Regardless of what business we are in, what projects we are working on or what interests we have in the world, we are all in the business of relationship building. In business we are always cultivating relationships with employees, with prospective clients, with colleagues. In our personal lives the place of relationship is often more obvious and more central. And our deeper relationship with ourselves is at the core of how we manage and grow each of those other relationships and therefore our lives.
At every moment in our professional and personal lives we are faced with decisions one after another that create and move along the landscape of our lives. What criteria do you use to make good decisions, what benchmarks do you employ to measure your decision making process? The issue of relationships and decision-making are closely allied. If we are in close, clear contact with our own beings, our wisdom, our intuitive faculties - the decisions we make have more likelihood of keeping us moving along a path that is in integrity with our values and real goals. When we allow the rush of events to disconnect us from this deeper well of understanding and vision all that we do suffers. I hear over and over again from clients how there isn't the time, how the bottom-line is what must determine their choices and often their direction. I am not immune to the pressures and demands of the world we all live in. But if we are to, in some way, affect the world positively and develop a life that is worth living we must find some time to allow for the growth and development of that which will give us the foundation, creativity and energy to make moment-to-moment sound decisions.
How do you cultivate this essential connection or relationship with yourself? What nourishes it? For me sometimes in a busy work environment it is the presence of beauty or the kind and friendly relationship I have developed with my colleagues. My daily habits of mind and inspiring walk contribute to this. Sometimes it is taking the time to stop and allow silence to be present so I can sense the next move. I know that when I do this my decisions are more balanced. Each of us must look to ourselves, to mentors and teachers to cultivate even simple practices that we can integrate into our day.
When we are able to do this, to maintain a stronger connection to that core in us, there is a sense of our own strength and power that then comes forward in our relationships and choices. Of course our decision making takes into account facts, weighing of potential outcomes, the history of the issue at hand. But if you are making a decision, the context in which it is made is really the state you are in, your thoughts, your clarity, and your connection to a deeper well of being. These influence directly your perceptions, understanding, openness to options and solutions, and the flow of your creative juices. We must call on our own deeper understanding and vision to inform our choices.
Usually when we have cultivated this more essential connection it is easier to see or sense what is needed in the situation. We more easily feel our own power to stand firm in the face of conflicting opinions or forces. We can keep a perspective that serves the situation and begins to move it along in some creative and hopefully affirmative way.
The word Choices itself gives us clues to the components of good decision-making. I believe that good choices are ones that bring about more ability, more freedom for ourselves and others and ones that allow for continued growth in the situation. Here is a way of looking at your daily choices and seeing how they are or are not contributing to this.
A good choice calls on your creativity, your interest in finding solutions that may have been hidden. They actual feel good in your body because you can feel the energy of your creativity being engaged. This in itself is satisfying.
Faced with a decision you can always look at what is the healthiest route both for yourself, for those involved and perhaps even for the future. Healthy native cultures often make decisions based on the impact they may have for generations to come. We have lost that long-range vision and often make short-term decisions that are detrimental to the entire situation further down the road.
O: Open (also: Opportunities, Objective)
Does the decision keep you open to possibilities? Does it bring in a larger field of opportunities? Are you able to make it in an objective as opposed to an emotionally reactive state?
Inspiration is usually the outcome of a good decision. Even if the solution is difficult or the next steps hazardous you know that you are doing the best thing possible in the situation. Once more that in itself adds to your self-esteem and raises the energy available in the situation or system.
Isolation of some sort is often the by-product of questionable decisions. Whether that isolation is from others, our own selves or our talents and abilities. But when we maintain those basic connections we can more safely navigate the new and unknown territory that some choices bring.
At the end of the day, do your choices leave you feeling empowered the author of your own decisions or do you feel caught in a web of confusion? If the later is true it is time to stand back and begin to take a larger view of the issues at hand.
Finally, choices that both utilize your connection to your soul and serve to support that bond are those that will bear the richest fruit.
Ask yourself, does this choice call on creativity? Does it lead to healthy actions that support an open attitude and opportunities that lead to inspiration of some kind? Does it empower you and others to maintain the soul - the energy, the heart and guidance - available in each moment? Choices such as these create energy, not drain it; they feel good to us and at the end of the day we can rest easy knowing that regardless of outcome we have done the best that we can.
We are the authors of our lives and our business. Although we are each within a larger field of forces, history and pressures, each of us has at our disposal creative wisdom, connection and creativity that help us navigate the sometimes-chaotic landscape of each day.