09/05/2014

By Sarah Lane, author of ’Choices: From Confusion to Clarity,’

The funny thing about life and business seems to be that without choices there is no hope, and without taking responsibility for the choices you make then nothing changes. Without change things get stuck and fail to grow. Whether it’s your business or you that you are considering as you read this article one thing will be true. If you don’t know what you want and haven’t committed to making a change then nothing will happen – no matter how much time, energy and money you throw at things. So the first step in deciding whether you or your business needs to change is to consider “What do I want?”. If when you answer that question you look at your current situation and you’ve got it then brilliant, keep doing what you’re doing. If though you notice some difference, even if it’s simply a gut feel rather than facts at this stage, then you may want to consider doing something differently.

Once you’ve decided what you want you’ll need to:

1. Define the goal: Know what you want and say it out loud.
2. Create a plan: Identify the gaps and strengths between what you have now and what you want to be able to develop steps to get there.
3. Take action: do something!

For some of us it’s not that easy to describe or even know what we want let alone say it out loud though. If that’s true for you then before taking a decision it may be that you get help from those you can trust and who can offer expertise. Many people work with an executive coach, a financial advisor or a really savvy friend or colleague to help answer these kind of questions. Whomever you choose to help you define what you want, make sure that you spend most of the time together with you in the driving seat. Avoid the temptation to simply ‘fix the immediate problem’ as this takes you into incremental stuck mode. Instead allow yourself to truly consider in 10/20/40 years time what kind of life and business do you want to have created.

As you explore what you want here are a few guiding questions that can help decisions and changes happen and remain:

1. What do you want? What will it do for you?
2. How will you know when you’ve got it? What will you be seeing, doing and feeling when you have got it? What will others be seeing, hearing and feeling when you’ve got it?
3. Can you start and maintain your outcome?
4. When, where and with whom do you want it? When, where and with whom do you not want it?
5. What do you get our of your current situation and behaviour that you might want to keep?
6. Is it worth the cost to you? Is it worth the time it’s going to take? Is this outcome in keeping with your sense of identity?

Knowing what you want and being able to articulate it clearly is liberating. The more specific you can be then the more compelling and motivating things become for you to take the actions required to deliver the change.