A friend is facing a big decision about a new job. He asked me for advice. As usual, the thoughts we offer are often the lessons we want to tell ourselves. Maybe saying them out loud gives us the opportunity to learn what we already know. Here is what I said:

At various points in your life or career you’ll make different decisions and you may not even know why. Sometimes you just want to work with someone to learn and nothing else matters. Other times you might chase a paycheck. It’s all ok.

The one thing I have learned is to trust my instincts. It doesn’t always end up as you hope, but you can’t predict that. Life is messy and uncertainty is the ticket to entry. All you can do is make the best call you can in the moment.

One hack is to imagine yourself in a few futures. How you would feel if the company succeeded and you weren’t on the team? How about if you never did that idea that’s been rolling around unfinished in your head?

I have had chances to join a few successful companies over the years — I didn’t — I have less money — but it was my path — I don’t regret it — I charted my own way — I made the call — The money would be nice, but I’d just have more stuff. The lifestyle thermostat adjusts fast — better to put on a warm coat.

For me — I want to like and trust the people I work with and work on things that interest me — that is my north star — “success”, whatever that is, looks a lot like me enjoying my days. Hope that helps.