Is tasting the best way to make a choice?

I really enjoy sitting down with a flight of beverages and doing a tasting. It doesn’t matter to me if I’m tasting wine or beer or scotch. I love the activity of responding and balancing choices and noticing how what comes before or after changes my perception of a particular sip. But knowing what I know from both research and personal experience, I am cautious about generalizing my evaluation based on just a small sample.

Once we needed to buy new chairs for the boardroom at our office. We put a line of about ten different chairs out and people sat in each one in turn and voted on their favourites. We bought the favourites and discovered that sitting in a chair for just a few minutes is very different than sitting in the same chair for several hours. We tested, but we didn’t get a reliable result.
When I was in grade 1, I took some tests as a demo for teachers who had to learn to administer them. They asked me what I would like to do while the rest of the class took the tests later. I …

How to take control of your energy budget

You might not think that you have an energy budget, but you do. Whether you call it energy or willpower or discipline or motivation, something drives you and sometimes, you run out of it. Whatever you call it, energy is both a physical reality and an emotional one. And either you manage it, or it will manage you.

Here are three ways to think about your day:

I do things when they are scheduled.I do things when I feel up to them.I go with the flow. Which of these does the best job of matching your energy to meeting your goals for the day? Probably none of them work very well. You're using energy but not necessarily generating enough so that you have the supply you need when you need it. You're probably either putting off stuff that needs to be done, or frustrated by having more energy than you need for some kinds of tasks.

Here's a better idea. Think about your day and ask these three questions: When do I have the most energy?What takes the most energy?How can I recharge when …

Do You Have to Ask For Help?

Most people ask for help when they see no other choice. They ask when the price of helping is likely to be the highest, and when the skill of the helper needs to be the strongest. What happens is often that the help they find is too little, too late. That's hard on the person who needs the help and it's also hard on the helper. They might be reluctant to volunteer next time.
People have three obstacles to overcome before they ask for help. One is the fear that no one will want to help them. Two is the fear that no one will be able to help them. Three is the fear that they will be judged (and there will be repercussions) as incapable or weak. Let's take these one at a time, from the point of view of the person you will ask for help.
One: the fear that people won't want to help you.  The reality from the point of view of the people around you is likely to be that watching you struggle is painful. They might not want to help you, but they would probably rather help you t…

What does it take to stay committed to your goals?

Many people believe that all they really need is to get clear about what they want. They believe in the Law of Attraction. They're sure that if they have a clear vision, they will naturally make it happen.

In my experience, they are skipping a few steps.

It's possible to get clear and get stuck. Clear is good, but it's not enough.

You need to commit to what you want and stay committed through distraction, disruption and obstacles.  That's why so many people want to hire an accountability coach: they know that knowing what they want isn't enough to get them there.

In my experience, you can't delegate accountability. It's up to you to be accountable for your actions. What you can do is seek out people (who might be coaches) who do two things: 1) remind you to look at your goals within the big picture and to "re-center your map" when you have been pulled away from your vision and 2) remind you to look back into your own experience for the skills, str…

Even when the choices are all bad, it's good to make a choice

I wonder if what frustrates people so much about elections like the one we are having in Ontario now is that they are reminded of how often they have to make choices between alternatives that just aren't good enough.

We often want a change because what we have isn't working for us, only to decide that none of the options available are good enough either. And then we say something like, "Why bother?"

Here are three reasons to bother. It is worth making a choice, even when - especially when - you don't like any of the options:
Shift happens.  Very small changes add up to larger impacts.  It does matter even if one choice is only slightly better than another.You don't have to vote. But there will be many times when you have to make a choice in your own life when you don't like your options. Practice will make the process easier. Life will often take choices away from you. In those moments, you will want to find even the smallest space in which you can make yo…

Know, Grow or Borrow: How to Find Strengths When You Need Them

Can you help someone find what they need to get through a problem?

In NLP, it's called eliciting resources.  We start with the belief that everyone has available to them a strength, skill or perception (called resources in NLP) that would help them solve the problems that matter to them. If they are not using that strength, skill or perception, then it's because they don't realize they have it. As a coach or influence, you can help them recognize that they already have what they need to move forward.

Why don't we know that we have something we need?  There are 2 reasons. The first is that our brains hold way more information than we can process in our conscious attention. We have to "forget" most of what we know to think clearly, since clear thought means processing only a few things at a time. The second reason is that we are social animals and we can access attitudes, experiences and skills by connecting to them in other people. We might not have what we ne…

Learning is not necessarily boring, scary or unfair: it just seems that way in our memories

The easiest way for me to limit registration in a course or workshop is to put the word "learn" in the title. I've struggled with this for a long time: learning means acquiring the skills or information we need to do things we have never done before. It's hugely important in both innovating and adapting to change around us. But people cringe a little when they see it. It's like offering a course on flossing your teeth or giving up sugar.

I should not really be surprised. I was a full-time student from grade one through dissertation. I had some wonderful teachers and I loved to learn. But when I think about my earliest memories of school, this is what comes up for me. The class had behaved badly in some way (not me!) and the teacher made us sit on our hands until they hurt. And I was asked to be the demonstrator student for some new standardized tests, which meant I did all my tests in front of a room full of teachers. I don't really remember that part: I reme…