I got an email from a friend last week in which she weighed the  pros and cons of making a big change in her work life. She was very undecided and I could see why.

I suggested that she try a big-decision-making technique that has worked for me. In a nutshell, it is to not decide.  I tell myself that today, right in front of me, I don’t have a decision to make, that I would be foolish to make one, and that my only course of action is to get much more informed.

When I left the bank, I spent 6 months actively pursuing information on 3 different types of work: law, mediation and small business ownership. This busywork kept me going from July 2009 to January 2010 at which time I hired a head baker. Then it occurred to me that I’d made a decision. Months earlier, the idea of hiring an employee with no store and no website would have been paralyzing to me but through my research, meetings and phone calls, I learned that without commercial baking training, I couldn’t go much further with my vision.

More importantly, I learned I was really excited about the idea – I even had a name! – and bored out of my mind at coffee meetings to talk about going back to a law firm or starting a mediation practice. What had seemed like very good options had shown themselves to be not right for me.

I’m not sure I would ever have opened a bakery if I’d tried to wrestle down a decision in my head.  That always would have felt so risky, but my experience was not like that –  in the end, there was no decisive moment, just a calm feeling about what to do next.

I wouldn’t have been offended if my friend rebuffed my unsolicited advice and kept dithering but she replied that she was going to set up some information-gathering meetings and start to work on her resume, which seemed like perfect ways for her to drift toward the right answer revealing itself.


About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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