Life is simple…in its most basic form. All we need is water, food, shelter, love. Yet we aspire to much more, which is where it gets complicated. It would be nice to have simple answers to hard questions or three points of advice that will solve the challenges ahead of us. I would like that, too. In fact, it helps me to have simple principles that guide me.
The reality is that as women, the decisions we face are rarely that simple. If only they were…
This month I write about the complexities of our challenges and the importance of deep and clear thinking when we make critical decisions in our lives and careers.
If you need support in the challenges that you are facing, I’d love to hear from you and how I might offer that support in one of my programs or with individual coaching.
If Only It Were Simple…
Life gets reduced to sound bites. There’s too much information and too little time. In the U.S. we love the sound bites. Too often, that’s what we use to make critical decisions – whether life, career, political or family. I don’t blame us for that…in fact one might argue that some days, it’s a survival mechanism that keeps all the balls in the air.
My husband likes to say, “There’s no simple answer to a complex question.” When we’re faced with the decision to stay or leave, to stand out or blend in, to stand firm or compromise, to care for self or others, to stay at home or go to work…in any setting, these are not easy issues.
So how do we handle the complex issues and challenging questions of our lives and careers? Answer: There’s no simple answer.
But there are a few principles that I think are important and are too often overlooked.
Think deeply. This is becoming a lost art. I recall a number of years ago hearing the CEO of my company telling us as a group of executives that he wished people would think more deeply before coming to him. He felt the conversations around the tough issues needed more depth of thought. Think about consequences, from multiple perspectives. Think about risks and which ones are reasonable. Think about the long term as well as the near term. Consider the possibility of unlikely outcomes. Consider the relationships impacted…all of them, not just the obvious ones. Don’t forget to consider yourself in the decision. You matter, too.
Consider the benefits of making yourself uncomfortable.When faced with tough decisions, the easy path may not be the best in the long term. I made a decision today that made me uncomfortable. It had some risk on it, but the underlying principle was more important and could yield great benefits, tangible and intangible, to many others as well as me. I had to quit dwelling on the detailed analysis (which was already clear to me) and put my attention on the benefits of going forward. Was it uncomfortable? Yes. True change is not comfortable.
Listen: You know the answers to your own questions. This was the title page of a journal I had years ago. I’ve since filled the journal, but the premise stays with me every time I face a tough situation. Too often, we’re focused on finding the answer. What we really need is to hone our ability to listen. Without the listening, there is no answer. Listening only happens in quiet places. We often need support or a change of circumstances to get us to the place where we can actually listen to ourselves. This is where coaching comes in. When I have used coaches in my career I have found that they help quiet the noise around me and amplify the voices inside. The result is clarity and confidence.
Development Opportunity! Sign up for Creating Your Career Opportunities workshop and coaching circles January 27 to be held in downtown Houston. Contact Susan@WomenLeadingTogether.comfor more information.
Susan Hodge created Women Leading Together in order to provide seminars, workshops, and coaching circles to help career women move forward to create fulfilling careers. Visit our website at www.WomenLeadingTogether.com.