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You may be asking people to make tough sacrifices right now. Reduced hours, changing jobs, making tough decisions.

You’ve thought a lot about it, so you’ve laid out the new plans. Letting every person know what they need to do and how.

But this is missing a key element: Why?

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In uncertain times, we rely on confidence from others around us. We look to political, community, and business leaders to provide direction.

But more than being told what to do, we want to know why. Part of that is assigning blame for something out of our control, but that’s only the negative side of it.

On the good side, we’re looking for a reason to get out of the fight-or-flight response. Our higher selves want to move forward with purpose and intention.

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It seems like the sand is constantly shifting. Whatever assumptions we thought were valid are up for grabs. We don’t know what our customers are going to do, nor the government, nor suppliers.

So how do you know what to do? 

This is the time to look inside yourself for answers.

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash
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Goals are great, and can inspire you to wonderful things. But I find that people often neglect to answer a critical question: Where are you starting from?

With all my clients, we uncover their goals and visions and possibilities, but then we spend a good amount on their current situation. It’s not about me understanding their challenges.

No, it’s about uncovering resources and limitations, before designing the best next steps to take.

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Variety is the spice of life! But we’ve all experienced the paralysis you can have when faced with a list of fifty flavors of ice cream.

As a recovering Analytic, I’ve learned that it’s often dangerous to spend too much time evaluating things. I could probably create a magnificent spreadsheet for the above three smoothies, with options and scenarios and weighted criteria.

That would feed my curiosity, but I’d never make a decision!

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This should be an easy question to answer, right? You’re the boss, so you’re steering the ship!

But there’s a good chance that when I listen to you, I’m hearing you mention a lot of other people. The employee who called in sick. Those customers who just keep demanding. The weather. The government.

I get it, I really do. It feels like I’m just a tiny boat on the water, at the mercy of anything and everything.

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We all struggle with the idea of when to change and how much. And when you’re leading a team of people, everything you do is magnified in impact – both positive and negative.

But there’s a key which helps give you some direction.

Know your foundation.

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Some industries are getting more nervous.

Tariffs. Wars. Interest rates. Softer consumer confidence.

The question is what you choose to do with all this swirling information. Because it’s always something. If you want a reason to avoid committing to a decision, there’s always something you can blame it on.

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I heard an interesting article on the Innovation Hub radio show recently, talking about how riskiness affects people’s decisions. It got me thinking, because I’ve wondered for many years about the connection.

When we’re working on connecting our products and marketing to the customer need, we often start with their needs and desires. The customer desires a phone which is functional and attractive, with long battery life and easy-to-use apps.

That’s fine as far as it goes, but it’s a pretty surface-level way of thinking.

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We’ve all been learning things during our entire lives. That’s called experience, and it’s what helps you build valuable skills and teach others.

But wisdom is more subtle than just stuff you know.

It’s about putting choices into a larger context: namely, your values. And the values of the larger community you operate within.

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