Being in business for yourself, like a lot of my readers are, involves making decisions all the time to move your company forward. That can be intimidating, so let me break it down the lowest common denominator: one decision.

Simply put, a decision is a choice between two options. You have option A, which may push your boundaries or make you uncomfortable. It involves risk. That risk may or may not yield reward in the form of company growth or new contracts. Then, you have option B. Option B is the status quo. It is low risk, but likely means no growth or change in your business’s bottom line.

Which would you choose?

Before you answer, let me tell you a story. I knew an older gentleman once who had smoked for close to 25 years. One day, he stopped cold turkey. What was his secret? How did he accomplish this difficult, if not seemingly impossible, task? I asked him one day, about six months after he quit. His response?

“I got up one day, and just decided I was done. Then, I got up the next day and made the same decision,” he told me. “For the past 172 days, I’ve had to make that same decision.”

What he said always stuck with me. He made one choice to be healthier, but had to keep building on that choice to make it a habit. He traded a bad habit for a good habit by continuing to make the decision to choose good health. It was difficult, he told me, but he chose option A – to upend his status quo – and kept choosing option A to push his personal boundaries. It worked and he grew into a non-smoker.

Your business is no different. Starting or growing a business takes long-term focus and a long series of good decisions, from hiring good employees to choosing whether to chase that big contract. But it’s the single, daily decisions that add up to that long-term focus.

Let’s use an equipment purchase as an example. For many small drilling contractors, buying a new rig is a huge, but necessary, expense. It’s a big decision. But it can also be a series of small decisions that, over time, have the same result. Today, I’m going to work on assessing my company’s needs. What contracts can we capture with a bigger drill that we can’t now? Are those contracts worth the expense? Tomorrow, I’ll examine my financing options. On Friday, I’ll assess my crew’s skills, and decide whether we need training to maximize the new equipment.

One day, one decision. They add up. Some decisions will be easy. Should I buy a pallet of bentonite chips on discount from my supplier? Some will keep you up at night, like choosing between two good candidates to fill one opening on your crew.

Whether it’s expanding your business, pushing yourself to be more successful or any other worthy goal, a long series of tough decisions can seem daunting. Don’t get wrapped up in what-ifs and if-thens. Start with one smart decision — an easily accomplished goal. Then make another. Wake up each day committed to making at least one smart decision. Send an email to in six months to let me know how it works out.

Stay safe out there, drillers.