DECISION MAKING

We make decisions every day of our life from the moment we wake up each morning. Some are small ones; I’ll just lay here for another 5 minutes, one cup of coffee or two, a piece of toast or cereal? Simple, easy decision we make without much thought at all. We make all these decisions based on what we feel like at that given moment in time.

When it comes to making bigger decisions, we often tend to face a huge dilemma. We become decidedly more indecisive, although perhaps a better word to use here would be cautious. We often spend ages considering and weighing up all the facts. We might make lots of columns with pros and cons. Go through a myriad of for and against arguments before we feel in a position to be able to actually make a decision.

Why is this? Why don’t we make a snap decision in the same way we decided to lay in bed an extra five minutes?
The answer is because we don’t always trust ourselves even if we know what we really should be deciding. We fear making a decision. Yet, after we’ve gone through this whole process of whatever systems we are using to help us decide, we often find that our final decision is not at all what the logical sequence of working out has determined as the best course of action.

Nope, it’s something else. Something that defies all the logical, well balanced and structured analysis, we’ve just spent ages going through.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why?
Well, life is not logical. We need to recognise that there are no wrong decisions. Each decision is made for a reason that comes from deep inside of us. Maybe it’s because there is a life lesson to learn, maybe it’s because we’ve developed our awareness to such a level that we know to trust our gut feeling.
Gut feelings are impossible to explain but are very real. Decisions have been made in this way since time immortal. We just know that something is not right. We may not know exactly what is wrong; we can’t quite put our finger on it, there’s a little niggling voice in our ear, or a feeling in our bones, all highly illogical. We often cannot explain it, but we just KNOW.

Of course, we need to ensure that we make a balanced decision. This means we must always do our homework when making a decision, but at the end of the day we need to be sure that it is both from our heart and from our minds. It means examining the options and looking at the implications. Twisting, thinking, sometimes tossing and turning in our beds at night as we allow all the varying scenarios to run rampant in our minds. Finally, we make a decision.

Is it the most logical one?
On some occasions, yes it is. But not always, in fact, it’s often illogical. Sometimes, it’s seemingly completely the ‘wrong’ decision, defying all logic – but, hey, it’s all good because this is a learning process.

While we mustn’t be ruled by our hearts in a business setting, we shouldn’t simply discard our feelings and base an important decision purely on logic. Emotions are what make us human. Feelings are what give us compassion and make us who we are. Feelings are what many a successful business person has based their greatest decisions on.

Speaking from a personal perspective, I often base my decisions on what my gut instinct has told me, even when everything and sometimes everyone, screamed I was mad. In the end, it’s turned out I made the right decision, and there have been lots of great win/win situations occur as a result.

It’s not all smooth sailing and sometimes we experience pain as a result of our feelings. It can be a physical pain that affects us in a material sense or on an emotional level. However, when we learn to control and examine how and why we feel a certain way, we are on track to being able to make the right decisions for ourselves. Each of us has to live with our own decisions. I have found that it gives me great conviction, and commitment, to my decisions, when I follow my instincts. It gives me the courage to ‘own’ each decision and, when the going gets though, to have the courage to see it through. Empowered decision-making is a great tool in life and business.

Does this resonate with you? I’d love to hear your feedback on how you make decisions. If you would like some tips from the Empowered Decision Making tool that I use, just inbox me, I am happy to share.

Michelle
P.S. It’s always better to make a decision than not to!

Sisters are doing it for themselves or are they?

Although women are fantastically capable, we tend not to be self-promoters. We share our heartache, our grief and our moments of triumph with girlfriends. It’s in our nature to genuinely share the credit for a job well done with our team, colleagues and special friends. So, although we are so good at talking in groups, supporting each other through thick and thin, there are very few of us, certainly those in the 50 plus bracket, who feel entirely comfortable, stepping into the spotlight alone.

I do have to say that young women these days seem to be somewhat better equipped to do this. I am sure this is due, in no small part; to the way the school system does so much to encourage young people, both male and female alike, to make their voices heard. They get them out there at the front of the class for show and tell when they are tiny; this translates into being more confident standing in front of an audience and speaking about your topic. I applaud this method of introducing youngsters to public speaking. In my day, it was “sit down and shut up”. To be called out to speak in front of the class was a form of punishment!

When looking at things from a career perspective, one of the best exercises for women, if in Australia, is to undertake entering the Telstra Business Women’s Awards. I am sure there are equivalents in other countries too. Entering an award is not something that I would normally do. I feel uncomfortable with self-promotion and pushing myself forward.

However, I was nominated by someone I truly respected and purely for that reason; I accepted the nomination and went through the awards process. It was a wonderful learning experience. I was forced to take the time to evaluate my career to date. Time to reflect on my achievements, but more importantly the steps that I took to arrive at my present day position, and by doing so I learnt a lot more about myself. I was forced to stop and think. To think about me, not about others.

Everyone normally operates in automatic mode, travelling the same old road that they go down every day while their minds are thinking about other things – thinking about everything except the present.  As a youngster, we usually can’t wait to grow up – that desperate need to be 16, 18 and finally the magical 21! After that, the years seem to vanish, and we wonder where the years have gone! How often do people say, “If I knew then, what I know now?”

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but living in the past or constantly making plans for the future, only serves to cheat ourselves of the pleasure of the present moment. So, instead of living in the land of “I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve” or “what if,” we must live in the present moment – making the most of it & enjoying life to the fullest!

I encourage WINNER1 cmpeveryone to consider who you may wish to nominate for an award and if, in Australia, the Telstra Business Women of the Year Awards are currently open. For me, the process was extremely rewarding, but it was not easy; in fact, I’d go so far as to say nerve-wracking! The icing on the cake was winning, but even if I hadn’t won, I would not have regretted the process I went through. It was the beginning of a much greater awareness of self. Best of all, I came into contact with a fabulous group of individual women who are all sisters, doing it for themselves!

Are you one of those women forging your own path? Perhaps you are just starting out, or maybe you are, as they say in Australia, well ‘down the track’; wherever you are in your journey, I’d love to hear any thoughts, observations or reflections you might like to share.
Happy travelling!

Michelle

PS – you can also self nominate – so don’t hide your light under a bushel!


Setting a course for happiness

540447_296256847127709_197996310287097_675934_299281390_nI’ve been a bit busy since my return from Granada and not had much time for personal blogging. However, I have been busy writing for my clients and just written this article on Happiness, as part of a self-care series, which appeared on the Simple Meetings website. You may like to check it out. The actual site has some great tools for managing agenda’s in real-time that allows team members to collaborate and thus opens up more time to concentrate on other business.

If you find the tips useful, I’d love to receive your feedback either here or directly in Simple Meetings as a comment.

On a personal note, I’m very happy to report I had a fantastic trip to Granada and I’m also delighted to have my son visiting me here in Spain at the moment.

Michelle

Pleasures in simple moments

The sun has gone on holiday. I’ve had to drag out the heater again, pile on jumpers and walk home in the rain – luckily I have a trusty brolly in my bag.

Despite the gloomy weather this as been a brilliant day which stared with a lovely email from ve540447_296256847127709_197996310287097_675934_299281390_nry dear friend (Susan) sharing all her news,  lots of nice comments, including one from a very old friend (Geoff) on my blog from yesterday.

A couple of hours later I received an extremely excited text message from a student with the news she’d passed her English exam (heaps of smiley faces told me she was pleased). The positivity continued with fun and laughter in subsequent classes and concluded with a really amiable conversation group this evening. Nothing earth shattering BUT I enjoyed every moment.

Happiness can be found in the simplest of things and by taking pleasure in the joys others experience. Make someone happy today by showing how much you value them as an individual. Pick up the phone, send a note, a text or whatever you fancy. Go on……reach out and bring a moment of happiness to both your lives.

Michelle

Happiness Challenge

At the beginning of this week I announced I was taking part in the Happiness Challenge as part of the lead up to International Day of Happiness.  I’d like to share the challenge below:

“We all have faults and weaknesses but we all, also, have strengths and positive attributes. Focusing on the former tends to sap self-esteem and confidence whereas focusing on the latter has been shown to contribute to feeling better about oneself. Your challenge today, therefore, is to write a list of your top three qualities (if you struggle to think of some ask a close friend, relative or trusted work colleague). Think of all the ways you currently use these strengths AND of all the additional ways you could use them in the future.”

Challenge provided by Dr Timothy Sharp (@drhappy) of The Happiness Institute. LINK.
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So although it might be blowing my own trumpet, my self assessed list of top three qualities are:
  • Authenticity
  • Integrity
  • Reliability

I encourge everyone reading this to take a moment to think about your top qualities and share them here – time to blow your own trumpet.

Michelle

Happiness

“People will forget what you did, people will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”    Maya Angelou

Some people are naturally happy. I’m fortunate to be one of those individuals who is generally optimistic and happy. For others, it’s more difficult and that’s where small gestures can make a huge difference and, most importantly, we can all play a part in making our world a happier place. AAAhappy-2015-2

Friday 20th March is the International Day of Happiness and in the lead up I’m participating in a program to actively focus on creating happiness each and every day in some small way.

Happiness is a state of being and research shows that it is related to our connections with other people. It doesn’t mean having heaps of friends and being popular rather we are talking about authenticity. Check out the 10 keys to happier living.

Simple things that make me happy are hearing from my kids, chatting to my parents, exchanging news with my sister and brother and a gossip with old friends.  Out in the Blogosphere there are heaps of great posts that bring a smile to my face. Sharing posts, giving and receiving feedback and compliments all add to my happiness equation. Today I’ve enjoyed reading Weekend Edition by @suddenlyjamie – brought a smile to my face and a couple of EdwinasEpisodes which are always good for a giggle. I also love visiting Storyshucker by Stuart M Perkins.

Let’s all make a big effort, especially this week, to perform a simple gesture, give a smile or a utter a few words that will contribute to the happiness of those with whom we share our world.

Michelle

Action Plans

The New Year is a time when people often make resolutions that are not kept so rather than make resolutions I find that this a fabulous time to have a personal planning session with myself.

I use this as a time to clean out and sort out in both the physical and also mental sense. It’s wheConfined by the walls that you buildn I consider and plan my options and directions for the next 12 months. A big part of the planning process is to review my Action Plan ( I am currently in year 3.5 of my current 5 year plan).

Yesterday was my review day and it’s always interesting to pull out my blue note book (which I started in August 2010) and check to see how I am tracking. The purpose is twofold:

1) I can check off what has been achieved – which is always motivational for me as I usually find I’m able to tick off quite a few items. I do love to be able to physically tick off an item in a lovely coloured pen! Yes, I am old fashioned it’s a nice hard copy. It’s personal choice but I do find this so much more solid and satisfying than an electronic document.

2) I review where I am and tweak the plan as necessary. Being willing to tweak and make adjustments is absolutely necessary on any Action Plan since circumstances change which influence how I might need to proceed. If I didn’t tweak and adjust then it would not be a living document and therefore quite worthless.

As part of my review for the year I also take the time to look over and update my resume because I never know what’s around the corner and it’s always good to be prepared for opportunities.

What does yours look like and do you need a hand polishing? I’ll be happy to send you my tip sheet for making sure a resume stands out from the crowd.

Michelle

Changing our lives

Have you secretly (or maybe not so secretly) thought you would like to change your life in some way, shape or form? I know lots of people have but feel they can’t do anything for one reason or another. Family, kids, parents, finances, pets and a myriad of other thing are usually cited as the reasons for being unable to change. People depend on you, you can’t afford it and so on the reasons go. Many of the reasons are very valid but there is always something that can done to effect some type of change towards goals and ambitions.

I want you to think for a moment about how we all began life. As a baby we came into the world and faced enormous challenges. We needed to grow up – and if you think about it, growing up is a series of changes that take place with the biggest changes being in our early years. We start with small steps, milk and then onto solid food with the consistency getting firmer as we move through the learning to eat phase.

At the same time we learn to become more in control of our bodies. In the beginning we need our heads to be supported, to be picked up and carried everywhere. Then one day we learn we can roll over. Amazing! We can turn over all by ourselves. We might not be able to turn back, so we get frustrated and cry for help at which point some adult comes along and helps us.

Think about how a child learns to walk, first they crawl, pull themselves up on furniture for support, wobble about fall on their bums occasionally and finally, one day, they just let go and wobble off on shaky legs.

Well it’s the same concept if you want to make changes within your life, one step at a time and gradually the confidence builds and off ynewstartou go!

It may be that your 2015 ambitions are firmly embedded in your mind but you aren’t sure of how to go about making those changes or you might still be thinking about what direction you want to head in. This is where the support of a mentor, life coach, advisor or whatever name you want to give such people can be very helpful. The key is to make sure that whoever you choose is a good fit for what you want to achieve as it is definitely not a case of one size fits all.

How do you know if they’re the right person? Check out their track record and find out whether they just talk the talk or whether they have life experience? Ask questions and if you’re not happy with the answers keep looking.

I am selective about who I choose to work with and my clients always appreciate a 100% confidential environment, although I know some people prefer to work as part of bigger groups where there is less cofidentiality control and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It comes down to personal choices and what works best for each individual. For me a decision is always based on whether I feel I can help someone to achieve their goals and if they feel comfortable to be open with me and most importantly if I will be happy working with them. If not, then I recommend others (often within my network) as after all this is very much all about personalities and ensuring the approropriate fit in order to create the right environment to achieve best outcomes.

If you’d like to explore options on how the team at Dragon Sisters, or myself personally,  may be able to help maximise your potential and achieve your ambitions, be they personal or professional, contact us now and plan to make 2015 the start of effecting positive changes for yourself.

Michelle

PS I’d also love to hear you share any ways you have chosen to effect changes in your life.

Opportunities

My teaching load is lighter for December which gives me space to be taking on a couple more individual business clients. I’m open to clients from anywhere in the world as long as their work interests me and I feel that I can be helpful tEveryone is my teachero their business or cause. Anyone interested in discussing opportunities is welcome to contact me on michellehanton@gmail.com

Why is the load lighter? Well, two of my classes finished up on Friday as they head to their English exams tomorrow. These are external exams with examiners coming from Trinity College in the UK. It’ll be strange not to see them every day after having spent the last 2 months together. We enjoyed a great last day together including celebrating a birthday at morning tea and then lunch after the final class.

I find it so rewarding working with motivated students and clients alike. The pleasure I experience as a result of their success is really hard to describe and I guess the most recent public success was Katrina Fong Lim’s election night victory but all successes bring me the same pleasure which is why I so love being able to choose clients that align with my values and best of all I also learn from all these wonderful experiences. Life is indeed wonderful.

Michelle

Locals supporting locals

I know in Australia we have the food banks, wishing trees and so many other things for those who are less fortunate,good person but here things are a little different. It’s the little community events that are supporting those within their own areas.

On Saturday I went to the supermarket and there were volunteers there doing a collection for those who needed support. Shoppers were very gently and politely approached by the volunteers to consider purchasing an extra item while they shopped and popping it into the collection trolleys.

I think this is a great idea and it was good to see so many people getting behind the initiative. All the goods are distributed locally which is fantastic and really embodies charity beginning at home. I was so pleased to be able to add multiple packets of biscuits and boxes of juices to my shopping for inclusion in the donation trolley. In the scheme of things it cost me so little but will mean a lot to someone who does not have the money for these kind of items.

I give thanks each day that I have a healthy family, a roof over my head and food to eat.

Michelle