A Fork on the Road ~ Now What?



What happens when life takes you into a "fork on the road"? Do you panic? Do you instantly know which road to take? Do you doubt yourself? Do you freeze in place? What makes you make a decision? And How fast can you make a decision when given more than one choice?

These are questions that can help you learn more about yourselves and how you can be better at how you react to situations, especially because many times, you are responding in an "automatic mode." Knowing your instincts when you are in "automatic mode" gives you a glimpse of the hidden fears you don't want to confront or the protective mechanism you have installed in your unconsciousness to prevent anyone seeing your weaknesses.


So imagine you don't know your own inner "automatic mode," and life continues to expand and complicate the choices in front of you. Now that "Fork on the Road" that used to make you panic or freeze in place has developed to multiple options, and there is no clear knowing which is best! Could you choose fast, or would you freeze in place or even worst panic and blindly choose just because you need to act?



Today we are all bombarded with choices from the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep. Technology has given us many significant advances, but it also has exposed us to a world that we are genuinely not adept as human beings to handle with ease. The instantaneous connection with the world can be amazing and also can be overwhelming.


The constant movement of information is so fast and vast that our minds can't process as we would like it to do so we can feel we are in control. The word, "Control," is so rooted in all that we think and do that it underrides our responses. The desire of slowing time so we can examine all the information in detail, evaluate all that we have learned from it and then feel confident of the choices we are making is inherent in our humanness.


If your job is one of those few jobs that have the luxury of time, where you can process information with ample time to evaluate and make a decision on what action to take, I say to you ENJOY IT. BUT if you are an executive, manager, and employee that is facing multiple demands at once, and all are needing quick respond, how do you work in this frenetic world.


5 Helpful hints that can assist you in adjusting to living in a complex fast-moving world:


1- Start by knowing that, in today's fast-moving world, you will not have the luxury of time nor of knowing every little detail of a complex problem or situation. Yes, it is scary to let go of the image or story you have created of what "I should know as a competent boss or employee" it's not easy because you may have defined success through the lenses "I must have all the information to be seen as competent." But this will slow you down and bug down the path to success. Yet, if you can let go of any preconceived idea or story that "I have all the answers," you open yourself to be seen as an effective and successful leader.


2- Be open that each day, the world is teaching you how to work in teams. The archetype of the superhero doesn't work well in this new demanding environment of multiple choices and the many decisions having no clear path to success. Being comfortable exploring the unknown and allowing the best ideas to emerge provides for an environment that brings the best of each individual in the team. Visionary leaders see the unknown as an empty canvas that, when allowed to express itself, will provide solutions and paths never seen before; thus, new visions and new opportunities abound!

3-Create teams that you know will enhance the environment and, therefore, your bottom line. So often, team members come together in such a random way that it is no wonder they have such difficulty with success. Teamwork has been a challenge for ages and not only in business. Yet unlike in families, you can choose who will be part of the team, and this gives you the ability to assemble successful ones. Successful teams are those that respect each other's ideas and allows for diverse approaches to be evaluated and explore freely. Members are encouraged to support opposites' views to enriched the synergy of diversity.


4- Be clear in what you expect and what is possible without boxing yourself into a story that can't grow. Brainstorming an old technique is still an effective one. When your team is encouraged to share what may look like "off the wall ideas," you cultivate a wealth of possibilities and, more importantly, a wealth of potentialities and opportunities for your business success.


5- Not everything is complicated or complex, and knowing the difference is extremely important. Not all executives, managers, and employees have the same talents or skills. Understanding how you react in "automatic mode" to situations that have multiple choices and demand fast action helps you determined what your innate skills and talents are. Knowing your strengths also identifies the skills and abilities you will need to create a productive and successful team around you!


Some Helpful Questions:

  • Can I risk the outcome?

  • Can I see failures as learning experiments?

  • Can I fix it if it doesn't go well?

  • How fast can I respond?

  • What is my level of agility to change?

  • What is my level of Risk-taking?


I have to say that I recently read a book that helped me enormously with some of these questions. I highly recommend "Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps: How to Thrive in Complexity" by Jennifer Garvey Berger

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