In A Shot Of Optimism, Discover Your Passion, Make Even Smarter Choices, Uncategorized, What's Holding You Back?


Have you ever agreed to something and then regretted it?   Or the reverse, turned something down and wished you hadn’t?  There’s an antidote to regret.  It’s called your Bottom Line.

Recently one of my West Coast clients asked if I would fly across the country to do a short session with a small team of company managers.  Of course the work would be interesting, and they are good clients, but it would take almost two full travel days to go and come, and I’d just made the decision to consolidate my business travel.  Still, the work was in a lovely place in California, and our winter this year has been especially cold.  But I’m doing a lot of work on my book and had planned on snuggling in and working on it in February.

Even the West Coast client stated some reluctance. They said they hated to ask me to come back so soon, since I’d just been working with them in January.  I joked with them, I may need some inducements like flying my husband with me and a weekend at the resort.  Let me check my calendar and get back to you.

When I got off the phone I checked my calendar and all was clear.

Now I had to come down to the real nub of the situation:


There was a time when just having someone want me to come was reason enough.   It made me feel special.   They want me!   And of course that little voice of insecurity still lives in all of us somewhere.   If I don’t go, they’ll find someone else, then they’ll stop calling me.  Woe is me!

But that’s a voice (the Triple J) I listen to less and less.  So… what if they did create a “nice little trip” for my husband and me? That would cost them extra money and be a recognition on their part of my sacrifice.  Right?    But was that my bottom line?   NO.  When I consulted my confident most adult self, the answer was clear.

(HINT – it is only your adult self that can figure these things out!)

What I really wanted was a fee that represented the uniqueness and challenge of the assignment and the inconvenience of a two-day turnaround to the West Coast.  That was my bottom line.

I wrote my clients an email stating the anticipated fee range and identified areas that could be valuable for them.  I realized that if they accepted the proposal I would be pleased to do the work, and if they didn’t?  That would be OK too!

When I hit “SEND”, I felt great.  Regardless of what my client decided, I knew I would feel good about the outcome.  No regrets because I’d been able to get really clear about my bottom line.

But how do you get to YOUR bottom line?

Some people just go straight to a cost/benefit analysis.  What are the benefits or good results of doing (or not doing) something?  They consider the costs, risks and negative consequences?  That’s a place to start.

But to really get to your bottom line you have to tune in and listen: What do you really want and why?

Some people would have really wanted to snuggle in with their writing and make progress on the book, others would have needed the resort time with their sweetheart, still others might have wanted some time with a good client.  Everyone is different, but as long as you get clear on what you want. There are no regrets.

Living in the land of regret is a waste of your precious time, energy and creativity.    Looking backwards makes you trip over opportunities on the path to your future.  So, get clear about YOUR bottom line.  Then decide if you will or you won’t and never look back.

What’s the decision you are facing?  What do YOU really want?

The good conversation happens in the comments below, so come join us!

Until next Tuesday.  YIPPEE!


Showing 8 comments
  • Minty

    Great advice Elizabeth!
    I try to employ a good balance of emotion and logic to my choices. The thing that has always served me well is the question “do I need this?” This can be answered by what my head and heart want, either separately or together. I am pragmatic and resourceful. Because I have had to think all my life, if I can afford things, it’s easy for me to choose. I am a happy camper in life in that I very very seldom feel regret for my choices. I live with the consequences no matter what. I just find silver linings and make the best of things. Maybe I’m just lucky. No secret sauce here!

    Thanks for sharing. I hope you are well 🙂

    • elizabeth

      Thanks Minty,

      You have a gift for finding the silver lining and for asking a good question. Do I need this? In fact your turned your experience of not having a lot of money into a gift of discernment. Hope you are well. I just landed in your fair city.


      • Minty

        Do you have time for tea?

        • elizabeth

          So wish I did, but I’m back to back including dinners until I fly back on Sat. I’ll be back in April.


  • Pat O

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Great article. I, too, get stuck in the idea that ‘they really want me!’ and let my ego get in the way of what really is my “bottom line”.
    This is a great perspective and a good reminder for me.
    It has also reminded me of what I don’t want in my business and personal life. Haven’t take a look at that for a while.

    • elizabeth

      Thanks Pat for writing and reminding ALL that deciding what you DON’t WANT and will STOP DOING is as important as deciding what you do!



  • George

    That sounds like how I price jobs. I mean sometimes there are jobs I don’t want, so I just keep adding to the bottom line until it feels good. Funny thing is, those turn out to be the best ones. I always say if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right. Saying that keeps me focusing on innovative ways to get the job done.

    • elizabeth

      You got it George!

      Thanks for writing.


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