The Decisions You Make Now Won’t Be Right Forever… Make Sure You Can Be Flexible When You Need To

Tom and I rented an apartment in the East Village off airbnb (Great site!) for a wedding we’re attending this weekend. We figured, how wonderful would it be to feel like we’re living in New York, within 4 blocks of one of our best friends? Then, several other friends in town for the wedding jumped on the weekend apartment rental bandwagon and it became even more fantastic of a story. How great is it that we can all pretend to be neighbors in one of the greatest cities in the world for a long weekend?

I had a few key considerations to make: Cost, Location, and Amenities. These sound like pretty much the same considerations one makes when selecting a hotel. What I missed were the soft amenities that a hotel affords – things like irons, hair dryers, shampoo, an elevator.

We have a 1 bedroom apartment on the 4th floor of a walk-up only. It’s a really fantastic location, and we got a really fantastic price. I however thought that we could afford to skimp on some of the amenities (like an elevator), and altogether neglected to consider the others (hair dryer and iron) in lieu of a killer location and an even better price.

This is where I made two key errors.

What you think you can compromise on now may not be what you actually can compromise on when the time comes.

  • Elevator: Back in May, I injured my foot. This amounts to my having to severely limit my walking. While it’s a lot better now than it was back then, I’m still in physical therapy and probably shouldn’t be walking up and down 4 flights of stairs for a latte (like I want to right now). What seemed like a luxury has now become a high priority need.
  • Iron: I didn’t even think about it. Tom on the other hand now has to take his shirt to the cleaner for pressing because I failed to consider if we even needed said amenity.  I assumed that because I had rented an apartment in Paris once that had an iron, this apartment would also.
  • Hair Dryer: Carry-on luggage is a big deal for me, and I had to bring one with me since the apartment didn’t have one on hand. With proper planning, I was able to be flexible and work around my assumption that the apartment would have one. However, if I didn’t consider the potential error in advance, I would have had to invest more here for the same convenience.

Most decisions require you to take a stand – “Yes”, “No”, “I want this”, “I think we should go in this direction”… but more often than not, something happens to force you to re-evaluate your decision. Take that opportunity to understand if there are other components of your overall decisioning strategy that need to be revisited, plan for contingencies, and create acceptable workarounds.

Don’t let the excitement of the opportunity cloud your prioritization of needs.

This was my big learning. I focused on proximity and the convenience of location, not the convenience of my personal experience. I also completely missed any probability that an elevator would be necessary. Just because I had been able to do it once before did not mean I would be able to do it again. Take a step back before you make a decision that you cannot create an acceptable workaround for and make sure you are willing to accept the risk.

Once in a while, you’ve made a decision that there is no workaround for, like my current lack of elevator, and suffer through it. On the next go around, hopefully you will have learned from your mistake.

I’m not saying you always need to take the elevator, but having the option to is a smart way to hedge your bet.

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