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Why Taking Your Time With a Decision Is So Important

When there’s a decision to be made, the natural response is to make it quickly. We want things to be as perfect as possible. We want to correct problems right away. The only problem is that a fast decision often ends up being the wrong decision.

At least it has been that way for me.

Of course there are times when a fast decision must be made. You don’t want to stand in front of a car speeding at you in the crosswalk. You’ll either go one way or the other quickly to get out of the way, right? You won’t just stand there and debate which way of escape has better long-term merits as you get thrown into the windshield of the vehicle.

In the business world, we must focus more on the long-term merits a decision may provide. Instead, and I count myself included in this, we take the emergency approach to decision-making because we settle for the short term benefits.

The Difference Between Confidence and Skill

The reason why we settle for the fast answer so often is because of our confidence. We’ve had success before and we know that we can have success again. The only problem is that these causes you and I to believe that we already know everything.

Fate has a funny way of proving that perspective wrong.

As we gain experience in what we do professionally, we gain confidence. We assume that this means we’re also gaining skills, but this isn’t necessarily the case. We also become afraid of three little words: I don’t know.

Strangely enough, the group of people who tend to make the best and most consistent decisions over time are those who are willing to admit that they don’t know something. That admission forces them into what I call “research mode” so strategic thinking can happen.

In other words, confidence helps with survival. Strategic thinking skills help create better long-term decisions.

Take Your Time and Don’t Be So Sure About an Outcome

When mistakes happen, it’s not because there was a lack of skill or experience. It’s because there was too much overconfidence. Sometimes it is better to slow down, assume that you’re not sure about the circumstances of a decision that needs to be made, and approach the situation as if it was the first time you’d ever encountered it.

What separates the good from the best is the ability to apply that mindset on a consistent basis. I know it’s far too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you know what is best. Maybe you do. But what happens if you do not? What risks will you face needlessly because a fast decision was made instead of a good one?

I’ve learned to slow down. To not treat every situation as if it were a life-threatening scenario. Even when my gut instinct is to go in one direction, I slow things down to openly and honestly examine the other solutions that might be in play. Sometimes I go with my gut. Sometimes I’ve discovered better solutions by going against my gut instincts.

In doing so, the short-term and long-term needs I have can be met.

How do you approach the decision-making process? I’d love to hear about how you slow down the process to ensure you’re taking the best possible solution out of every scenario.

When You Must Deal With a Liar, Here’s What You Do

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment: we all lie. The average person will tell at least one or two lies every day. There are no exceptions to this rule, but there are some people who tend to lie more often. People who are in a position of negotiation will lie half of the time if they have a motive or opportunity to do so.

But it doesn’t take a negotiation to encourage a lie. It’s done so that the upper hand can be obtained. I know it feels great to hit someone with a zinger they don’t expect, even if it is a lie. Afterward, however, the lie doesn’t feel so good. Because of this feeling of regret, the assumption is made that everyone has that feeling.

They do not. So instead of trying to get better about finding out what is a lie, I’ve decided to work with liars on a different level. Here’s what I do.

#1. Encourage sharing. People want to feel like they’re equal to one another. That’s why when someone shares a secret, others also want to share their own secret as well. That sharing process helps to level the playing field. I encourage sharing by offering specific and unanticipated information to the other person or party. This creates a transparent response and reduces the likelihood of a devastating lie coming up later on.


#2. Ask good questions. I consider myself a pretty honest person. I’m not going to go out of my way to lie. I’m also not going to go out of my way to divulge information to someone who may not need it. A lie by omission is still a lie, no matter how we might try to justify it. In order to get the complete story, I’ve found that pessimistic questions tend to elicit a more honest response. Many people find it difficult to negate a true statement that is offered in the form of the question.


#3. Listen for an answer. Ever notice how a politician will receive a question about their thoughts on taxes and wind up discussing something about foreign policy instead? Dodging a question is a skill that some have become experts at doing during a conversation. This is a tough lie to detect because many listeners don’t notice a dodged question. Instead of being impressed by an eloquent sidestep, listen for an actual answer to your question. If you don’t get one, then do what I do – ask the question again.


#4. Stay away from privacy concerns. It’s important to have privacy, but I’ve found that discussing confidentiality issues can actually cause people to lie more. This is because people become suspicious if all you’re doing is talking about privacy concerns. If you offer a large amount of protection, people are more likely to lie. If you offer no confidentiality, people are also more likely to lie. So if you need to mention privacy issues, do so briefly, but then just move on with your conversation.


#5. Inspect for leaks. The truth we need will often come out in other ways when dealing with a professional liar. We can detect information from the questions they ask, their body language, and even in a joke here or there. When a leak is detected, a savvy liar might have done that on purpose to throw you off. I’ve found that leaks tend to be genuine and honest because they are often mindless.


Dealing with a liar is never fun. This is why I’ve worked to remove as much lying as possible from my life. Yet sometimes there is a need to be involved with a liar in a conversation, a business deal, or in some other way. These are my methods – what are yours? I’d love to hear how you confront lying when you discover it.

5 Reasons To Consider Recovery Instead of Endurance

Busy. We’re all pretty busy these days.

Sometimes it feels like the work never ends. You’ve got to earn a paycheck. Then you’ve got to get the dishes and laundry done at home. By the time you crawl into bed, you’re feeling almost sub-human. The alarm goes off sooner than it should in the morning and each tomorrow becomes a repeat of each day before.

I know it’s so easy to think these repetitive days need to be endured, like running a first marathon. Except the secret to success is really in how you can recover instead of how long you can stay on your feet.

Here are some reasons why it might be wise to consider slowing down to concentrate on recovery.

#1. You are multitasking more than you realize. Each time you switch tasks, you’re consuming energy that your body needs. Something as simple as checking your phone while “taking a break” is you not taking a break. I recommend using resources that can let you track how many times you log into your phone during the day [or check Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram] to see just how busy you are during your down times.


#2. Staying active doesn’t give your mind a break. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing you can do. It gives your mind a vacation from the responsibilities you’ve got going on during the day. I’ve found that after a period of “nothingness,” I start to getting the itch to do something. That’s my cue to know that it’s time to get started on something new.


#3. We are all connected to each other. Humans may be social creatures, but there is also value in spending some time on your own. Being around other people also means bearing their burdens. How many times have you listened to a co-worker vent about their home life? Or had an employee complain about their boss to you? Or read some random venting status update on social media? I’ve found that even unplugging for just 90 minutes can provide the right amount of relief.


#4. Work and home are blended like never before. How many times do you check your work email at home? Or take work calls when you’re spending time with your family? Personal and professional lives are blended like never before, which to the mind means you’re always on the clock. I have countered this issue by creating work-free zones within my home. If I’m there, then work is not, and that has helped to prevent high levels of mental exhaustion.


#5. Learn to let things go. In this political season, it’s pretty easy to adopt an us vs. them philosophy. The same could be said in other areas of life, like religion, socioeconomic status, online forums, and in our discussions we have with one another every day. I’ve found it is better to let things go, even if I disagree. If I’m getting riled up because I’m frustrated with someone else, then I’m not getting the chance to recover that I need.


Every day may be a marathon in some way, but that doesn’t mean we need to go 100% all the time to finish that race. Sometimes being able to take a break to recover can give us the right amount of rest that we need.


How do you recover after a tough day? I’d love to hear how you give yourself a chance to recover.

5 Ways You Know It’s the Job That’s the Problem and Not You

Fantasizing about a new job is more common than many might think. I know I’ve been sitting at my desk in the past, dreaming about what it would be like to work anywhere else at that moment. The idea of something new is enticing, but sometimes it isn’t you or me that is the problem.

Sometimes it is the job that is problematic.

If you are not feeling satisfied at your job and are thinking about sending out resumes, then here are 5 ways you can know that it’s the job that is the problem and not you.

#1. You haven’t been learning anything. People are at their happiest when they are able to see progression in their lives. You might not be able to reach a goal, but if you can see progress being made, you can keep pressing forward. When there isn’t progression, there is dissatisfaction. I feel particularly satisfied when I can embrace my creativity and curiosity. If your key traits aren’t being encouraged to develop, then it might be time for a career switch.


#2. You aren’t performing like you did in the past. At some point, I think we all enter a phase of being on “autopilot.” We begin to cruise along because we’re tired, burnt out maybe, and the job is easy enough that you don’t need to dedicate mental resources to get it done. If you’re not engaged at work and your performance is lacking because of it, then take a break. If that doesn’t help, then trust me – it’s time to find a new job.


#3. You aren’t feeling valuable. I’m not saying that you need to have a smile on your face at all times and have happy happy joy joy feelings all over the place. You should feel like you’re a valuable part of your time. When you doing something great, people should at least say “Thank you.” That’s not too much to ask, right? When people feel undervalued, they are more likely to burn out. They’re also more likely to start taking more sick days, consider stealing office supplies, or play games on Facebook while on the clock. You are valuable. Find another place to work.


#4. You just want a paycheck. It always amazes me at the mental fortitude people have, being stuck in a terrible job, but staying there because they need the money. This kind of job is the least rewarding at all. It causes people to dread waking up in the morning. If you aren’t excited about your job in some way, then it’s time to find something new when you can find something with comparable pay.


#5. You hate your supervisor. Most people, at least in my experience, tend to quit managers and supervisors instead of jobs. Leaders must be willing to develop their teams and be supportive, stepping in only when a situation escalates. Far too many supervisors refuse to delegate and stretch themselves too thinly, resulting in conflict, lower expectations, and high turnover rates.


Now I’m not saying that going to work is supposed to be a blissful experience… but it should be a satisfying one. If you’re not feeling satisfied, but you can remember the times when you did feel that way, then there’s a good chance it’s the job that has changed instead of you. Get out of there if you can and find something that is fulfilling because life is too short to settle for something mediocre.


Have you quit a bad job in the past? What signs helped you recognize it was time to go? I’d love to hear some of your thoughts about dealing with circumstances like these if you have a moment or two to share them here.  

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