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How To Make Life’s Hardest Decisions

How To Make Life’s Hardest Decisions

What do you do when faced with a big decision to which you don’t know the answer?

Do you opt for the middle road that marginally meets everyone’s needs? Do you sacrifice your needs for others? Do you randomly pick an option, and simply hope for the best? Do you pick what seems to be the most logical, even though you are not 100% sure?

Today, I have three decision making methods to help you break out of any dilemma.

Method #1: Fast Forward Method

The first method is the fast forward method. Here, you mentally project yourself into the future, a.k.a. “fast forward” your life, and contemplate this decision from this future point in time.

How to Apply

  1. Consider a decision you are facing right now. It can be a small or big decision. It can be regarding your friends, your love life, your career, your business, your health, and so on.
  2. What are the main options you are considering with respect to this decision? Write them down.

Now that you are done, review the following steps:

  1. Mentally fast forward to one year into the future.
  2. What would your life be like in each option? Be as detailed as possible.
  3. Which option would you want to be living a year from today? Why?

(If you wish, redo the exercise with two different time frames: (b) Three years (c) Five years. You should get the same answer. If not, try to understand why.)

Example #1: Quit Job or Later?

The biggest decision I had to make up till my mid-20s was whether to (a) quit my day job right away to pursue my passion to help others grow or (b) work for a couple more years before quitting to rake in more savings. The first option would bring me fulfillment because I would get to pursue my passion right away. The second one would put me in a calmer state of mind regarding my finances, since I wasn’t expecting any income in the initial phase of my business.

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Initially I was unable to decide because both options had their pros and cons. Each one would aid me in some manner with regards to pursuing my passion.

When I fast forwarded myself one year into the future though, the answer instantly revealed itself, “Quit right away and pursue my passion.” There was not even a moment of hesitation or doubt.

Reason being that even if I were to pursue my passion and make little progress after one year, two years, or even three years, I would still be making more progress than if I continued working in my day job. Every extra day I stayed on at my day job meant delaying the pursuit of my passion by another day, and subsequently delaying the realization of my dreams.

By adopting a future perspective, it removed me from my present situation, which helped me to evaluate the decision more consciously. What might have seemed crucial from a three to six month time frame melted away when I looked at the situation from a one-, three-, and five-year point of view. I was able to see the things that really mattered vs. the things that might seem important in the short term but did not matter in the long run.

Method #2: Ideal Vision Method

Albert Einstein once said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” If you want to break out of your current problem, you need to adopt a different frame of mind – the mind of someone who has achieved your ideal vision. This is what I call the Ideal Vision Method.

How to Apply

Consider a decision you are facing now. (You can use the same decision from the previous exercise.)

  1. Think about your ideal vision with respect to this area of your life.
  2. Imagine you are living in your ideal vision right now. What would the You in your ideal vision do in this scenario?

Example #2: Start My Own Venture or Join My Friend’s Venture?

Let’s say your good friend is starting a new business and he invites you to join him as a partner. However, you are in the middle of starting your own business at the moment. This is an idea you’re very passionate about and you’ve been meaning to do it for a long time.

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Either venture will take up a considerable amount of your time and it’ll be tough to manage both at the same time.

Using the Ideal Vision Method, you create your ideal vision for your career. As it turns out, your vision is to turn your passion into your career. You want your business to be renowned in its industry. You also want to earn a substantial income from your business every month, which is a natural consequence of being really good in what you do.

As the You in your ideal vision, it becomes clear that you have to reject your friend and focus your efforts on your business.

While the opportunity with your friend looks tempting at the present moment, it’s only going to divert your attention from realizing your passion. You know that success, learning opportunities, and business networks are all things that will come your way as you succeed in your venture.

Method #3: Heart Method

The last method, the Heart Method, taps into a fundamental core of what makes us who we are – our hearts. You can also think of this as listening to your gut or intuition.

How to Apply

Consider a decision you are facing right now. (You can use the same situation as the previous exercise.)

Now, close your eyes. Clear your mind. Think about nothing but this particular decision you are facing.

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Listen to your heart. What is your heart telling you? What is it gravitating toward? That’s your answer.

Example #3: Reconnect with a Friend Who Betrayed You?

Let’s say you have a friend, B, who betrayed you before. You have been unable to forgive him for that incident. Because of that, both of you split ways. There was a point after you split ways when he tried to reconnect with you, but you ignored him as you couldn’t forgive him.

Recently, something came up that you need his help for because of his background in the subject matter. There are two paths you can take here: Reconnect with him or seek help somewhere else.

It’s not necessary for you to reconnect with him because there are other people you can approach; plus it’ll be awkward to talk to him again after all these years. Not only that, you still feel resentful for what he has done. Logically, you should just approach someone else.

As you listen to your heart, it tells you to put this resentment behind you and reach out to him. Not because you need his help, but because holding on to the resentment is silly. You are hurting nobody but yourself. He has reached out to you before, which means he has already taken the first step; yet you are still being an *ss by refusing to accept his connection.

Your heart also says that your connections in life are more important than any motivations or agendas you may have. Love, not hatred, not fear, is the key to living a happy life. You can go about living your daily life as if none of this is relevant to you, but it does not deny the fact that you are still resentful toward him and you are denying your connection with him because of that. This resentment that you carry around you will only make you a weary soul. It pulls you down; it doesn’t lift you up.

Forgive him and reconnect with him, not for him, but for yourself; for the salvation of your soul. Love him as you would yourself. Stop viewing him with tainted glasses; instead, give him a fresh chance.

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Rounding Up

Sometimes, you may get an answer you don’t like from these three methods. It’s possible that the answer isn’t something you want to take on right away. It’s possible that you don’t even want to think about it.

There are times when I get answers that I don’t like from my own methods. However, it doesn’t change the fact that there is some truth behind them. Actually, a lot of truth.

I’ve found, from experience, that it’s only when I stop running and embrace the truth that I really begin to resolve my problems. Remember, faulty thinking leads to faulty solutions, which perpetuates our problems. To solve our problems, we need to approach them from a different place.

Perhaps the final thing I want to add is that when it comes to making life decisions, you shouldn’t make them based on what’s best from the current circumstance. To do so would be to compromise on your real wants. Rather, use the three methods to figure out what you really want, then find the way to get there. Your WHAT should come before your HOW, not the other way round.

I hope you’ve found this article useful. What you decide to do is up to you and it’s your decision to make. Decision making is never easy, but it’s when we make up our minds that we move forward in life.

This article is about tackling life’s biggest dilemmas. For day-to-day decision making, read How to Stop Analysis Paralysis and Make (Good) Decisions Quickly.

Read the original article in full: How To Make Life’s Hardest Decisions: 3 Decision Making Methods to Solve Dilemmas | Personal Excellence

Featured photo credit: snigl3t via flickr.com

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Celestine Chua

Celestine is the Founder of Personal Excellence where she shares her best advice on how to boost productivity and achieve excellence in life.

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

More to Motivate Your Team

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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