Weigh Your Options

Yes No EmilyMarko.com

Have you ever said “yes” to a request and then afterwards thought “Why did I say I would do this?!” Sometimes we agree before we have truly thought through what the commitment means to us. Often, the actual word “yes” isn’t even spoken, but our actions say it anyway. For example, have you ever seen a number pop up on your phone and just know it is something or someone you do NOT want to deal with at the moment? Against your better judgment, you answer the call and sigh – you just said “yes” whether you know it or not!

Or are you inclined to say “no” to a request before the question is ever finished? Maybe you are so busy and would prefer to not even take the time to listen.

There seem to be plenty of opinions on how you should answer these requests. This article gives you some reasons for why your answer should be “yes”. This one points out reasons why you should say “no” more often.

A quick Google search will pull up many more articles on the Yes/No debate. They all have valid points, but the most important factor is what you are giving up when you answer. Possibly it is time with family or an opportunity to grow your business. It is about finding a balance, but you must take the time to really

Recently, I have been practicing an exercise to weigh my options. I keep a visual template of What Fuels Me at my desk and refer to it when I need to make a choice between doing or not doing something. I determine the pros vs cons of how the decision will effect each “category” of my life – Financials, Whole Health, Work, Family, Community, and Social. Then I ask myself some specific questions on how the decision will impact me.

For bigger decisions, especially ones that will impact my time and energy levels this practice is very helpful. I take the time to determine how the decision aligns with my personal core values and also my strategy for my business. This practice has even worked when deciding whether to take on certain projects.

Download this free template and try it out next time you need to make a decision in your personal or professional life.

Do you lean more towards saying “yes” or “no”?

What kind of process do you go through when making decisions?

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Inhale the Good Stuff

Inhale - EmilyMarko.com

My family has been a little addicted to a new game show Race to Escape, which challenges teams to solve puzzles and find hidden clues before the other team so they can win a huge amount of money. The most interesting part to me is when the host explains the psychological process a contestant is going through when making decisions and working to find the solution. The brain is so fascinating to me!

As I started my research on decision-making, I came across this video and article that discussed the same psychological processes the game show explains. If we are able to understand our cognitive bias it may help in making better decisions.

Another resource I found was Jonathan Fields’ book, Uncertainty, where he writes about “refueling your brain between bursts”. Apparently, the prefrontal cortex of our brain becomes fatigued very easily and we lose creativity, cognitive function, productivity and willpower. Interestingly, if we take the time to do something that helps refuel, we can keep our brain in tip-top shape and make better (more mindful) decisions.

The idea of refueling the brain is something I have tried to practice with meditation. Unfortunately, a regular schedule for meditation just hasn’t stuck yet. I do believe in the benefits though and recognize when I need to infuse it into my day. When I feel the stress head ache coming on or just a bunch of negative thoughts swirling through my mind or feel really stuck – I know it is time to take a break. Sometimes a 20-minute meditation seems way too long to pull myself a way. Instead of ignoring the need to reset, I just shorten the practice.

For a super quick way to regain focus, I pause and breathe. Close your eyes, focus all your attention on your breath, imagine inhaling good energy and exhaling bad energy. I visually assign a color (blue like an ocean) and descriptors (happy, healthy, safe) to the good energy and imagine my whole body being filled with the good. As I exhale, I imagine the bad (super toxic) energy being pushed out with my breath.

This has worked so well for me, that I have taught my 6-year old son to practice this exercise when he is having trouble keeping calm. All I need to say is “breath in the good stuff, buddy”.

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How do you refuel your brain?

Try out even more exercises that may help you refuel and make better decisions.

Leave a comment below on which exercises work for you.

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What Fuels You

I finally finished up my year in review of 2013! Woo hoo!

This was the first time I used a formal template and it really helped me to capture all my thoughts. As I solidified my goals for 2014, I wanted to be sure I was creating goals that would align well with all aspects of my life AND really be meaningful to me. So I created a template, closely based on the Wellbeing categories, to keep me on track.

What Fuels You - emilymarko.com

Each goal I identified had to fall into one of the 6 categories and truly be something that would fuel me through out this year.  My plan is to keep the template posted in my office as a reminder of what to focus on so I remain content, full and balanced.

  • Career covers the details of what I do – type of work, clients, environment, etc.
  • Health is about how I keep my whole self healthy – physical, mental and spiritual. The Wellbeing category is Physical, but Health resonates with me more.
  • Community is all about how I interact with and support my communities – neighborhood, school district, city, state, country and organizations I belong to.
  • Financial is about the security of my finances, but also how I track and spend.
  • Social focuses on people I interact with on a regular basis.
  • Family is a huge focus for me so I separated it out from Social.

These categories seem to be working for me, but its flexible. I have a client who tweaked this to fit her situation.
Are there different categories you would use?