Month: August 2015

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.

 

I made a good decision.

 

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?

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,
Interesting Image

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.

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Spotlight
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