Decisions Decisions Decisions

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Tough Decisions Ahead Road Sign

July Blog 2018

I am completely consumed by the impeding completion of my Coaching course. It has been a journey of discovery. A humbling experience where the Titans must fall! It is a relief to draw to the end and taking stock of the learning and what it has done for me. On a broader scale, this exposure will do anything and everything to anybody. The amount of information coming at you, the amount of engagement and self-introspection demanded of you leaves no prisoners. You must shake yourself of all the dirt and dust until you are as fresh as a new day.

What are the high points? Leave your issues at the door. Adult learning is about doing, feeling, sensing, experiencing etc. how we do all those things, the level of openness, the depth of honesty and the degree to which we really experience small and other pleasures is clouded by the prior experiences. They stop adults from being children again and really connecting to their authentic selves. There is no harm in having an honest conversation with oneself. There are no witnesses, just throw away the hurt and shame and sense, experience, feel…let it go to your core.

We make decisions all the time. To save more, to deepen a relationship, to forgive a past transgression, to show more presence in our interactions. Do it! You will start to hear what the other person is saying. You will hear your small children saying some fundamental truths. My 4 months old grandson Neil-Sena talks to all of us. He is very clear what he wants and if you listen, you will hear. I was not aware that babies talk until now, and I have 3 children of my own. They express themselves when they are hungry, uncomfortable, when they are fed up with all the attention we give them. Next time observe the babies in your care and have a wonderful conversation.

As part of the completion of the course, I have learnt to listen. I struggled with this shift in my character, but I had to consciously do it. It takes you across the threshold from good to great. I can say for myself that it has taken me from bad listener to good listener, but I am aiming for great. Before you can ever coach someone else, coaching is about learning the coaching tenets for yourself first. If you cannot coach yourself and resolve to change the course of your life, you will be unable to make that impact on someone else.

One of the most interesting honing exercises we have had to undertake is designing a model. Whether you are an economist like me or an engineer like my husband or a myriad of other professions, models abound. These prototypes help to explain things through the diagrams. Where you would have written a thousand words, a diagram or model form explains things in a matter of a few minutes. Besides, models can be amended with time. When circumstances change, extra loops can be added or deleted to reflect what is obtaining on the ground. I have a background in banking and finance and these sectors are pregnant with formulae and diagrams. So, diagrams come easily as a form of expressing an idea. During this journey, it was not uncommon to default into diagrams similar in nature to ones I have used many times before. As an example. The SWOT diagram comes to mind many times. The demand and supply curves; the possibility frontier or indeed the multiple curves running along a U-shaped curve depicting something or other. It is within these boundary- forming pillars that I have designed my coaching model. I will share it with the readers once it has passed scrutiny by the examiners.

What is holding you back from breaking those barriers that you are experiencing; real or imagined? If they are holding you back, they must be real! Do not speak with yourself. Self-talk is usually negative and very, loud. Speak to a coach. Verbalise your thoughts and you will find that there is not problem there, just some doubts. There is nothing wrong with doubt until it clouds your decision making. Doubt is a risk tool and we all need it. Lets us use doubt to research a little more, reflect a little more and make all the preparations necessary before we make that decision. Let not doubt be a hinderance to achieving your breakthrough. Because of the loud negative self-talk, you will need a firmer voice from outside of you. That voice is of the coach. The coach will not be telling you what to do but will be asking you the questions that neutralise the negative voice within. If you are honest with yourself, determined to achieve your new plans, you will have to smash some myths, which include the famous thought of: ‘I don’t know, or I cannot do this’. Yes, you can; but you must work hard to hear that voice loud and clear!!

Your environment: like the guardian angel that hovers above and around all of us keeping us safe from harm; everyone is given personal armour called beliefs and behaviours which determine what we do and how far we will go in pursuit of our dreams. How realistic or tenable our goals are being bound by what we believe and what we can do about it. If I have never run a mile in my life or have a predisposed chronic condition that hiders such to happen, it would be unrealistic, to plan. No matter how earnestly to one day be an Olympic champion. Our plans are bound by our beliefs and our inherent behaviours to adopt the right attitude. These boundaries show me the onlooker, what is tenable and what is not. If I am not a convert of women’s emancipation, there is no way I will build a team that comprises a well-balanced gender representation. I just don’t believe in it and my behaviour will mimic that accordingly. The message here is that when you make your long-term plans, ensure that your beliefs and the requisite behaviour also reflect what you hold dear.

Decision making: You have the power to make a decision. You just don’t have the power to influence the outcome. But whatever the outcome, therein lies your opportunity.’ There are three key operative words that I will expand from that quote. The power to make decisions is usually central to any human being unless one is in some form of bondage. The power to go left or right. The power to come or go. The power to seize an opportunity or not. When we fail to make a decision, it is worse than making the wrong decision. Anytime one must make a decision, exercise it. It is a chance for learning. Another key word in the quote is ‘the power to influence’. A decision made is like letting a bird in hand to fly away. It will or will not return. Therefore, a decision made gives an outcome over which you have no control. The outcome can be favourable or unfavourable. That is the uncertainty you must live with. The last keyword is ‘opportunity’. We often overlook the value of this word. It is an offer made to you occasionally. Sometimes the offer is made to you directly and sometimes the offer is available to other people as well. Whether it is a singular or several offers, seize it! Opportunities give you a head start, an advantage. Making a decision is your inalienable right. Whether the outcome is favourable to you or not favourable, it is an offer for you to do something else. Whatever happens, when you make decisions, you will not stand still.

In conclusion, be self-aware. There is so much going on around you that you must take account of to enrich the decisions that you make. More importantly, make decisions that reflect your objectives, be consistent. I close with a quite:

‘WHEN YOU REALLY PAY ATTENTION, EVERYTHING IS YOUR TEACHER’ (Unknown)

 

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