Category Archives: Deciding: Why is it so hard?

Why is it so complicated?

Bread shot by EmmiP from A couple of weeks ago on a trip to a nearby Salvation Army store I found a bread machine … with instructions .. for just $20. Because it is entirely possible that I might only use the thing once, I don’t want to spend a million bucks on more “stuff” in my house.

But the purchase was within my mental discretionary purchase limit, and I thought I’d like to try it out.

I brought the thing home and sat it on the counter for a week or so. Then I put it in the cupboard because it takes up too much room on the counter. I studied the instruction book for the bread maker. Are you listening? I READ the instructions over and over. I bought the stuff it said I needed. None was very expensive. And then I read the instructions some more. Finally after nearly three weeks, I got up the nerve to try making bread. It is amazingly simple. And the bread was pretty good.

Please tell me what is so scary about making bread in a machine that does all the work for you? You just put the stuff in the bucket and turn it on. Really, how hard can that be? Why did it take me so long to try the thing out?

Here’s my question: How much do you miss because you read more instructions that you need? How much time do you waste trying to be sure you have everything right before you try something new?

  • Nike says: “Just do it.”
  • Guy Kawasaki says, in his book, The Art of the Start “Get going.”
    Check out his talk on the topic at TiECon 2006 here.

Really, almost never will the bread machine explode gooey dough all over the kitchen.
And if it does, you can just clean it up.

What are you gonna get off your duff and do this week?

Let’s stay connected…

… but were we ever in the first place?

Twice in the last week, I’ve received a sorta automatic email from someone I’m pretty sure I don’t know asking me to change their contact information from some old unknown email address to a new one.

new email address graphic
In each case, there has been a real name associated with the change. But I sure don’t recognize it.

I manage a bunch of websites and I write for several publications not to mention the times my address could appear in someone’s address book or contact list because I know someone they know and so we were on the same distribution list one time.

So while I certainly appreciate the world keeping me updated with where they are, do I really need to know it? Nope!

And really, isn’t one of biggest the reasons to change email addresses is because you were getting too much junk at the old address?

If I move, I’m not gonna share my new address with Publisher’s Clearing House. (Note to PCH: I just don’t believe you any more, I really don’t care if you find me ever again. No offense, but you’ve been telling me for more than 30 years that I “may have already won” and I never have! So please find someplace else to peddle your magazines!)

I sure AM gonna tell Rolling Stone. I want them to know where I am. We’ve got a life time subscription!

And if one day I need to find somebody I once corresponded with over the value of a particular drip irrigation system, I figure it’s my responsibility to keep up with that! It’s sure not that company’s responsibility to keep up with me — especially if I only wrote to them one time!

How many people can you actually keep up with? Seems like I read a study about that one time and maybe it was some number close to a couple dozen. (If you know, please shoot a comment thru!)

I just checked my list — for laughs. There are about 500 names in my current Eudora address book. That doesn’t count those in the master excel spread sheet of old contacts from another computer or the contacts in my current outlook list. That doesn’t count the single names that are really lists of names.

I also noticed as I went through, that I have no idea who some of those people are. So do I think they’ll care if they never hear from me again? Nope! I suppose I ought to spend some time deciding which of these addresses to keep and which to archive to that master spread sheet just in case. But that would take time I just don’t feel like spending right now. And I know that the longer I wait, the longer it will take to actually go through that list. But putting off for tomorrow always seems like the easy choice. I do think that backing up that list of contacts is an excellent idea! THAT I think I will do now.

You know, I’m thinking this could be the same kind of put-off exercise as backing up your computer files. But you do have a plan for that, right?

Back in the day, the size of your Rolodex was some sort of measure of your worth as a business person. But now, the list in the computer is invisible to the untrained eye.

So do me a favor, if you don’t really know me, or you don’t particularly want to either give me something, or ask for something, don’t bother telling me that you’ve moved.

Hey, if you think a person should care, ask yourself this question: “When was the last time you had contact with them?”

Friends, even acquaintances and business contacts, need some kind of attention from time to time if they are to be of any kind of use when you really do need them.

As the old song goes, “Reach out and touch me.” But if we’ve never met… then let’s have a formal introduction first.

Is this a rambling? Probably.
Thanks for reading.

Does intuition work for you?

I have been thinking about intuition lately. I have some decisions to make that aren’t life altering, but they are important. My intuition will play a big part in my process.

Mean Man photo by chilombiano from MorgueFile.comOnce a man I knew fairly spit at me, “Your intuition has landed you on your feet for a long time, but you shouldn’t trust that it will always work!”

Uh? Why not?

It does work for me. And when it doesn’t I do have find a way to fix the mistake. (Yep, it does happen!)

However, I also like to think that if I make a decision I have considered at least some options. I like to think that I’ve made the right choice. (After all, who makes decisions, on purpose, and believes they are wrong?)

How can you tell that your intuition is giving you the straight scoop and not just reflecting some history or gossip or something else that’s really just getting in the way? What is it that makes me just know when something or someone is just right, or just isn’t quite right, or maybe more accurately, isn’t quite as it seems?

Dori Molitor wrote a piece called The Sensory Potential about using all five senses to connect with customers. The article published by The Hub click here. She said:

Intuition is a felt understanding that’s capable of sizing up a brand and judging whether it’s authentic, credible and worthy of our trust — all in the same millisecond. Many times, intuitive feelings seem contrary to reasoned logic, but more often than not they prove to be right. … Our intuition tells us, right away, whether we should trust a brand or not. And if you don’t earn your consumers’ trust, you have nothing!

Authentic is a word that coaches throw around a lot. And it’s one that just feels particularly INauthentic to me. But maybe real authenticity does matter in the recesses of my brain that are my intuition.

I depend on my intuition to make all kinds of decisions in my life, from whether I should fly or drive to a vacation in Vermont to whether this is the right plumber for me to whether these pants really do make me look fat.

It’s your intuition that tells you the red car will make you feel faster. It’s your intuition that tells you that a coach really will help you figure out how to make your life work better. It’s your intuition that tells you that I am – or am not – the right coach for you.

But you have to engage your intuition. You have to consider that that still small voice in side you really has learned something from all those years trapped in your head. Maybe you should let it out for a little exercise.

Call me.. see if I’m the right coach for you.

Planning in the fall

PumpkinFinally, it’s beginning to feel like fall around here!
There’s just something about fall that makes it feel like the real beginning of the year. And here it is October…Does it seem like we’re already behind?

Even thought I’m long out of school and my kids are grown, this seems like the beginning of the planning season. And the next season to make plans for is really the end of the year..

OH.. So confusing.. But the bottom line?

Making plans is all about deciding. Making plans before you’re faced with a crisis gives you the greatest opportunities and options.

I know that sometimes having so many choices makes the decision harder. And if you wait til the last minute lots of options are no longer available, so the decision seems easier.… Hmmm, Is THAT why you procrastinate?

Here’s a story.

My husband and I went on a little vacation last week. He finally had the engine of his ’67 Sunbeam Alpine back together and a road trip seemed in order — a short one, all the driving had to be contained in a 100 mile circle within which AAA would tow us home if necessary.

As time approached, we didn’t seem certain we could go. We weren’t sure the car would be ready, so I put off the real reservations until just about a week before the trip. Let me tell you, trying to make reservations at bed and breakfasts on a fall weekend – with only a couple days notice – is pretty darn tough!

That delay definitely eliminated some options. And it did NOT make the planning easier!

So as we come up on the biggest planning time of the year, whether your thing is parties, banquets or vacations, start mapping it out now. You can eliminate some stress if all you do right now is put on your calendar the stuff you know you’re committed to: the office dinner dance, travel plans for Grandma’s at Thanksgiving and your, or your kids’, vacation schedules through the end of the year.

If planning is something that easily gets shoved to your personal back burner, a coach can help.

Call me (410.233.3274)
Email me (click here)
I can help you consider all the bits and pieces of your plans… before the very last minute. Let me help you make a map for the future.
P.S. If you’re still wondering if this sounds good to you, check out these stories in my blog.

Video games and the consequences of failure

It is with deep incredulity that my family talks about my college independent study in game theory. It was way cool, but pretty out of character given my deep dislike of games in general.

Donkey Kong I am also terrible at video games. Maybe it’s an eye hand coordination problem but I couldn’t even make the Donkey Kong jump in the right places. I could, however, play Dr. Mario with complete disregard for everything else going on around me. Heck, I could even play that in my sleep. I’d watch those pills keep dropping for hours. (It is true: You shouldn’t play video games, even solitaire, right before bed. Keeps your brain fired up when it should be slowing down. Read a boring magazine instead!)

However, I am so tired of people, parents mostly, complaining that video games killed play time or that video games made a kid commit unspeakable violence. If your kids can’t tell the difference between video games and reality, then you have a much bigger problem than thinking the games are making him do it.

But I digress.

I was tickled to find that librarians are being encouraged to play video games or at least to acknowledge that people who do play video games view the help desk differently. is an online source for news, opinion and jobs for all of higher education. The June 25 article reported on the annual meeting of the American Library Association.

Ever watch a little kid with a new video game? Notice him furiously reading the directions first? Na.. didn’t think so.

“With video games, ‘you can play while you are inept,’” said James Paul Gee, the author of Why Video Games Are Good for Your Soul , You can poke around in a video game. Try the same things in different orders and get different results (Or, so I’ve heard). Gee also said there are “lowered consequences of failure.”

I remember my engineer husband’s frustration when my geek son first started tinkering with the insides of computers. “HE DIDN’T READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! He doesn’t understand circuit theory.”

Says the kid, “Don’t worry, Dad. They’re designed to only go in one way!”

On demand learning is a very powerful thing.

Maybe it really doesn’t matter if you know all the rules before you jump in. In fact, what if waiting until you have all the information just keeps you from getting started.

So start now; or start over. Click AA,BB, jump, jump in a different place, see what happens.

If there is no blood, you can always change your mind.