There seems to be a trap that many of us “Type A” people fall into, and I was having another typical “Type A” conversation yesterday with one of my coaching clients. My client is highly successful and has used goals to drive himself his entire life. Whenever he achieved his goal he raised the bar and kept raising it. In general, this has worked very well for my client. He is the CEO of a prominent organization, makes 7 figures, is in great shape, lives in a great community, has a wonderful wife and child, and for all outward appearances life is great. However, he struggles with the challenge of the “Type A” fool’s choice. In his mind, if he does not keep seeking something new, he will wither away and die. There is nothing in between.

Our discussion started because he had been in his role for 10 years. He was frustrated because that was the longest he had been in any job. For him, he had done everything there was to do in this organization. In his mind, he had his regular rhythm, and this was no longer new. So he started seeking new challenges without really considering the “why. “ This is where I think the “fool’s choice” set in. I say this because he started looking for a CEO position elsewhere when life was actually really good for him where he was.

Without going into too much detail about my client, here is what he learned from his experience and what you should think about before you maybe make a decision because you think you need a change when you really don’t. He should have come up with these questions before he went out looking for a position. He had several opportunities offered, which he turned down, wasting a lot of people’s time, including his own.

Here are typical questions we should ask ourselves before we seek a new venture. In addition, you have to challenge yourself not only on the answer to the questions but also on the real odds that the desired outcome will occur.

  • Are you trying to change your risk scenario? – Do you have any guarantees in your employment? Is your performance in question? Is the health of your industry in question? Is there a business model problem?
  • Is there a financial reason to change? What is the likelihood that a change will dramatically change your lifestyle, your retirement plans, your ability to leave a legacy, etc.
  • What are the implications for your family? If you make this change what impact will there be on your ability to spend time with family and friends? For how long? Are you willing to make these sacrifices, and for how long? Is your spouse or significant other on board?
  • Are you trying to change your lifestyle? Will you have more or less business travel? Will you be able to exercise more or less? Will you have more or less time for vacations and fun? Will work more or less?
  • Do you want to have more of an impact? How will you make a difference to community, industry, economy, etc?
  • Are you trying to reduce your stress? Self explanatory.

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About Howard M. Shore

Howard M. Shore is a Certified Gazelles Coach, Certified Public Accountant Certified Executive Coach, Certified Behavioral Analyst, Certified Values Analyst, and Certified Attributes Index Analyst. He has earned Bachelor and MBA degrees from Florida International University, and completed advanced executive programs at Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago.