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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

Life Coach, Blogger

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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