Back when I was a videotape editor, hitting the red button meant you made an edit. You copied audio and video from one tape to another. Hitting the red button was a commitment. Because it seemed so final, many editors would perform a preview edit, they could see what the outcome would be without actually recording it.
The thing is that an edit wasn’t really permanent, it could be redone by recording new material over the old. Previewing the edit indicated a lack of confidence, that the editor didn’t trust their instincts or skill level.
There is no preview in life so a lot of people procrastinate, unwilling to hit the red button, afraid to make a commitment. Maybe you’re ready to find a new job but never start the search, or maybe you want to start a business but are too afraid of taking that risk.
Once an editor understands that hitting the red button isn’t as permanent as it seems, it’s a liberating feeling. And in the same vein, once you realize that most decisions, even bad ones, aren’t permanent, that you can recover, it frees you to move.
In June of 2012 I hit the red button when I signed the franchise agreement for a massage business. I had high hopes and set goals accordingly. My intention was to open multiple locations but I had to prove the first would work out. As expected with lofty goals, we didn’t meet many of them but we were still successful.
There were plenty of times that I felt this business was a big mistake. There were times when I thought we just might get that second location. But finally it became just too much to handle given the other demands in our lives.
This year I hit the red button again and sold the spa, essentially redoing the edit. In some respects I made a mistake in 2012 but I was determined that I could recover and work my way out of it. That meant working harder than ever to build the business up enough that it was worth a good price. Of course doing that also meant that there was less of a reason to sell it as the profitability also increased but could I keep the pace up?
Regardless of what decision you’re struggling with, at some point you have to hit the red button. So is now the time for you?