Making Effective Decisions

Recently, on a trip to New York City, I arrived at the airport on a Sunday afternoon only to discover that my flight was going to be delayed 4 hours.  Due to looming bad weather, no flights were taking off or landing at JFK airport.  I had a choice to make.  Do I stay and wait hoping my flight would go out that night, or do I take action?  After checking with an airline rep, I learned that if my flight did not go out that night, the next available flight wouldn't be until Tuesday.  All flights the next day were completely booked.  I took action.

I had a similar situation just four months prior at the same airport.  Based on that experience, I convinced my two travel companions that we needed to take matters into our own hands and rent a car to drive back to Buffalo.  I quickly mapped out all of the options and consequences, communicating rapidly, so we could make the best decision quickly.  After a seven-hour car ride home, we arrived safely in Buffalo knowing we made the right decision upon learning our delayed flight had indeed been cancelled.  

In life we are faced with difficult decisions daily.  I was fortunate in the above scenario to have had previous experience, knowledge of the right questions to ask, and the temperament to move forward when faced with an obstacle.

Think about the decisions you have to make daily.

  • First, consider that there is usually more than one solution to a problem and you can choose to be a part of that solution rather than a part of the problem.
  • Next, consider that you can take charge of the situation rather than let the situation take charge of you.
  • Reflect: don't be overwhelmed, be informed. What experience do you have that will shed light on the situation?  What questions do you need to ask and whom do you need to ask to gather all the information to have the right perspective?  
  • Review: study all of your available options and choose the best one for the moment.  
  • Finally, take action: move forward confidently with your choice.
Remember, we all have the will to do something or to do nothing. What will your next decision be - to remain stuck or unstuck?

March Madness

The record cold temperatures and snowfall have made this winter challenging even for those individuals that enjoy outdoor activities.  By March, "March Madness" can accurately describe our mentality as well as that round orange ball game that monopolizes the sports channels this time of year. How can we stay positive amid the madness? 

Last week I was in New York City conducting a two-day certification leadership program for a client.  The training just so happened to coincide with the arrival of Winter Storm Thor. It was one of those trips that followed Murphy's Law--if something was to go wrong, it did--culminating in an 8-hour drive through the Catskill Mountains at nighttime after flights to Buffalo were cancelled.  What helped me get through the ordeal was to focus on one positive point each time something negative happened.  It was the only way I could maintain my calm and peace of mind even though all seemed to be going wrong.

In life, bad things do happen to us:

  • A tractor-trailer jack-knifes and we're stuck in a traffic jam. 
  • The computer crashes and we have a project deadline to meet.
  • The snow is melting on the roof and we have water damage. 
  • A loved one goes in for surgery and we are told there are complications.

Whether the situations are minor inconveniences or major life challenges, it is in these moments that we need to focus on what is going right versus what is going wrong. Complaining or acting out in anger and frustration are completely human reactions, but are unproductive and unhealthy.  A positive mindset may not immediately change the situation either, but it helps us to move forward with a healthy perspective towards a productive conclusion or resolution to the problem. 

Although Thor proved challenging to this trip, I made the journey home safely and very appreciative of all those trips when everything did go well.  So when you feel you are going mad, take a moment, take a breath. Remember that no matter the situation at that given time, someone may have it better than you, but someone, somewhere most definitely always has it worse. When madness strikes, strike back! Look for the positive points and be thankful for the experience in its entirety.

New Year, New Word

The new year brings hope! Hope for the future---the anticipation of good things to come where the options and potential are endless. However, as the year progresses and we fill our daily routine with many tasks, responsibilities and activities, we somehow lose sight of what's truly important in our life and find ourselves just trying to make it through each day...we lose hope.

To help keep you from just going through the motions in life, pick a word for the day to keep you on track with your goals and dreams. A word for the day can: 

•help you to stay focused on what is truly important in your life.

•help you filter through the chaos and eliminate things that get in the way of you being your personal best.

•keep you growing daily with a simple way that will not take you back to old habits. 

As I journey into my next year, my word for the day to keep me on track is clarity. Clarity in relationships to focus on people that bring out the best in me. Clarity on health to eat and exercise with what takes me to my personal best. Clarity on keeping God at forefront with all I do. Clarity on growing my business in the right areas to best serve my customers. 

Clarity is my word.  Find a word that excites you with all the optimism of a new year; a word that reminds you what is most important in your life; a word that brings you hope to live the ordinary day extraordinarily.  So what is your word?

Quote of the Month

"Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard for it."


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