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How to Give Meaningful Feedback to Defensive People

 

They yell. They scream. They cry. Then they blame you.

I’ve been there far too often myself. Some people are constantly on the defensive. In order to give feedback to these individuals that is meaningful in nature, we must take their emotions into account.

Are they feeling fear or anxiety? Anger? Or maybe they are trying to cover up a mistake that they don’t want you to know about?

Negative emotions don’t have to create a negative outcome. With the right approach, it is possible for everyone involved to walk away feeling like they took something positive from the encounter. Here’s how you do it.

#1. Isolate the conversation. Defensive people tend to become more defensive if the conversation is happening in a public area. By isolating the conversation so that the feedback can be given in private, you eliminate the audience that can help to feed the negative emotions so they keep growing.

#2. Focus on the purpose of the conversation. People who are in a defensive mode are looking to counterstrike. You might have some solid feedback to give them, but they’re going to attack you at the first moment they can. The purpose here is to make sure you’re both working toward a solid outcome. Always focus on the end goal first – then focus on the steps that are required to get there.

#3. Keep yourself focused. I love stories. That makes it difficult for me to stay focused sometimes when a defensive individual is off on a tangent. I realize they’ve changed the subject, but I’m fascinated as to the outcome of that story. For the feedback to be meaningful, I’ve had to adjust my perspective. I must focus on myself. And, if you’re like me, you’ll feel more prepared when you stay centered.

#4. Do your homework. There are always people who will surprise us with a negative reaction. For the most part, however, you know exactly who on your team or in your life is going to respond defensively to the feedback you’re about to offer. So do your homework before the encounter, get some research done, and provide concrete examples of how other people in a similar situation have found success. Truth will always be an absolute defense in this type of situation.

#5. Engage the emotion. If you let negative emotions hover over your conversation, then that negativity will fester and grow. Don’t allow that to happen. A few calm words of acknowledgement can be enough to diffuse the negativity.

#6. Understand the reason behind the tears. I’m adding this one on a personal note. When I get really angry – like really, really, REALLY angry – I tend to cry. It’s because I’m trying not to explode my emotions onto the other person. I clench my jaw, I picture chucking a coffee pot at that person’s head, and I say nothing while a few hot tears stream down my face.

That’s a very different emotion compared to someone who cries because they feel like they can’t get anything right.

If you approach crying in the wrong way, you’re only going to make the situation worse. So double-check the emotions before you decide on the right way to offer the needed feedback.

It’s also a good idea to deliver difficult news at the end of the day. A negative situation in the morning can fester into a full-blown disaster by lunch. By giving people the chance to cope in their own comfortable spaces, you’re giving them a chance to eliminate their defensiveness over time.

How do you handle giving defensive people the feedback they need? Have you implemented these methods? I’d appreciate hearing about your experiences, no matter what your results may have been. 

How You Can Be Intelligent Instead of Sounding Smart When Writing

 

Do you spend a lot of time trying to sound smarter than you really are?

The art of writing is a lot like the art of refereeing. You know it’s good when it goes unnoticed. Unfortunately, many professionals today are spending more time trying to figure out how to sound smart instead of working on being intelligent.

Whether you’re writing a blog post, a grant letter, or a basic email, your goal should be to drive an outcome with every word offered. There must be a purpose to what is being written that goes beyond trying to establish a better reputation.

I know that I’ve really struggled with this in the past. I used to think that if I sounded smart, then those who read my content would feel that I was intelligent. That would make everyone want to read more of what I had. Now I work on checking these things before posting or sending anything.

#1. Eliminate jargon or unusual words. I love strange words in the English language. It used to be fun for me to talk about my lamprophony within my content. Using words that people have to use a Google search to figure out is a fast way to drive them away from what you’ve written. The goal of writing isn’t just to communicate. It must also establish a relationship.

#2. Use your words correctly. Buzzwords are fine when they’re used properly. The only problem is that you don’t sound intelligent or smart if you use those buzzwords incorrectly. My biggest pet peeve is the use of “empathetic” and “empathic.” If you’re empathetic, then you are able to share another person’s feelings. Empathic can mean the same thing, but it is only supposed to be used in non-scientific writing.

So in this instance, where we’re discussing how to write better, we would actually say that an individual is an empathic listener. If we were talking about a research study about listening, then they would be an empathetic listener.

Or we could just describe someone as a good listener who can sense the feelings of others and avoid misuse altogether.

#3. Include bullet points when they make sense. Bullet points can really help a bit of content stand out. The structure naturally draws the reader to the key points you’re trying to make. The only problem is that when the bullet points don’t flow together well, the reader becomes disengaged from the content. Each bullet point must have the same form of grammar in order for it to be effective.

#4. Stay out of the passive voice whenever possible. “I will write this content today.” That’s active voice. “This content will be completed by the end of the day by me.” That’s passive voice. Active writing creates confidence. It inspires accountability. That’s not to say that passive voice is bad. It’s just a way to offer yourself a method of escape as a writer if someone happens to disagree with what you’ve written.

Being intelligent with your writing means that you are writing for your reader. Sounding smart with your writing means that you’re writing for yourself. So think about what the reader needs, provide that, and your writing will improve.

How do you avoid the traps of sounding smart when you write? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic.

Methods to Keep Yourself Calm While Competing

The butterflies are almost always the worst.

I know they’re about to start fluttering when a shot of adrenaline surges through my body. My muscles feel kind of weak, even with the extra energy. I don’t get sweaty palms, but the back of my neck flushes hot.

It’s more than nervousness or a fear of failure. It is the need to be my very best.

Although how we feel during a competition is different for every person, there are similarities that each of us will experience. The stomach churning, fear-producing, unfocused mind can conjure up a lot of scenarios where failure becomes the only possible result. When you know these methods to help keep yourself calm while competing, it becomes easier to make the most out of these moments.

#1. Stick to a routine. Although being on complete autopilot isn’t beneficial, forcing yourself to think about every single task you need to finish before starting a competition is also not helpful. I’ve found that by embracing how I think and feel when I’m at my best, I can focus on the routine tasks with enough attention to complete them without losing my focus on the end goal.

#2. Let it go. When it is time to start competing, the focus tends to shift from the actual competition to the variable influences which might affect it. Racers might worry about the weather, their diet, or what it might mean to fail. To avoid this, I place visual cues that emphasize the importance of the competition so I can stay focused on the process I need to follow instead of what is going on around me.

#3. Picture what it means to succeed. When I was in high school, our basketball team once lost 40 straight games. One of my friends was on that team and he just didn’t care. “We never win. So I don’t bother to try.” That attitude went into the practices, the efforts during the game, and sometimes even how those on the team interacted with others. They were picturing themselves failing.

It’s not always easy to visualize success. I look at what I want to accomplish and then picture that moment. I want to know how I’ll feel so that I can strive toward that feeling with my daily actions. It doesn’t mean I’ll get there, but if one practices for success, they are much more likely to achieve it.

#4. Cope with the worries. Do you have people come up to you randomly while you run errands? It happens to me all the time. That kind of interaction triggers my stress alarms. I worry about who I might run into during the day and what they might say to me. During a competition, this anxiety gets heightened by 1000%. When you know your triggers and how your body reacts to them, then you can begin to cope with them.

I prefer deep breathing exercises and meditation. Anything that lets you examine the emotions, however, will be beneficial.

#5. Plan for the worst-case scenario. When you are competing, what is the worst thing that could happen to you? Picture it. Then plan what you’ll do if it happens. Chances are that it will not, but when you expect the unexpected, you’re able to keep pushing forward.

Staying calm isn’t always easy while competing, but it is possible. Apply these methods to your next efforts to see if they can help you cross the finish line.

How do you handle competition? What strategies help you to stay calm?

How Mindfulness Can Rejuvenate Your Career

 

Everyone has a bad day or two. But maybe you’re stuck in a bad month or two. Or maybe it’s been a year or two. These things happen.

Mindfulness isn’t a magic pill you can take to fix everything. It is a form of meditation that can help you gain more control over your thinking. This is important for those times when you’re stuck in a rut because thinking leads to feelings. Feelings lead to choices. Choices lead to actions.

If you try to stop a poor action by making a different choice, but do not address the thinking and feeling behind the choice in the first place, then your odds of success will be quite low. Mindfulness can be used to address those thoughts and feelings so that your career choices can be better.

This is why mindfulness can make a bad day better. It can even rejuvenate your entire career.

Why Is Mindfulness So Popular in Today’s Workplace?

There are many reasons why mindfulness meditation has become popular in today’s workplace, but the top reason is that it provides a retreat for the busy professional. By scheduling in time for mindfulness, you’re really scheduling time for yourself.

When was the last time you had 30 minutes without an interruption? Without your phone, tablet, or TV? Where you could just sit in silence and not need to worry about what is next on your schedule?

It doesn’t happen often. Since almost 3 of every 4 dollars in the US is spent on stress-related expenses, it needs to happen more. We’re literally working ourselves to death. That’s why mindfulness is being embraced by many companies in the Fortune 100 today.

It’s not about making people more productive. It’s about saving people so they can actually have a career.

How Come Thoughts and Feelings Need to Be Addressed?

We could talk about how mindfulness improves your focus or boost your creativity, but the real benefit comes with an improvement in your emotional intelligence. This is how you manage your behavior, both personally and with others. When you know how you are thinking and feeling, then you can make a better choice to take a more effective action.

If you didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, you probably reach for the coffee pot first, right? Or maybe it is an energy drink. I tend to crave waffles in these circumstances. Our choices are not the same as they would be with 7-8 hours of sleep because our thought patterns are affected by fatigue.

The same principle is found in the modern workplace. People are fatigued at work. They feel burned-out.

What mindfulness meditation is able to do is help you and I be able to recognize this fatigue, identify problematic thoughts that may be generated because of being tired, and then stop those thoughts from becoming feelings that we all act upon.

I’ve found that mindfulness has helped me get through the toughest days at work because it gives me a better perspective of life. Work is important, but so are the personal moments with family and friends.

Have you tried mindfulness meditation to deal with the stress in your career? Has it helped you be able to save your job? Your career? I’d love to hear your story!

Facial Expressions: The Ultimate Negotiation Tool

 

I know we’d like to think a logical thought process goes into most negotiations, but the fact is that emotions play an influential role in them. If you know what your counterpart is thinking and feeling, then you will have an upper hand during the negotiation process.

Experienced negotiators know this, so they’ve taught themselves how to mask their feelings. They control their body language, words, and tone of voice very effectively. Yet there is one place I’ve noticed where even the best negotiators aren’t always in full control: with their facial expressions.

The Secret Is Reading a Person’s Micro-Expressions

As much as we’d like to think we are in full control of ourselves, sometimes there are emotional moments that escape – even just for a second or two. These moments appear within the context of our facial expression.

We all can recognize common emotions when we see them in people’s faces. During a negotiation, you might see a flash of anger or disgust. That tells you it is time to shift gears. You might see fear or surprise – that’s a moment to leverage your position. If you see happiness, then you know you’ve struck gold.

And if you see contempt – that “fake” smile – then you’re in trouble.

The time it takes for an experienced negotiator to recognize an emotion and control it on their face can be as little as 1/25 of a second. Yet if you can catch that flash of emotion, you can be in control of the ultimate negotiation tool.

Here’s How You Can Use This to Your Advantage

When I discovered this negotiation trick, it became my top priority to discover how I could leverage this information to my advantage. It’s not always easy to read a person’s facial expressions, but here’s what I’ve discovered can be successful.

#1. Stay focused on the face. Look your counterpart in the eye. Make them feel a little uncomfortable. Far too often, we watch a person’s mouth instead of their eyes.

#2. Tell your story. If you’re telling a personal story, the emotions your face will show are going to be based on how you feel about those memories. It can be an effective masking technique. Make sure you’re watching your counterpart’s face if they are telling their own story to catch any slip-ups.

#3. Ask about multiple options. You can catch micro-expressions whenever multiple options are presented to you. This will show you which option your counterpart wants you to take, the one they hope you won’t take, and the ones they couldn’t care less about.

There will always be those who can negotiate without letting anything slip. Most people, however, will offer you a clue or two about how they are thinking and feeling if you pay attention to their facial expressions. Their micro-expressions can be what leads you to a great deal.

What have you discovered to be helpful during the negotiation process? Have you tried to read micro-expressions before? Let me know what happened and what you learned from the process. 

How You Can Make Time for Work that Really Matters

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have 25 hours in the day?

The fact is that we often say we wish there was more time in the day, but what we’re really saying is that we wished we had less to do. Now here’s the good news: the average person can actually free up nearly 90 minutes of time on an 8-hour work day just by setting realistic and rigid priorities.

This is because our days are often filled with an emphasis on “being busy” instead of an emphasis on “being productive.”

So here’s what I’ve found can be done to make sure there is enough time for the work that really matters, which will help us all become less busy and more productive every day.

#1. Identify all of your low-value tasks.

Nearly 25% of the tasks you perform at work are either going to be relatively easy to stop doing or aren’t really important to the future of your company or your position. Something as simple as dropping a needless meeting can free up 1-3 hours in your weekly schedule instantly. You might also be too involved in the daily details of a project, wasting time by sorting documents, or bogged down in other routine administrative tasks that may not even need to be completed.

#2. Make sure you’re not being a martyr.

If it seems like you’re too busy at work, then there’s a good chance that you’ve chosen to be this way. There are ways that you can lessen your workloads, even if there are tasks that rise above low-value status. You may be able to delegate these tasks to other members of your team if you cannot drop them completely. It may also be possible to restructure how that work is being completed so you can become more efficient at it.

#3. Find a way to let the worries fade away.

One of the biggest struggles we all face in terms of delegation is fear. Because we’re letting other people finish the tasks for us, we’re essentially vouching for that person. My first issues with delegation certainly hovered around this. Yet at the end of the day, when I could get past worrying about the tasks I’d delegated, I learned that developing an entire team is just as important as learning when to delegate.

#4. Use your new free time wisely.

The first time I had freed up my schedule enough where I had an extra 30 minutes, I just sat behind my desk and did nothing. I unplugged my phone, put my feet up, and enjoyed the silence. That was useful for one day, but it wouldn’t make me productive from a long-term perspective. When you’ve got extra time, make a list of the things you should be doing, but are not. Then keep a log of what you do during your free time to make sure you’re remaining productive.

#5. Commit to your plan.

None of this is going to work unless you stay committed to the goal of making time for work that really matters. You can’t go back to being a martyr. You must keep delegating. You must take advantage of the free time you have. You must look to the future instead of worrying about the past. Not every day will be easy – I can vouch for that – but there is the potential to be rewarded with more time every day.

Stop being busy. Start being productive. That way you can enjoy all 24 hours that we have in the day.

What has been your biggest struggle in making time for the work that really matters? I’d love to hear how you were able to overcome these challenges.

Why Are So Many People Quitting Their Jobs?

 

Many companies are experiencing higher-than-normal turnover rates these days. Job satisfaction in some industries are at all-time lows. We also live in an area where employer monitoring of employees is at an all-time high. Accidentally click on an email that takes you to your LinkedIn profile and you might find yourself having a conversation about your workplace happiness.

Employers have a right to be concerned about high turnover rates. The costs of training new employees are much greater than the cost of maintaining the current work force. Instead of creating Big Brother scenarios that make good people want to leave their job, however, some are looking to actually answer this very important question.

Why are so many people quitting their jobs?

And the answer, it turns out, is pretty simple: dissatisfaction.

Dissatisfaction with the Boss: The #1 Issue

Most people have had at least one bad boss in their life. It’s the one person who is always looking over your shoulder, telling you everything that you do wrong, and then takes credit for all of the hard work that you do. Employers are finding out that employees aren’t quitting jobs. They’re quitting bosses.

To stop this issue, a multi-faceted approach is being implemented. Ongoing educational opportunities for entry-level and mid-level managers is becoming mandatory. Larger companies are also tracking employee behavioral patterns through ID swipes or building entries/exits to determine if someone could be interviewing for a new job. If those patterns are positive, then a closer look at that employee’s boss happens to make sure the supervisor isn’t the cause of losing a great employee.

The Problem of Employee Undervaluation

“It’s 2008. Our economy is in the gutter. We need to be lean and mean.”

It’s something many companies told their employees nearly a decade ago. It made sense then. Unfortunately, some employees haven’t seen a raise since then. Others have had to endure pay cuts or benefit reductions. Fewer people are doing the same work and it leads to burnout.

“If you don’t want this job, there are a dozen people who will take it in a heartbeat.”

Undervaluation in certain positions is another reason why good people are quitting in droves. Telling people that they are expendable only increases the chances of someone quitting. This is why internal recruiters within some companies have started to contact employees directly to let them know of new job openings that may have better hours, better pay, or both.

Credit Suisse starting doing this and estimates it has saved over $100 million in rehiring and training costs.

Avoiding the Counteroffer Scenario Completely

So maybe you found something great when you accidentally clicked on that link to LinkedIn. You got a pretty great offer. You decide you’re going to accept it, but then as you tell your boss that you’re quitting, they agree to beat that offer you were given by 10%. What do you do?

If you’re like half of the people in this type of scenario, you’ll take the counteroffer and then wind up quitting in 12 months or less.

For this reason, employers are being more proactive about identifying their best talent. Those people who are always going above and beyond expectations. Then they are offering them something to recognize that offer – a raise, a couple extra vacation days, or flexible scheduling are popular options.

Why? Because recognizing the extra effort is also a reward for that employee. Add in the perks and the appreciation offered becomes the chance to build loyalty with that employee.

Sometimes people quit jobs because they need to move or the circumstances of their life has changed. Employers can’t really do anything about those employees leaving. When there is dissatisfaction present, however, then employers can and should do something. The evidence is clear: when an employer is proactive about keeping their best people, then turnover rates can be lowered.

How You Can Stop a Personal Passive-Aggressive Cycle

 

It happens all of the time. There is that one person in a group who is upsetting everyone else. Maybe they show up late all the time. Or maybe they ignore emails. Or maybe they just expect everyone else to clean up after them. Most of the time, you won’t see people outwardly reacting to such a person.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t reacting at all. Many people internalize their anger and frustration when this happens so it is kept from being out in the open. As that anger festers, however, it needs to have a release at some point. This is how the passive-aggressive cycle begins.

The symptoms of being passive-aggressive can be as mild as a sarcastic response to extremely hurtful actions. Instead of creating such a negative cycle, you can stop passive-aggressiveness before it requires a release. Here’s how you do it.

#1. Evaluate the situation. What made you upset in the first place? For many, passive-aggressiveness begins when it feels like someone else is trying to take away your personal power. They’re invading your boundaries. So ask yourself this: will you be angry about what has happened next week? If not, then choose to let the anger go.

#2. Summarize the problem. Why is it that the actions which have triggered you are so bothersome? Sometimes the roots of our anger have grown quite deep. Childhood trauma, religious teachings, personal bias – they can all affect the levels and depth of our passive-aggressive responses. We must honestly summarize the feelings which triggered the cycle in order to stop it. It’s usually not the person, but an accumulation of internalized feelings that causes us to spiral out of control.

#3. Connect the feelings to your response. We always have the chance to make a choice. We choose to be passive-aggressive. We choose to let things go. We choose to let anger fester. When we can connect the feelings to our triggers that cause us to lash out, then it becomes easier to recognize and avoid situations and people who create such an internally toxic environment – often through no fault of their own. It’s not about them in most cases. It’s about you.

#4. Explore alternative outcomes. Instead of being sarcastic with someone, what is another way you could respond to them? Could you walk away? Could you give them an honest answer? Maybe you could tell them that you didn’t appreciate their actions? When we explore more acceptable ways to respond than what passive-aggressiveness can provide, then we are giving ourselves a chance to improve our future.

#5. Practice the best alternative. Stand in front of a mirror and practice saying an alternative response. Or practice walking away from a difficult situation with a trusted friend, co-worker, or loved one. Bring a journal with you if writing down your feelings and thoughts is your alternative to letting anger and frustration fester. If you can practice this skill once per day for just 7 days, you’ll be able to have it available as an option when the next frustrating event takes place.

Dealing with passive-aggressiveness is more than just learning a new coping skill or trying to return yourself back to “normal” functioning. Unless each of us can clarify the events which cause us to enter a passive-aggressive cycle in the first place, those negative spirals will never really stop.

Take a moment, be honest with yourself, and think about why you react when someone makes you angry and frustrated. Then implement these steps to stay in better control.

Have you used these steps to help you stay out of a negative passive-aggressive response? Did it help? Was it challenging? I’d love to hear your perspective about how helpful these steps happen to be.

Why You Need to Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

It’s not always easy to step out into the public eye. Whether it’s a speaking engagement or a conversation with the cashier, there are times when I know I’d rather be at home watching movies on Netflix. In order to expand a personal network or relationship, the first courageous step must be taken.

A step that takes you outside of your comfort zone.

When something feels terrifying, even on the smallest level, our natural inclination is to avoid that “something” no matter what. To stay inside of the comfort zone. Here’s how I work on taking that first step into the terror.

#1. Just be honest with yourself. There are many things I don’t like about stepping into the public eye, but that is because I’ve been rejected, neglected, or even bullied a few times by strangers who thought my ideas weren’t worth anything. We must be honest with ourselves and look at why we’re hesitant to step outside of our comfort zones so any issues we have can be addressed immediately.

#2. Make each moment your own. I find myself fighting the inclination to change my thinking when others try to bully me into a specific approach. Or ridicule me to make my approach seem like it isn’t the right choice. We need to each take ownership of each moment we are given. It’s our thoughts and feelings that are important. Not everyone will agree with us or embrace what we have to offer, but that doesn’t make our perspective incorrect.

#3. Recognize collaboration opportunities. I had this plaque hanging up in my home while growing up that said this: “A cord of 3 strands is not easily broken.” Sometimes we must step outside of our comfort zones to build our networks or chase new opportunities. There are times when we can also step out of our comfort zones in the company of trusted associates, friends, and family. If there is an opportunity to take that first step forward with someone, then take it. We are all stronger when we’re together.

#4. Be willing to take a step backward if necessary. I’m stubborn. I don’t like admitting when I’ve failed or when I’ve made a poor decision. I just like to keep pressing forward to let the chips fall where they may. In that stubbornness, however, I’ve learned an interesting lesson. If you can pause for a moment, evaluate where you are, and recognize that a different course of action may be a better opportunity, then you can actually venture further away from your comfort zone. If we can recognize a moment of stubbornness and make a correction immediately, even if it is a backwards step, we can still move forward when the time is right.

#5. Take the plunge – just do it. I am in control of my actions. You are in control of yours. When the time comes to step outside of a comfort zone, it is each individual soul who controls whether that first step forward is going to happen. Make the decision to take the plunge.

There are days when I must force myself into the next great frontier of life instead of grabbing a bag of sour cream and cheddar potato chips and enjoying a day of Netflix. Then there are days when stepping outside of my comfort zone is the only thing I want to do. Some steps are easy. Others are difficult. We must take them nonetheless.

What actions do you take when you’re ready to step outside of your comfort zone? What outcomes did you receive if you took the steps outlined above? I’d love to hear your stories about each step you’ve been able to take. 

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. 

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