New Year’s Personal Resolution/Focus and Option Solving

Going back to December 24th’s posting, we will probably have our professional/career priority or focus set for 2010 by now. This allows us the time to focus on our personal resolutions for the New Year. Of course there are those who would argue for doing it the other way around and that will be fine, too. Although there are some lucky folks who have an inner compass that keeps their lives on track over the course of a year, most other folks will do much better by clarifying their personal focus by early 2010.

With the use of Option Solving, your first step is to define the right question. Take the example of a widower friend: his wife died when their kids were still teenagers. His question could be, What focus will give my personal life a real boost in 2010, so that I can feel centered, have consistent companionship and enrich my life in other ways?”

Getting this question right is an important beginning but establishing the right, contrary bookends are just as important: for example, 1) Keep paddling away with current unclear relationships, and, at the other end, 2)Take off for Europe and return with a new bride. As a European who has lived in the US for many years, with two grown American offspring, the latter would not be totally off the wall but highly unlikely.

Bookends spur the more creative juices to start working as the intuitive mind starts searching for other more appropriate options between these two unlikely, diverse alternatives (see Chapters 5 & 6 in the book). Potential options for him would include: A)?, or B) Join a quality dating house, or C) Immerse myself in my seafaring hobby, or D)?, or E) Revisit all recent happier relationships and rekindle the right ones.

What he chooses is not important to dwell on, since only he can determine his intuitive, rather than rational, choices as he sees them. But, after an appropriate degree of “emotional distancing’ (see book), he can benefit from at least 5 alternatives for his intuitive senses to assess and choose his best possibility. Either within a few hours break or an overnight recess, he would come out with a clear choice. He will then be committed to that choice because he will have considered all other reasonable choices: this is a major benefit from option solving…rather than continuing to second guess himself. (Note: The next posting about my other student-daughter’s option solving exercise, to determine how to deal with a new part-time hookah bar job, will be within 7 days.)


Happy Holidays: New Year’s Priorities/Focus and Option Solving


As the holiday season arrives, with New Year closely on its heels, many people will be thinking about their focus and priorities for 2010. Success in this endeavor could make the difference between feeling you had a great year, this time next year, both personally and professionally, or feeling quite frustrated owing to inadequate progress in both departments.

Perhaps this means we have to consider completing two Option Solving exercises, one for our career and professional lives and the other for our personal lives. So maybe it makes sense for me to move forward on my career and professional side for now and then we can address the personal side in my next posting within the next 7 days.

As per the book, “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” (see Order Book): the first thing we have to formulate is the most effective question. In my case, it could be : “What is the most important factor that I have to focus on during 2010 within Leadership Solutions (see Website on) in order for it to continue growing, increase its client and brand awareness, and maximize its income stream for future client value investment?”

Once this question is established, then I can determine the two most likely bookends (see Chapter 3 in the book). By putting these in place, they will help to frame my thinking and, because of their extreme nature, will challenge my intuitive mind to surface the most sensible and valuable alternatives. Two bookends which most immediately spring to mind are: 1) Take an opportunistic and undefined approach, and at the other end 2) Invest my energies in a totally fresh market direction.

Now in your case, you also have to develop a meaningful question and then two bookends to prod your intuitive mind to encourage you to become imaginative and thoughtful about next year’s potential priorities and focus. Once the question and bookends are in place, you will sense your intuitive mind pushing your bookends away “out of sight” as it attempts to come up with the most realistic priorities (options) for your 2010 year.

In my particular case, I thought of eight different potential focus areas, four of which were: A) Write a second book, or C) Develop more products/leadership tools, or E) Further develop this blog, or G) Develop some new clients (see Latest Example).

Owing to the interdependability of the choices, it will require the maximum distillation by my intuitive mind to come up with the best option. To enable this to occur, it will require an adequate period of “emotional distancing” (see Chapter 7 in the book) to really permit my intuitive mind to weigh the pros and cons and make the necessary “trade-offs” to make an optimum choice. It will be able to do this based upon the countless experiences and stories I’ve heard or read over the years.

Consequently, I’m going to sleep on them tonight, asking myself the earlier question and looking at my eight options before I go to sleep. When I wake up tomorrow, the first choice that comes to mind will become my primary focus for 2010. That’s not to say I will ignore the others: they will be attended to as things unfold.

One other thing I will probably do, as a counterpoint, is to ask my colleagues for their input. I will take an independent poll and, if I’m lucky, they will agree with my choice. If not, I will take their poll into account and have another night of emotional distancing and respond to my intuitive choice the following morning – choosing between their option and my original option. Whichever one my intuition lands upon will then become my primary focus for 2010.   (NOTE: Next week we can deal with your personal focus for 2010.)

Daughter Removing Misery from Supervisory Challenges with Option Solving



A few weeks ago over dinner, my university preoccupied daughter raised a question about her occasional “side” job: “What should I be doing to deal with a new employer rule requiring us to take a 45 minute lunch break without pay?” Although studying to be a commercial pilot, she welcomed the sporadic job for a little extra spending money. She is required to waitress tables or be behind the bar at a major local sports venue in its VIP lounge, when it has events for VIPs, celebrities or charitable events.

Instead of offering advice (not a great idea), we immediately plunged into an option solving exercise, especially as she was quite familiar with my book. Within about 5 minutes we had phrased the appropriate question, “What is the most favorable way I can express my reservations about the 45 minute lunch rule without getting fired?” (See also Latest Example). 

This is a typical dilemma for many workplace people, who suddenly find themselves stuck at the end of newly imposed rule (sometimes seemingly unfair) with scant explanation. The challenge for the employee is either to swallow or address it. In this case, my daughter obviously wanted to address it.

We then debated the two bookends (see more in Chapter 3 of the book) and came up with, 1) Continue to feel miserable about it, or 2) Raise bloody hell. Neither of these were appropriate but they started prodding her intuitive mind to come up with viable alternatives.

Eventually we came up with six viable options, three of which were: A) Do nothing about it, or C) Bring my feelings to the company’s attention by letter when I leave next summer, or E) Make a suggestion to add an extra hour to work schedules to compensate. She ultimately chose one of the three others but her solution is not important (See Latest Example).

What is more important is that:

  • She came to her own conclusion
  • She didn’t feel trapped by her dilemma anymore
  • She determined her best course of action at that moment in time
  • She quickly reduced her level of anxiety about the issue

These are some of the benefits you can experience by using Option Solving (see Order Book).You don’t have to wrestle with tough employer dilemmas anymore (NOTE: There will be another posting within a week.)

Better Career Choices for Younger Folks: Option Solving





This blog is about Option Solving and Option Solving is a much better way for younger folks to make their career choices, than so many of the traditional modes. In a moment you will see why.

Younger folks have picked up a tremendous amount of intuitive wisdom in their lives to date –from friends, family, schooling, college, early work experiences, and so on. Intuitive wisdom provides an incredible bank of information to draw upon when the time comes for choosing careers. The trick is to access that bank of information in the most effective way: how do I access that mind boggling level of intuitive wisdom I’ve gained over the years? That’s where Option Solving comes in.

The first step is to come up with an appropriate question.  Perhaps one like: “What’s the best career choice for me now?” You can learn more how to pose the right questions from the book.

Your next step with Option Solving is to set your mind an additional framework known as bookends (find out more about these from the book). But two likely bookends could be: 1) Do nothing and just hope the right job comes along. 2) Follow the career path decided by my family and friends. The idea behind bookends is to choose extremes you’re least likely to follow: hence the ones stated above.

With these extremes your incredible intuitive wisdom will kick in, as it wants to reject these bookends. Then you should map out 5-8 alternative choices of career that appeal to you in some way – see example under Latest Example tab.

Once you have laid these out go to bed and sleep on them – as a younger folk that will probably mean from 2.00AM to 2.00PM the following afternoon! However, before, before you close your eyes, you ask yourself exactly the same question as you posed earlier: “What is the best career choice for me now?”

The first choice (of all the alternatives) that pops into your head when you wake up is the career choice you should pursue. This sleep break is known as “emotional distancing” (more in the book) and allows your intuitive intelligence to work at its best.

Once decided, don’t be put off by your family and friends. No matter the challenges or obstacles, this is the career of your dreams and should be pursued at all costs. Remember, “He/She who lets go is the one who loses out.”  Best of luck with your chosen career!  (Note: Get your family and friends to visit this blog, too! AND look again in 7 days)


Retiring Couple Became Stuck: Option Solving Solution

We caught up with our relative and her companion this summer at a canal dock in central London. They were glum. Together they had journeyed from middle England over several months, negotiating many canals dating back to the 17th -18th century. A retirement dream was going badly wrong.

My cousin (H) had finally retired eight months earlier from her City job. Her long time companion (A) had worked for years as a multi-talented, private contractor. As a segue into full-time retirement they traveled to Australia for several weeks to look up relatives and then stopped off at their favorite leisure spot, Thailand, on the way home. With their house rented out for months ahead, they sped off to their purpose built canal boat – The Maisibert – fitted with all modern conveniences (shower, cooking equipment, couches, comfortable bed and so on). Their dog, a Nova Scotia Duck Toller, was specially chosen for its desire to live near water.

But now in London H was quite blue and depressed. Living in a canal boat was too restrictive. She didn’t have a suitable hobby. Some of A’s holdover business issues were creating a shortage of funds. There was nothing of note for them to look forward to because cash was too tight for now.

‘A,’ on the other hand, was pretty happy with his new life, apart from the over-hanging business financial issues where unreasonable clients were not completing their payments: probably not helped by the current economic crisis. He was disappointed that H was not thrilled by living out their earlier dream.

Our few hours together provided the opportunity to introduce Option Solving. Initially we challenged them to come up with the right question: “What is our best overall alternative future; to allow H more time ashore with family and friends, to not feel under financial pressure and to have the opportunity for regular foreign travel?”

We then helped them come up with two “bookends:” 1) Keep traveling the canals as we are; 2) Sell everything we have and start again (see book for the value of bookends). Clearly neither was an acceptable option right now. Such options jolted their intuitive intelligence to consider their more viable options: including A) Just use their canal boat for weekend trips, B) H start a bookkeeping training business from the boat, c) Stop off and stay with friends as they moved along.

Ultimately they came up with seven alternative options and we encouraged them to sleep on them overnight (see emotional distancing in the book): then to compare notes in the morning to make their joint decision. It was agreed: if they couldn’t do that, then they should talk about the benefits of their chosen option with each other and sleep on it again the next night. This should continue, until one or the other could agree with their partner. This wasn’t necessary in this instance.

Three months later we received an email from them saying: “Celebrated my 60th birthday week with 4 days in Prague…We had good weather, food, wine and beer…Also had 10 days in Spain returning last Wednesday and we are both thinking about going back for 14 days in March …We also booked winter moorings at…which enables us to have a car with us…” (Next blog posting within the week.)