Decision-making is tough at the best of times. But making a decision that goes against the norms of society, popular opinion, or the beliefs of those closest to you, can feel downright impossible. Whether you’re deciding to leave a successful career to follow your true passions, or choosing not to have children despite the pressures to start a family, there will always be people around you who will tell you that the choice you are making is wrong.
But just because your choices don’t fit the traditional mould, doesn’t mean that you should be too afraid to do what is right for you. Here’s four steps that can help you make those big decisions that go against the grain.
1. How does it make you feel?
Imagine making the difficult decision and taking the unpopular plunge. Picture yourself in the scenario and then ask yourself how it makes you feel. Make sure that when you do this self-reflection exercise you’re as honest with yourself as possible. You may be surprised by the feelings that come up.
2. What does your future look like?
When making any decision, it’s important to look forward and have a vision of what your life will be and also what the implications of that choice will be, as opposed to simply focusing on how the decision will impact you right now. Try to picture what your life will be like in five, even ten, years’ time. Where will you be financially, geographically, emotionally? Will the decision you make today have a positive or negative impact on your life?
3. What are your regrets?
Imagine yourself as an old person looking back on your life and reflecting on it. Will you have regrets later on about a decision you make today? Will you have bigger regrets if you don’t make the tough decision that goes against the norm. It’s sometimes easy to get caught up in your feelings and emotions, but taking a reflective look on your life can help you to get some perspective.
4. Who is in control?
The most important thing to remember when making any decision that may go against the grain, is that it is you, and only you, that will have to live your life, so why should you allow others to control it? Make sure that you’re prioritising your own happiness and investing in a life that you want to live. And remember, that if people truly care about you, they will support you in your decision even if it means your life will be different to the one they imagined for you.
Hopefully these steps will make it a bit easier to make that decision that goes against the grain. If your decision is about starting a new career, then watch our free masterclass 'How To Create A New Career Where You Thrive'. It will outline the steps you need to take, and make your decision a little bit easier. You can watch it here.
Remember it is never too late to create a life you love!
Having the right answers is important, but having the ability to ask the right questions, well that is invaluable. If you want to be a advance your career, find balance in life, get an employee to perform or simply helping your kids to become the best they can be learning how to ask powerful questions is right up there with the most vital skills you need to have. So, what is a powerful question? In short, it’s simply a question that promotes deeper thinking. Whether you’re trying to encourage better performance from yourself, or those around you, it’s a good idea to start practising the use of powerful questions in your everyday work life and personal relationships. Here are seven tips to help you develop this invaluable skill.
ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS
Asking questions that are easily answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ don’t create any conversation and rarely yield any results. Rather opt for open-ended questions that invite reflection and start a discussion, as these are far more likely to help develop interesting insights. Questions that promote deeper thinking and accountability are also vital to promoting personal growth. Spend some time thinking about these questions in advance, to ensure that you get the most out of your question time.
GET BEHIND THE ASSUMPTIONS
Every decision is based on assumptions and if you don’t understand what these are, you could end up making a bad decision. Your logic may be sound, but if it’s based on faulty assumptions, your conclusions are bound to be wrong! That’s why it’s always important to dig deep, asking questions that reflect on what is being assumed about a situation or scenario before deciding. In a business situation, you might want to extend this question to your colleagues or employees too. Remember that it’s always important to get both (or all) sides of any story before drawing conclusions.
Keep the questions coming. Rather than commenting on every question you ask, try to follow-up your initial question with other questions that dig deeper or that relate back to their previous answers. This means that if or when you do offer some advice, it is likely to be far more informed and worthwhile. Remember to put your judgements aside and simply be curious to find out their thoughts and feelings, rather than putting your own spin on things.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Always remember to keep your questions, short, simple and straightforward. You don’t want people worrying about deciphering your question, when they should be spending the time thinking about their answers.
GET COMFORTABLE WITH SILENCE
In today’s world, it has become a natural reaction to feel uncomfortable with silence. But when asking powerful questions, it is this quiet time after the question has been asked that promotes deeper thinking that leads to real insights. When asking these questions, you’ll need to actively refrain from filling silence and rather embrace it as time to practise your listening skills. Don’t bother speaking any words of encouragement or rephrasing the question, simply look on with supportive eyes and wait for them to come up with their own answers.
HELP PEOPLE DISCOVER THEIR OWN INSIGHTS
The best leaders ask rather than tell. By asking the right questions you can encourage people to discover the answers for themselves, something which is far more impactful and memorable than simply being told the answer. By questioning people’s statements, they will be able to come to their own realisations, while encouraging them to get to the heart of the matter. In this way, you’re able to encourage people to find their own and perhaps unique solutions.
Not only does note-taking show the person you’re speaking with that you respect them, but it also allows you the opportunity to look back on the discussion and discover new questions that you haven’t yet thought about asking.
These are a few things that you can do to learn how to ask powerful questions. Would you like someone to practice on? Come and join our Facebook group TAC She Sisterhood, a community full of likeminded women on a journey to create a life and career they love. Come over and say hi!
Have a wonderful day.
Whether you think you are creative or not, everyone can work to develop their creative thinking skills to improve the quality of their ideas and level of innovation.
You don't have to be a creative genius to be able to think outside the box, you just need to do more things that help stimulate creative thinking. As with all things, it’s simply a case of practice makes perfect. That’s why it’s so important to exercise your creative muscles to ensure they’re performing at their best. This is especially important as creative and innovative thinking is a skill that is highly valued in today’s modern workplace, regardless of industry. So, how do you enhance your creativity? Here are our top five ways to improving your own creative thinking and innovation skills.
1. Read, read and read some more
Reading, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, industry articles or blogs, is one of the best ways to get your creative juices flowing! Try to read up on a variety of topics, so that you broaden your horizons and are forced to think outside of your usual realms. You’ll be surprised how often seemingly unrelated topics can help you come up with creative solutions to your own problems.
2. Make time to be creative
It may sound simple, but one of the greatest ways to improve your creative thinking is to actually schedule time for it. Living in such a busy world of to-do-lists and deadlines, we’re often so caught up in our day-to-day tasks that we don’t allow ourselves an opportunity to stop and simply think. Take time to take a quiet walk, stare out your window, or any other quiet activity that allows you the space to set your mind free. If you have employees or co-workers, encourage them to do the same or set up a think day/think hour specifically focused on doing absolutely nothing but creative thinking. Then arrange for a brainstorm where you can share your thoughts and ideas with each other.
3. Change it up
Changing up your environment often helps prompt the mind to think along new pathways. So, if you’re looking to generate new ideas, perhaps it’s worth setting up an off-site meeting, or arranging for a teambuilding retreat somewhere new. Feeling blocked? Step away from your desk or computer and take a quick walk around the block. You’ll be surprised at how a different setting can give you a totally different perspective.
4. Get moving
Exercise is good for us in many ways, but did you know that exercise can also promote creative thinking? So, next time you’re feeling creatively blocked, it might be a signal to pull on those running shoes or to grab your yoga mat.
5. Watch what you eat
Too many people don’t understand the connection between the mind and the food we eat. But studies have proven that the healthier you eat, the better your cognitive processes become and the easier it is for you to think creatively and problem solve. Just like an engine, start giving your body healthier fuel and you’ll be amazed by how much better your mind runs!
What do you do to bring out your creative thinking, leave us a comment and let us know. Or join our Facebook group, TAC She Sisterhood, it is our community of likeminded people each and everyone of us on a journey to create a life and career we love. Hope to see you there!
Why the ‘why’ is important.
Great leaders, whether an individual or a brand, are those who are able to inspire people to take action. But what’s their secret? How are some people able to achieve this, while others simply can’t? It all comes down to one simple thing; having a strong belief about why you are doing what you’re doing. Not convinced? Here’s why the ‘why’ is so important.
In a business, everyone knows what the business does, some know how they do it, but very few know why they do it. At this point, you’re probably thinking, “to make money of course”. Wrong! Sure, everyone needs to make money, but this is simply a result of what you do, not the actual reason why. The why is far more important. It should be the basis for all that you do; your underlying motivation.
For inspiring people or businesses, their ‘why’ is almost always rooted in making an impact or a desire to create a better world. When applying this thinking to your own life, try to think of your big ‘why’. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you make the choices that you do? Often the answers to these types of questions are not that clear cut. In today’s busy world it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day humdrum, never taking the time to reflect on your motivations or set important goals for yourself. But if you hope to find your true purpose in life and in business, this is exactly what you have to do!
When it comes to finding your ‘why’, clarity is key. If you’re clear on why you do what you do, it makes it easier for other people to buy into it too. Having clarity is what enables great business leaders to effectively communicate their core purpose that exists beyond their product and service. This purpose needs to be communicated first to your employees, and then to your customers. It is this clarity in purpose that inevitably inspires people to follow you or to buy your products.
So, what happens once you’ve discovered your ‘why’? Then the hard work really starts. Sticking to your guiding principles and purpose no matter what, can be a challenge but is vital if you’re going to become a leader. Nobody is going to buy into a leader who can’t even stand by their own beliefs. Nurture an unwavering discipline, so that you stay true to your values despite the challenges that may crop up along the way. This is the only way that anybody will actually believe what you say and do and trust you enough to become a follower or customer. That’s why very action you take should reflect this core belief. For a business this means that all your products and services, marketing and PR, culture and employees, should always be in line with your core purpose.
HANNA GIRLING, wife, mother, business owner, mindset coach, sport enthusiast and forever an optimist.