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## No One Knows

I woke up this morning and read the post I was drafting for you, except it was already in my inbox and was written by Seth Godin…well, part of it.

“No one knows the right answer, no one knows precisely what will happen, no one can produce the desired future, on demand.

Some people are better at guessing than others, but not by much.

The people who are supposed to know rejected Harry Potter, Tracy Chapman and the Beatles. The people who are supposed to know sell stocks just before they go up, and give us rules of thumb that don’t pan out.

If you mistakenly believe that there’s someone who knows, you’re likely to decide that whoever that person it is, it’s not you.

And if it’s not you, what a great reason to hesitate.

In fact, the gap isn’t between the people who know and those that don’t. It’s between the people who show up with their best work, and those that hold back. ” – Seth Godin

If success & happiness depends on showing up and doing your best work, why hesitate?

I can’t speak for you, but I know why I have hesitated, shown up and given just 90%, hid out , hardly showed up at all or totally stalled out: Uncertainty.

Although it makes no sense, somehow we tend to stay in unsatisfactory conditions waiting for certainty to show up. We wait for that ‘someone who knows’ to give us the nod or the golden ticket, to tell us that we can proceed.

No one knows.

Your best bet is you, and the golden ticket is already yours.

People tend to find their golden ticket when they decide that the cost to do nothing and continue accepting unsatisfactory conditions is greater than what it will take to shed the comfort of hesitation.

In my experience, shedding hesitation takes two ingredients:

(1) Clarity

(2) Calculation

Clarity – To understand what you want and why you want it.

Calculation – To understand how you will take the first step, and navigate each step thereafter.

In order to maintain momentum you need both a why and how…..and both need to be deeply rooted.

I wonder where our best work could take us if we stopped hesitating.

Where would it take you?

I’d Love to hear from you.

Comment below and tell me how you deal with hesitation and doing your best work.

I am particularly interested in what you have to say because you and I are both keen to show up and do our best work. It’s why you and I are connected after all.

Without hesitation, from the Barefoot Boardroom,

Kelsey

## Making Good Decisions. 5 Things You Need to Consider

True story….a 4am decision.

I am standing at a roulette table in Las Vegas as the numbers spin round and round while a little white ball whizzes round, bounces and is eventually to settle on the winning number.

Moments before the ball selects the winner, I put \$10 on number 11 to win.

The little ball bounces, bounces, and lands on 11. Yeah baby!

Just like that, I won \$370 on a \$10 bet.

But did I make the decision well?

If your success depends on making good decisions there is something you need to know.

The goal of “making good decisions” is often where trouble starts.

When we say we made a good decision, we often mean that the outcome of our choice/decision was a good one. Positive result=Good decision.

The first problem with targeting “making a good decision”, is that a good decision is an opinion based upon an outcome. We cant actually make good decisions from the point in time when the decision is before us.

We can however make decisions well….and here’s the trick of it.

Making decisions well is what we, as knowledge workers must do in order to better our odds at making a good decision.

One can make a good decision based purely upon chance.  Just like I did in Las Vegas.

Making decisions well involves procedure, aligns with intentional, considered outcomes and serves to eliminate chance.

When I am focused on success, I try to eliminate chance. I focus on making decisions well.

The second issue with saying we want to “make a good decision” is that this approach more often than not results in an increased sense of uncertainty around the decision, overwhelm when faced with choice and erosion of confidence when deadlines hit or as time passes.

Whereas, when the goal is making the decision well, our focus shifts to decreasing uncertainty, reducing overwhelm as we systematically process options and our confidence in the decisions we make increases.

So how can you make decisions well?

Five things to consider:

(1) Understand your risk profile. Be real about your personal biases around what you deem to be risky or not a risk at all. Remember we all have different profiles and risk tolerances affected by our experience and circumstance. I’ve seen decision making come off of the rails because biases around risk have not been observed.

(2) Avoid analysis paralysis. Set reasonable deadlines and draw rational lines in the sand….how deep into detail do you truly need to dig? In my experience analysis paralysis is usually a sign that you don’t want to make the decision because it is hard and the outcome might not be desirable for all ….so you are searching for ways to support your position. Not a great example of making a decision well when you’ve already pre-determined the way you will go.

(3) Understand the outcome you want to achieve and how it relates to your longer-term plans. Never make a decision just to ‘get it over with’, make a decision to reach a desired outcome. When we focus on ‘making good decisions’ we are focused on the short term and can easily stray from our longer term dreams. Keep the end in mind.

(4) Understand why you want that outcome. Disaster strikes when we set goals we have not deeply considered. Ever felt like you’ve wound up somewhere and can’t figure out how or why you wanted that thing in the first place? I have and I get it, but it can be overcome with some deep digging, consideration and thoughtful intention setting.

(5) Get clear. Pause or even stop if you have to. Consider the options and the decision using a process. Create a clear compass for yourself so that you can quickly identify options that align with who you are, what you want and where you are headed. (Sometimes opportunity knocks but once, you need to be ready to say yes to the right opportunity for you and more importantly, no to the things that will not move you farther and faster toward your goals)

If your mind is what makes you money, consider how you use that tool to succeed.

Do you ever get caught trying to make good decisions when you should be focused on making decisions well?

I’ve made the same mistake myself…focusing on making good decisions….I’ll see you in the comments below….

Tell me what you think. Do you ever get caught trying to make good decisions when you should be focused on making decisions well?

## How to Make Work and Holidays Mix. Return Refreshed, Not Overwhelmed.

It is 2/3 of the way thorough summer up here in North America and most offices I call or people I e-mail have gone on holiday. Checked out. No reply…..unless it is an auto-reply, which classifies as a non-reply when I am trying to get something done and the other party is having a party.

In this e-mail I am going to share with you two questions and responses with resources to support you in both taking a real break and then coming back and maintaining all of that great zen you amassed when you chilled out for a few.

Here’s two questions for you:

Is it ok to grant yourself permission to slow down during the summer or on holidays?

If you do slow down, how to you get back up to speed before September comes and splashes you in the face with full inboxes and a flurry of meetings?

My response to the first: Slowing down at any time is permissible given that you are able to adequately address each item on my list of holiday questions that demand answers…..see the bottom of this e-mail for the essential downloadable Q&A. It is a little something I’ve developed over time for my own use…..and I am in love with what it does for me.

Remember that granting permission is different than making excuses. Checking out because stuff got hard or uncomfortable is a whole different bag than checking out because it is important to re-energize every once in a while. In each of our hearts we know the difference, be careful of the duck out versus the check out…..it is a trap I have fallen into and I can tell you that coming back after a break of the ducking out variety feels much worse than simply facing the thing that I was trying to avoid has ever felt.

No matter if you live in North America where summer is in full effect or elsewhere on this great green globe, consider your next break now and take the time to make it a graceful exit into relaxation by working on the Q&A (you can even use it for weekend planning).

Now, my response to the second question: Re-entry into the great atmosphere of work and daily life can be a jarring one, or a smooth one, depending on how you plan for it. Here’s how I have handled it and how I have adapted since having more kids and more businesses.

I used to escape fully, no email, no phone, nothing. Though while on holiday this was fab, it was a real bummer to return to work, mountains of emails, voicemails full and a lot of small issues that turned into bigger ones while I neglected my responsibilities for the week.

I went to the other end of the spectrum next and kept my phone on, emails flowing and would essentially treat my holiday as though I was not on holiday at all. I was working with a different view out of the window and a lot more frustration as I tried to print, sign, conference from foreign places on the go. Not to mention the frustration of those with me who were sick of my work interrupting their holiday too. Although I returned to work all caught up as if I had never left, it was as though I had never left. I was not rested nor relaxed, I was disappointed that I missed my own holiday.

Now, I mix my business with pleasure, or pleasure with my business, depending on the time of day.

I just returned from two weeks out west with my husband and three kids and it was the best holiday I have had yet, here’s how I did it:

(1) I set a hard-core holiday email policy and communicated it. The auto responder let people know that emails received in by absence will be recycled and only email received upon my return will be viewed. This way the real work will be sent when I get back and all of the things that will become obsolete or random cc-ed emails will not have to be sifted through for hours on the first Monday back.

(2) I set up and communicated work time on the road with my hubby. I had three days where I worked half day (5:30 am to 11:30 am) and one day when I worked 5:30 am to 8:30 am. I set up babysitters for two of the half days and made plans for my hubby to hang with the kids for the other times I had work booked. I got 21 hours of work done and the kids and hubby effectively missed me for less than half of these hours because they were either asleep or had other activities planned.

(3) I told people who needed to know that I would be away long before I was going on holidays, so they had time to plan. I did not tell anyone I would be working at all during my holidays so that when they did hear from me it was a surprise rather than an expectation.

(4) I prepped my home and office for returning even before I left. Think lasagna in the freezer for dinner the first night back and arriving home to a clean house, lawn mowed even. Putting a few plans in place before leaving makes a big difference to how you feel getting home, overwhelmed or overjoyed.

Many of us are guilty of summertime thinking and letting things slide when it is nice outside or when we are on holiday. The issue occurs when letting it slide results in a landslide of overwhelm or lost opportunity. Imagine how far ahead you could get by taking just a few steps now to be ready for Back to School or Back to Work.

For me, all the difference is in clear, intentional planning and then acting on the plan. I love my freedom time, road trips and family time….and I need them all in order to do my best work.

Do you have tips, tools or habits that you use to make the most of time off and the best of getting back into action after being away?

I want to hear your stories of vacations that went well or whack, returning to work rested or still restless. How do you manage holiday time? I’ll meet you in the comments HERE.

Until next week – when I will be diving into the subject of RISK…..

Here’s to holidays…and graceful returns,

PS – Have a question on the subject of risk that you would like answered? Submit it here now and I’ll respond in my next post.

PPS- Be sure to see below for events coming up and as always, my free resources and links to things I find that I think you’ll love…..and the essential holiday Q&A I promised too.

You never know who could use it.
Be the one they thank.
 Here are my weekly freebies and favourites….. Tunes I am loving for summer relaxing TRACK 1 & TRACK 2 Good little list from Entrepreneur Magazine of 9 Success Habits that cost nothing. Read it HERE Random thing created by humans….from the 15K Segway to the \$500 THIS The Holiday Q4A I mentioned above can be downloaded HERE For the hard to buy for…these remind me of my trip out west….and my love of books. CHECK IT

## Cash Flow Fixes and Failures Made Easy

Most people who have never had businesses of their own think that owning a business automatically means you have dough.

“Sure, you can get the check because you can just write if off.”

Seriously?

Do these people understand that having a business is the most delicate balancing act of cash management that anyone can likely undertake? That the cash we all have is as precious as air itself and that writing things off does not mean free money?

When I was at MBA school all of these professors would say ‘cash is king’ as religiously as I tell my children to wash their hands…..consistently and with purpose.

I was paying attention at school but never really understood the seriousness of this message until cash in my first business became more than king….it became air….without it we were going to die.

I remember going in to my amazing accountant and saying “This year end looks awesome! We made some good money, eh? But, where is all the cash?”. She replied “Well, those financial statements who what we did but there is no cash, and actually we need \$600,000 by Friday.”

WTF was an understatement.

I knew how to read financial statements and my MBA brain got too caught up in what they read to be paying attention to the cash…..and truthfully I knew the cash was running out and I was kind of avoiding asking the question because I did not want to address it. Ignorance is bliss – or so they say. Until ignorance takes the shape of a six figure number and then ignorance made me sick to my stomach and run for the closest waste paper basket.

Cash is king.

Cash can also be air.

So, here is what I know from learning things the hard way:

1. Always, always, always know how much cash you have in your account.
2. Take that cash in your account number and subtract all of the payments you have in the mail. That is cash or cheques which are in envelopes travelling to their rightful owners by way of a lovely post man or mistress.
3. Figure out your ‘burn rate’ – this is how much money it costs you to keep your business running a month. Keep this number as close to low as you can. Map out your expenses on a calendar.
4. Never assume you are going to get paid when you think you will – add at least a two week buffer for receipt of earned revenue.
5. Invest interest free when you can in building your business. Try and grow organically when possible.
6. If you must leverage (borrow), work with a lender where you can speak face to face with the decision maker on your file. You might need to rely on a good relationship one day.
7. Ask for terms on everything. Stretch your money out to build your business, hold on to it for as long as you can.
9. Balance Sheets (B/S) stand for ‘bull sh*t’ when you are in a cash crunch. Income statements (I/S) are called ‘imaginary statistics’ when the cash runs out. Stop listening to your financial statements alone to measure your business health – look to your cash as well and often.
10. Cash is like a tide – it goes out and in and out and in…..do not panic when it is out, but understand well how and when it is coming back in and always be conservative. It might be a full moon kind of month when forces outside of your control keep the flow out for longer than usual.

I am working on structure for the financial secrets component of my course right now, so I could not help but share a few of my tips with you now, before the course launches in September.

Cash is something we seldom talk about because it is so personal and a topic so close to the heart  of almost every entrepreneur who knows all too well the feeling that overcomes when you are short on cash…..I would never wish this feeling on anyone. Well, there is this one guy…but aside from him, no one (I’ll tell you that story another time when I talk about partnerships).

The truth is that when we are worried about the cash position of our business we are not working on our business – we are distracted and acting from a place of lacking and fear and this is never, ever good.

It is true that when I am in the flow of my work, my business and what I do to add value to people’s lives or my business, then the cash flows too. When I am in fear and forced ignorance, nothing works nearly as well and the flow stops altogether.

So, if you are ignoring your finances – this is permission to be fearful and not want to do something about it but to pull up your socks and get to the truth of it. Trust me, you and your business will be better for it no matter what you find.

With trust and truth,
Kelsey

PS- I want to take this amazing opportunity to welcome some new countries to my readership….growing like a wild weed and loving it…..welcome to those of you in Portugal and Qatar! So happy to have you along with us for the adventure of life and business together. Keep the share fest going….spread my love and insights amongst your friends who have or want to start businesses that support them in the amazing life they want to have.

with love…… xo

Like most funeral talk, I prefer to keep it short.

So, this post will be potent and petit.

I almost died once.

One time that I know of….I think we all narrowly escape death many times without ever knowing it but this time I had a high probability of death and I knew it. It was cancer, rare, deadly and does not respond to chemo or radiation…it was up to the knife.

I was scared.

Scared is a coward way of saying I rocked on my kitchen floor sobbing.

Because I am a bit of a controller when it comes to planning parties and creating atmospheres and memories, it occurred to me that I ought to put some thought into my funeral and plan it all out so that it would be exactly as I wanted it and no one could go picking some song I hate or serving potato salad (also hate).

I made a list of five songs to be played at the funeral.  I won’t share them because it will ruin the surprise.

I made a list of the desserts I would like served at the reception after. A mix of family traditional squares, cookies and tarts.

Then, I decided that I ought to write my own obituary/eulogy. Odds are that those closest to me will be too emotional to come up with something magic within those first 48 hours or so after I died….so I might as well draft the words that the last thoughts of me would float away on.

Out of respect for my family an so as not to ruin what might be one of the best pieces of writing I have ever done I will only reference singular words which appear in the text…..but it should be enough for our purposes here today:

Friend
Confidant
Lover
Tender Mother
Creator
Prankster
Thoughtful
Truthful
…and the list goes on.

After I wrote out how I wanted to be remembered I reflected on how much like ‘me’ those paragraphs of prose were. Is this the person I am living out my life as today? Is this really who I am….or could it be that this is the person I want to be? Do the people who know me best see these things in me….do I show them?

Another drop me to the floor moment.

We are all dying. It is just the pace at which we are going that differs.

So what is it that you want to be remembered as? Who are you and are you living it, showing it? What would be said at the celebration of your life if it were to happen this weekend? What about if it were in 1 year, 15, 45?

It occurred to me that living by my eulogy….with each decision and moment, living up to that which will be printed as my obituary – this is the life I choose, I desire, I shall live.

What would life be like if we lived our eulogy every day. If we were that person and let it show at all times? @kelseyramsden

I share this with you because it is intimate and scary and vulnerable and true and because we don’t all get a chance to live through near dying soon enough to see the opportunity that presented itself to me……to live my obituary every day.

I also share it for totally selfish reasons shrouded in a gift for a friend. I am going to forward this post to my best friend and ask her to write her eulogy for me. I will be of no mind to do it if ever she were to leave this fine earth before me and it would be great to have it pre-arranged….and because I want to pass along the gift that living ones obituary can give.

Although this is a downright inner-circle of trust post to you, I give you full and free right to forward this on to your best friend, brother, sister….whomever. It’s not really about me in the end….it is about you and the people you love…and the life you have been given to live….and how you want to live it.

In the spirit of living out each day as if our eulogy were being written upon it…..
Kelsey

PS- A tremendous thank you for the overwhelming outpouring of help from my post asking for interviewees. Our phones and inboxes were overcome with a tidal wave of people wanting to share your stories and ideas and experiences. I am just so thankful for the amazing group of people I get to share my insights with each week and for what is going to be an epic three weeks of interviews.

## Should You Quit Your Job?

When was the last time you considered this question: Is this my life?

The life you wanted to live when you were 20 and looking forward at your career with open anticipation for what the world might have in store?

It probably is not, and in all honesty I hope it is not the life you imagined when you were 20 because you likely did not have enough life experience yet to know what it is that you really wanted.

Perhaps you knew you wanted a child and a white car and a husband that brought you flowers but did you know the kind of environment you wanted to be surrounded by at work or the kind of best friend you would need in times of turmoil or even the point at which you draw the line on giving and taking?

Odds are that in your deepest heart of hearts you now know a lot of these things. The hard truth is that many of the things we come to know about ourselves are never acted upon.

We start out in our careers when we don’t yet ‘know’ – chart a course from there and then, despite changing seas and signs, neglect to check or re-correct the course. So, when we land on the distant shore of our career, we find we are not where we want to be.

Is your career as you want it?

As Canada’s #1 Female entrepreneur two years in a row you might assume that my angle on this one is to try and convert you to quit your job and start your own business. Your assumption is only half correct….here’s why.

A number of us in careers want to stay in our careers and just need to make some changes to move toward our ideal place in the sun. The rest of us do need to quit. Which group are you in?

Answer these 10 questions to find out:

1. Have you ever felt that you had something unique to offer the world which you have not shared with them yet?
2. Do you feel that your truest self can show up for work each day?
3. When you leave work each day, do you feel that you are one step closer to a personal goal?
4. When you think of your life 10 years from now, are you positioned in the right place today to be able to get there?
5. Are you surrounded by people who challenge and inspire you in your career?
6. If you sat beside a stranger t a dinner party who turned out to be in the same line of work as you are, would you talk work all night or switch seats?
7. If time travel were possible and your future self met you at the breakfast table tomorrow morning, what career advice would she give you?
8. Do you know how much money you need versus how much you want – would knowing that information change what you do for work now or looking forward?
9. Does your career define you and are you happy with that definition?
10. If the emotion of fear were stripped from you, what are the top three things about your current career you would change?

If you answered the above 10 questions very honestly I applaud you! It can be scary taking a true account of our lives. Sometimes letting sleeping dogs lie is an easier path, unless of course the dog is going to wake up very upset that you let it sleep through it’s best opportunity to live out a great remainder of its life.

I am often told by clients and those who approach me after I deliver a talk that they just want to feel happy. That they feel dissatisfied and like they are not living the full life they want to live.

You see, one of the key elements of happiness is knowing deeply and truly that you are where you want to be or at the very least, that you are taking action to move toward that feeling.

One of my favorite quotes goes something like this: If you want something you have never had, you are going to have to do something you have never done in order to get it.

For many of us, the thought of change sounds like risk…..the idea of something different brings up the possibility of failure more than it does the possibility of success…..this is why so few of us wake up one fine day and begin to move toward our ideal career or life. It is the possibility of not achieving what we set out to do that keeps is stagnant. Illogically we stay unhappy for fear of being unhappy.

I wanted to write this article and share if with you because I have found myself entering a new era of life over the past two years and for this new era I am so very grateful. I never would have become my fulfilled self in mind and body if it were not for having asked myself the above 10 questions. More than anything, I hope that you take he time for yourself to take a look at where you are at ever now and then and choose to adjust your course for where you want to be, who you want to be, your truest self whom is deeply fulfilled and happy.

Isn’t that what we all want after all?

In the spirit of possibility, fulfillment and the future,
Kelsey

….come Tweet with me
@kelseyramsden

PS- If you think this list of 10 quick questions could help your friend, colleague or sibling with wading through the waves of a change in era, a career choice or the decision to find happiness please forward this e-mail on to him or her. I am a fan of making new friends….and a bigger fan of helping them.

PPS- If this helped you, please pass along to someone you know who would dig on my insights too…..they can join my newsletter of big brainwaves for free at www.kelseyramsden.com

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