How I Make Better Decisions

It was around October 2012 when I made the choice that would shatter my life.

I was a successful Senior Enterprise Account manager for a large tech firm, working with some of the world’s most prominent banks and hedge funds.

The products I was selling were becoming commoditized, profit margins on deals were razor-thin, and my paychecks were shrinking.

I was so caught up in living a luxurious lifestyle that I was not working as hard as I should have been, and my paychecks were shrinking.

I was living an inauthentic life and felt empty inside, but I believed the luxury would eventually fill the void. 

My identity, self-worth, and sense of adequacy became inextricably interwoven with my money and materialism. 

Shrinking paychecks threatened to strip my identity away, leaving me exposed, and one of my greatest fears brought to light:

I was, in fact, unworthy and not enough. 

My vision was sucked into a tunnel, with only two options available.

1. Be honest with myself and my wife at the time and admit that I couldn’t afford the lifestyle anymore and wanted to do something different.


2. Fraudulently exploit my deep knowledge of our partner companies’ service contract policy for my financial gain.

It’s easy to look back and see there were other options; there always are. 

But I was blind to them.

Exploiting our partner company scared me; my inner voice begged me not to do it. 

But it wasn’t as frightening as admitting I couldn’t maintain the lifestyle I’d created. 

It wasn’t as terrifying as confronting and admitting to what I perceived to be my raging inadequacy. 

Choosing to defraud a tech giant in a scheme that lasted almost a year, that the FBI believed was conducted by a team of people, not just one person, was the easy way.

I chose fraud out of fear. 

It was an escape from my perceived pain coupled with the reward of pleasure that my facade would remain intact. 

I’m on the other side of my fraud journey; I was released from prison almost ten years ago.

I express profound gratitude for my life now every day, but not a day goes by when my past choices don’t penetrate my present reality.

Twinges of regret, the stabbing of shame, and remorse are a part of my life, and I accept responsibility for it.

I work with fraud, internal audit, accounting associations, and companies on mindset, ethics, compliance, and the slippery slope of decision-making.

The work is gratifying and has required me to go within and understand why I did what I did so I can help these organizations prevent it from happening in the future.  

One of the realities of my choices is this: 

I was solving for short-term pain and discomfort with no concept of the long-term implications. 

I sacrificed my long-term peace of mind for short-term relief. 

My tunnel vision choice was focused on NOW and the pain I believed I needed to escape. 

When the fraud worked for the 1st time, I avoided the pain and was rewarded with pleasure. 

My unworthiness and inadequacy were protected; life could go on as is. 

Avoidance of pain and the reward of pleasure is a terrible and potent cocktail of our terrible choices.  

There are four critical decision-making factors I didn’t implement when I decided to commit fraud.

These aren’t just for fraud; they apply to all avenues of our shared human experience.


What’s the actual problem I’m solving for?

In my case, it wasn’t shrinking paychecks; that is superficial. 

The actual problem was fear, unworthiness, and a feeling of inadequacy.

Where is the pressure I’m experiencing coming from?

Nobody was putting pressure on me; it was internal. Which means I could have managed it.

As Charles Kettering said,

“A problem well-articulated is a problem half solved.” 


Am I making this decision in a vacuum? 

Am I willing to share what I’m about to do with a trusted advisor, family member, or friend?

If not, doesn’t that speak volumes?

Our willingness to share our actions is a barometer that can’t be ignored. 


It’s easy to say, “I’ve thought of everything,” but how accurate is that?

Rarely are there only two options for any problem, especially an emotional one.

When we articulate the problem well, we can ask these two questions:

Have I identified all my options? 

Have I clearly stated them?


When we clearly state our options, we can run them through these two powerful and straightforward questions:

  1. Have I identified the worst thing that could happen?
  2. How would I feel if that outcome occurred?

Our avoidance of short-term discomfort or pursuit of short-term pleasure causes us to ignore long-term consequences. 

These two questions change that dynamic.

It’s impossible to say what I would have done differently had I exercised this decision-making framework. 

The past is written in the book of time for all eternity, and there’s no cosmic eraser. 

But the blank pages before me? 

I choose what they will say. 

You can be sure I’ll write them with this framework guiding me.

đź“Ł If you’re ready to stand in your power, and unleash your potential the Midlife Mastery Program is for you. Schedule your free call here.