity.
One bad decision will be remembered forever. We can have a lifetime full of good deeds and behaviors but it can be wiped away and forgotten with one misstep.
We are all vulnerable. If we think we are not vulnerable to lapses in judgment, we are fooling ourselves. In fact, we are setting ourselves up for failure. I always have at the tip of my tongue these words, “Except for the grace of God, go I.”
We need intentional accountability. It won’t happen by accident. I have built a group of close friends whom I’ve given permission to challenge me if I veer off course. Who will do that for you?
We need to live our lives on-purpose. If you don’t have a road map, you could end up about anywhere. Do you have a clear mission? Do you have a plan to help you out live yourself?
The good news is, we can determine our legacy. We can decide how we want to be remembered. But we all encounter crossroads with small decisions. It’s not a single choice. It is a series of choices. And the best news is, if you’re still alive and reading this, it’s never too late to change course and make your life count. What one decision do you need to make today?
QUESTION: How do you want to be remembered? You can leave a comment below.