When I wrote the last newsletter (Take the Trauma out of Making Decisions) I didn’t plan on writing part two. However, experiences and conversations over the last two weeks highlighted the opportunity to create this add-on. I hope you find it helpful.
I had the pleasure of hearing Brad Martineau speak. Brad is the CEO of Sixth Division, a company that specializes in working with entrepreneurs. He is one of 10 children, and the father of 5. He is passionate and energetic (as are many entrepreneurs,) 35 years old and has built a strong company in a relatively short time-frame. One of the ways he has done this is to orient everyone in the company to regularly ask 3 questions:
1. What do I want to happen?
2. What can I do right now?
3. What if I do nothing?
Think about these questions! And you may say, “ok Gigi, these are great for a business, but they don’t apply to my life.” And I reply with a really big, “oh yes they do!”
Soooo if you want to continue building your decision-making muscle and change the dynamic with your kids / families over decisions and “making things happen” continue reading.
Take the first question “What do I want to happen?” is an easier question to process than “what is my goal?” Many people have lots of mental baggage around goals (generally due to having set goals in the past and not achieved them) so it is easy to get stuck and / or feel a burden, thinking “I don’t have a goal / I need to have a goal, etc.” What do I want to happen? is lighter on the mind and therefore holds a completely different kind of optimism and energy. It is a much easier question to move things – anything – forward.
What can I do right now? Is your quick question for strategizing and putting a mini-plan in place. While the question is about taking action your answer may be that you need to slow down, gather more information, think through your options more clearly – but the question is a great clarifier and moves you into action, whereas you may have been stuck right before asking What can I do right now? Your next steps are clear and you can begin to “Manage the Minutes.” (Now that’s a whole ‘nother newsletter – but in short, the saying is true – manage the minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves.)
And finally, What if I do nothing? Reinforces your answers for #s1 & 2, helps you think in terms of risks/rewards, choices, actions and consequences. There is a consequence to every action we take and every action we don’t take! What if I do nothing? produces clarity on those actions and consequences.
These are great questions to use in your family dialogues. Many family dramas can be avoided when expectations are expressed and clarified – whether the discussion is around how you want to spend your time on Saturday or your week long summer vacation, or you are in the market for a new dishwasher. Communicating expectations – What do I want to happen? – is the place to start.
I encourage you to try asking yourself these questions on a daily basis and flexing your decision-making muscle. The more practice you have in making small / quick decisions that leave you feeling strong and confident will equip you for making the bigger decisions when life requires them.
I’d love to know what your kiddo / family response is when you try the questions on them! They may give some resistance but remember you are teaching them a valuable skill and establishing a strong culture of open communication in your family. Remember my source for this exercise is Brad — husband, father of 5, sibling to 9, and CEO of a growing company…he should know!
I love the question, “What do I want to happen?” Setting goals is somehow less personal, but “What do I want to happen?” gives me freedom to think and be creative about what I really think is possible and what’s important to me.
Exactly Susan! I’m glad you find it helpful. Keep me posted on your results from asking your self this question.
Thanks GG. We have some executive functioning difficulties (i.e. we are unorganized in homework and goals), and I am planning on putting these questions up on our family black board. My favorite part of your newsletter this week is when you ‘call out’ the baggage around the word, ‘goals.’
It felt good just to read that. A happening I am very comfortable with.
Susan, glad the comments on goals gave you some relief. It is SO true, isn’t it? Such a heavy word! Let me know how the family responds to the questions…good idea to put them on the blackboard!