October Blog 2018
‘YOU HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE A DECISION. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE POWER TO INFLUENCE THE OUTCOME OF YOUR DECISION. HOWEVER, WHATEVER THE OUTCOME, THEREIN LIES THE OPPORTUNITY’ Beatricenkanza
I coined this saying while having a conversation with my son some time back. Since I started coaching, I seem to have found a way of expressing myself more philosophically than ever before. Whatever the reason, I can only explain as follows: there are three stages to all the decisions we make, and as many decisions as we make, there are three fundamental steps that we take. These three steps can be discreet situations one after another, or they can flow unconsciously from one to the other and to the final step.
This process influences the way we make decisions, when we make them, and how we make them. This process is the source of our frustration at people who seemingly cannot make decisions and is the discovery employers must make when assessing if their employees have the capacity to make decisions on behalf of the organisation. I did not ‘stumble’ on this saying, it came to me while reflecting on something I had read. It is also not quite ‘rocket science’ as there are references to decision making in many management and psychology books.
This decision-making process is not a random, isolated event. It is a discreet but related decision in time that will impact on other decisions that you will have to make in the future. It is only when you look back at your series of decisions that you see a pattern that confirms who you are and what is going on in your life.
I offer a complete coaching program to individuals, couples, groups and corporate executives alike. Having awareness about what triggers what decisions you make and how we arrive at the decision is really intriguing.
We all have the freedom to make decisions about most things in our lives. What we eat for breakfast. Where we want to live, where our children will go to school, what profession or vocation we want to pursue, and endless other opportunities for deciding. Here is the interesting bit. Did any of us have an inkling about the outcomes to the decisions that we made to go to university ‘X’ instead of ‘Y’? Did we ever envisage the outcome of living in area ‘A’ instead of ‘B’? Or indeed the outcome of marrying our high school or university sweet heart instead of waiting a little longer to meet someone else under different circumstances? I am sure there are many such wonders in everyone’s mind right now.
It is however true that a decision was made, which decision was made under very precarious or even careful considerations. The best decision was made and off we went! Life goes on. When life happens, events start to unfold. We are happy and satisfied, we are challenged and unhappy, we are totally out of our comfort zone and sometimes we end up in a disaster area. We all decided but look at what life threw at us. Varying sizes of boulders, balloons or petals. They are all outcomes.
We continue to make other decisions because life goes on! Since we have no control where we end up with the decisions we have made, we can still make up other decisions which may take us as near to where we want to go as possible. Like a ‘decision tree’ example, the idea is to keep going in the direction of where we want to go. It is not about being on the exact road, the exact intersection of where we are going. The expectation is going in the right direction, at the pace that is acceptable. There will be temporary detours and delays, but if we are facing the right direction, that is the only freedom we can claim.
Here is the lesson on the title of this blog…
The difference between those who are successful at life and those who are not is what they do between the detours and delays in their journey. As a coach this is another opportunity to walk you through what is possible. What are you doing? How are spending your time? Are you purposeful? Are you reaching out? Are you making things? How you engage impacts on how you influence your environment. Are you building bridges or digging yourself into an island with no interest in your outside world? Many of us are in the ‘detour’ or ‘delayed’ stage.
What, I hear you ask are the opportunities?
There are many opportunities for doing something. Do, do, and do some more. We come into the world with basic software and hardware to do something. Whatever we do, we can learn to do it well. Some reflection and self-assessment can help you to find something to do and excel at it! Another opportunity is for learning. Learning does not stop. Many of us think learning is at school and when we leave school, yehhh, its freedom time! Nothing can be further from the truth. Learning is life-long. Learning is applying what you see and hear. Learning is correcting your mistakes by doing things differently so that we not only achieve our expectations but do it quicker and better each time. In fact, purposeful learning is what makes us better in all respects. Purposeful learning is what Japan and China are made of. They applied what they know in a better way and impacted the world in the way we now know.
Curiosity, motivation, understanding and applications should be the hallmarks in all our lives. Better understanding is self-explanatory. It eases conflict, makes collaborations easy and the sum is higher productivity. In the process of doing and learning, I sharpen by making better and better decisions. Like most things in life practice makes perfect, even in decision making.
Finally, I hope the saying at the top of the page now makes better sense. Go on and make those decisions, some of them will be the best decisions you will ever make. No decision is not a decision, it’s called stalling. Non-decision is a cop-out and it keeps you standing still. Look around you, there are people who have failed to thrive because they are afraid to make decisions. Answers are there if you listen to the soft voice of your heart. So, make the decision. Deal with the outcomes stoically, intelligently, with compassion and patience to yourself. Do not blame yourself for making any of the decisions you have made. You did well by making them.
Action, action and more action is the steam that keeps you alive. Learning, learning and more learning is the glue that keeps you connected to yourself and others around you. The more learning you have the more people will be connected. Easier decision making comes because learning sharpens you. You have more data to work with.
Make that decision today, take action and learn more. People will provide the support during those detours. You will not be alone, you will be a better person as a result.
Objective setting and planning