Category Archives: Decision Gates

how to make the best decisions

The Scenario: You find yourself challenged to make a decision or a choice that you really don’t feel ready to commit to. How do you respond?

STUBBORNNESS is standing your ground when you’re no longer really paying attention to what’s underneath your feet.

Insight:  The energy source of STUBBORNNESS is simply defiance.  It can be defiance of your own fear(s), your own regrets, someone else’s opinion, or even your material circumstances. And while STUBBORNNESS may feel useful, all it really amounts to is empty calories.

DETERMINATION is exercising your will forward to achieve a target objective or outcome.

Insight:  The energy source of DETERMINATION is an ideal or vision of achievement. So DETERMINATION is clean & strong, and a great place to operate from.

The Takeaway: This is really about how you choose to respond to challenges. So just keep in mind that clinging to STUBBORNNESS tends to spiral your confidence downwards, whereas the conscious effort of DETERMINATION cultivates real personal power – and results!

Reacting fearfully only blurs the distinction between STUBBORNNESS and DETERMINATION, so give this some thought at every opportunity. The choice is always yours to make.

how to challenge those nasty assumptions

The Scenario: You’re called upon to perform some examination & determination of your circumstances. What’s the best approach?

DIAGNOSIS involves determining the nature of a problem from the symptoms presented.

Insight:  The output of DIAGNOSIS is data, which tends to be static. Ascertained by looking at signs & symptoms, DIAGNOSIS illustrates the nature of the problem under consideration.


ANALYSIS involves determining the elements or components of a complex thing.

Insight:  The output of ANALYSIS is information, which is by nature more dynamic than simple data. This output is derived from investigating not only the constituent parts of a whole but also their relations in making up that whole.


The Takeaway: If your goal is to challenge assumptions, ANALYSIS is likely to be more useful to you; the more dynamic output can offer forward impetus for your investigation. But if you are looking to simply describe what you’re dealing with, DIAGNOSIS is probably a more useful approach to start with.


how to get things done

The Scenario: Who isn’t consistently under pressure to complete tasks & projects? But you have a choice: You can PUSH THROUGH them to “Get them off your plate” or make the time to WORK THROUGH them to the best of your abilities.

WORK THROUGH is taking active control of the momentum of whatever you’re doing. This happens when you consciously make one decision after another, purposefully linking them together in a calculated series until you achieve your outcome.

Insight: Since choosing to WORK THROUGH involves consciously making repeated decisions, two very useful things tend to happen: (1) Each successive decision you make strengthens your ability to keep on making even better decisions as you move on. (2) Since you’re actively guiding your decisions, you’re very likely to achieve whatever effect or outcome you have in mind; you get done precisely what you wanted to get done.


PUSH THROUGH is rolling with the momentum of whatever activity you’re doing. You simply continue your efforts until some manner of conclusive “decision” is generated for you by circumstance.

Insight: Since choosing PUSH THROUGH involves avoiding proactive decisions, there is the real danger of ending up a victim of your circumstances. Should you let this happen, the quality of your outcome will reflect your choices, and you’ll have missed an opportunity to cultivate your potential.


The Takeaway: When you find yourself under the gun, take a moment to reconfirm your completion strategy: Will you WORK THROUGH by making decisions or will you PUSH THROUGH and accept the default outcome. Both options are usually available to you, so stay mindful that the choice is yours.


how to increase your personal authority

The Scenario: Circumstances call for you to exercise your Personal Authority – which is the most appropriate response strategy?

Using FORCE on yourself or others is akin to bulldozing around dirt in the expectation of digging a well and finding water.

Insight: The fuel of FORCE is often fear, which unfortunately constrains free and innovative thinking. So you will get an outcome, but perhaps not of the kind or quality that you expect. And since feelings of pressure & discomfort frequently accompany FORCE, you risk the types of outcomes one gets from being inflexible.


Applying DISCIPLINE to yourself or others is like making the calculated choice to dig a well where there’s water below.

Insight: The fuel of DISCIPLINE is motivation of success. So you’re likely to get the results you expected.  Even if the task before you is tough or even unpleasant, when you are exercising the freedom to do or be your best under the circumstances, DISCIPLINE delivers results. And more to the point, it can foster an environment of creative freedom, innovative thinking and maneuverability.


The Takeaway: Keep in mind that the fundamental difference between FORCE and DISCIPLINE lies in their fuel; it really is a matter of choosing to rely on positive or negative emotion. So stay mindful of which fuel you are choosing and why, and you’ll know exactly what types of outcome to expect.


a formula for optimal outcomes

The Scenario: Being EFFECTIVE and being EFFICIENT – both deliver value, so which one is better to focus on?

Being EFFECTIVE means doing the right things in order to yield the best results.

Insight: Applying your skills to a chosen target with confidence in the outcome can make you EFFECTIVE. This is valuable because confidence in your choice of where & why you are applying your efforts will get you the results you’re looking for far more reliably than skill alone.

Being EFFICIENT means doing things right, with the least amount of wasted effort.

Insight: Possessing the right skills along with a high degree of competency can make you EFFICIENT. Keeping you on-track while optimizing resources, the value of EFFICIENCY is that it can get you from point A to point B via a straight line, which has some real power.

The Takeaway: So the $64,000 question remains: Which one – if either – is “better”?
Well, being EFFICIENT tends to be more popular because it seems easier to achieve, and the consequences of being inefficient are usually not as harsh as those of being ineffective.

That said, choosing to focus on being EFFECTIVE means you’re aiming your sights at the result, so you’re more likely to continually improve upon the means & methods that will get you there.

The bottom line? EFFECTIVE & EFFICIENT work best together; they’re both important and shouldn’t be considered mutually exclusive. The key is to judge at the outset which choice of focus will deliver the results you’re looking for under your particular set of circumstances. As Henry Ford said: Put all your eggs in one basket, but then watch that basket!


the awesome power of being deliberate

The Scenario: From time to time we are all presented with requests that we’re not entirely comfortable with. But remember, you always have the choice of how to respond: ACCEPT or ACQUIESCE

To ACCEPT is a proactive choice based on evaluation and judgement.

Insight: The key here is pausing to keep the request in your mental holding tank for consideration. This gives you the freedom to either ACCEPT the request because it’s consistent or consonant with your value system, or reject it because it isn’t. No matter which option you choose, exercising your will gives you a feeling of positive control over whatever you were presented with.

To ACQUIESCE is to give in to something or someone.

Insight: By choosing to merge without challenge or evaluation into someone else’s context, you run the risk of ceding your will, initiative or control. One risky side-effect of often choosing to ACQUIESCE is that you might start to feel that your will or sense of self is becoming eroded by it.

The Takeaway: Life isn’t perfect, so at times the nature of a particular circumstance may dictate whether your best choice is to ACCEPT or ACQUIESCE. But as long as your choice is a deliberate one and you have confidence in your rationale for it, you’re still moving towards your potential.


expectations are directions, goals are destinations

The Scenario: We all have goals and expectations – but which ones to focus on to get the best results?

GOALS are tangible and concrete desires, easily measurable and benchmarked.

Insight:  GOALS have the benefit of being stable yet pliable enough to adapt to changing circumstances. Their advantage is that even your highest aspirations can be realized through consistently setting & incrementally achieving them. So if you’re building well-crafted plans for achievement, thoughtful GOALS can be excellent guidelines for actualizing your potential.


EXPECTATIONS are generally desires that have no precise shape or boundaries.

Insight:  EXPECTATIONS are useful indicators of desire but very difficult to actually achieve, being neither concrete nor tangible. And a caution: once an emotion-based EXPECTATION is temporarily “satisfied” it can have a tendency to balloon out into even bigger or even more EXPECTATIONS.


The Takeaway: It’s really important to take a good hard look at the things you want of Life and clearly label them as GOALS or EXPECTATIONS. My two cents: The uniquely emotional nature of EXPECTATIONS makes them handy indicators, but GOALS help get you there. So for best results I’d recommend keeping your GOALS in the driver’s seat and your EXPECTATIONS in the passenger’s seat – your aspirations will thank you.