Change is inevitable. And with change comes uncertainty. So, how can people in business, particularly those running a start-up or small business, which are often more sensitive to change, ensure they make the best decisions they can when so little is certain?
Here, John Reynard, author of ‘The Spiritual Route to Entrepreneurial Success” highlights 5 things you can do to help you make good decisions, even when there is confusion all around;
1. Follow your intuition
Intuition is the voice of our Higher Self. It comes to us spontaneously with an uplifting feeling, or voice and nudges us forward in our lives. It enables us to see behind statistics and forecasts, and make useful predictions in spite of incomplete information.
It is never manipulative and leads us to original decisions that bring about win-win solutions. It unlocks creativity, makes life smoother, more fun, and sometimes defies logic, at least initially.
As with all skills, the more you tune in to your intuition, the better you get at recognising it and the more confident you become in following it. We nurture our intuition by regularly absorbing ourselves in activities that take us completely away from our routine thinking, out of our heads, and into our bodies.
For me, this is through walking in nature, for others it might be running, horse riding or dancing to music. The main criterion is that it be pleasurable and regular.
2. Resist blaming others
Whilst it might be tempting to blame others for the situation you find yourself in, it will serve no purpose. Such responses are debilitating because we effectively relinquish control and give away our power to respond. Blaming others justifies inactivity. It is the coward’s way of avoiding stepping up and taking responsibility.
It is by asking ourselves honestly and sincerely what exactly it is we need to learn from what has happened and where we are now, that we move forward.
There are no challenges that do not bring potential new opportunities. Disasters occur only when we close down and block the learning that the ‘problem’ is asking us to embrace.
3. Time to turn inwards
When we feel confused, overwhelmed, pulled in one direction and then another it is tempting to switch off and do nothing, and ultimately that can be devastating. At such times, answers are not to be found in the world around us.
Instead we need to connect and listen to our own Higher Self, that place within all of us which is all knowing, compassionate and the truth of who we really are. It is by seeking direction from our own inner guide that we find solutions beyond the cacophony of all that is happening around us.
For me, the best way to connect with my Higher Self is through mediation. It calms my mind, lessens the degree to which I get distracted by fear-based thoughts and makes a significant difference to my ability to live in the present.
I get a sense of what is actually important, and where my priorities lie. Completely fresh ideas and new solutions emerge during this practice. I am able to see where I need to focus, and I avoid getting involved in distracting and wasteful effort.
There are many forms of meditation. My own preference is to sit quietly for twenty minutes as soon as I am out of bed and dressed. I calmly observe my breathing, and let my thoughts go. Such letting go is not easy, but with practice it becomes more natural.
As I quiet my thinking I sense relief and observe myself becoming calmer and more present. My breathing imperceptibly slows down, and I experience a sense of peace. The thoughts do not stop, but they become less frequent.
4. Ask specific questions
During meditation fresh ideas and new ways of seeing situations come spontaneously. There are times however when we need answers to specific questions. In such cases it is important to take a couple of deep breaths, close our eyes, and step back from any immediate emotional ties to the issue.
Our inner voice is best at addressing questions that require a clear yes or no. Hence, we get the best results by formulating our inquiry in such a way that a yes or a no will give clarity.
The right answer will always carry more vitality and enthusiasm and the first answer is usually the best one. Anything that comes later risks being influenced by our customary limiting beliefs.
5. Live in the present
The more we occupy the moment, the better able we are to hear and understand others, express ourselves, pick up on what is happening around us, and identify new options and opportunities. Our disappointments and anxieties effectively get squeezed out; there is no space for them.
It is by being in the present that we reduce our levels of stress, massively improve our concentration, and enrich our lives.
Being able to identify when we are not in the present can be difficult; the busyness of life constantly nudges us out of it, and we do not even notice. How we feel is a key indicator. As a general barometer, we are NOT in the present when:
- We feel pressed for time and in a hurry
- Thoughts buzz around our heads, and we fly from one thing to another
- Other people irritate us unreasonably quickly and excessively
- Our day does not flow: we call people and they are not there, our laptop freezes, or some other IT issue blocks us
- We forget things, lose time making good, and feel annoyed with ourselves
- We fully resolve nothing and feel frustration
- We go home feeling dissatisfied and exhausted
On the other hand, we know we are IN the present when:
- We do not feel obsessed by schedules and are able to focus on whatever is in front of us
- Difficult situations are resolved more easily than anticipated
- We are comfortable to take time out to talk to someone when it feels important
- We arrive late for an appointment and find whoever we are meeting has also been delayed
- We remember things just at the moment we need to
- We complete one task, enjoy a sense of completion, and move on to the next
- We feel trusting of others and able to deal with changing circumstances
Whenever you notice that you are not present, it is important to take a step back, give yourself a break, breathe deeply, slow down, and feel what is going on in your body. This in itself may prove sufficient to bring you back to the now.
If it is not, observe your thoughts; see if there is something in particular that is upsetting you and try to let go mentally of whatever it is. Put your attention on whatever is immediately in front of you and spend a moment appreciating what you do have. A degree of calm will return.
Next, select one simple thing that you are comfortable with and want to tackle; go to it and do it well. Focussing on one job to the exclusion of everything else will help significantly. When this is complete go to a second manageable task.
You will know you are back in the present when you feel renewed confidence and are no longer preoccupied. Everything will again have a sense of flow about it.
About the author
John Reynard is a business coach and author of ‘The Spiritual Route to Entrepreneurial Success – From Harassed Sole Trader to Visionary CEO’. Using the five top tips above, he built one of the fastest growing and most profitable companies in Europe in his sector.
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