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Following My Nose

It's still winter here in Toronto, although last week in Berlin I saw snowdrops and forsythia, but not much sunlight. I was laid low by a stomach bug on the last day of my trip, and my body is still trying to figure out how it feels about food lately. I seem to be off chocolate. Chocolate! That changes the dessert decision significantly.

Today's newsletter concerns decisions — how you make them and how you might want to make them. Enjoy!

How do you decide?

In the first week of coach school at Adler, we do an exercise which I invite you to reproduce now (in your head, at least). In class, the carpet in the middle of the room is divided into eight wedges using masking tape. The wedges are labelled with the following choices:
  • Expert Advice
  • Fate/chance
  • Heart
  • Imagination
  • Logic
  • Values
  • Divine Guidance
  • Intuition
(I learned, when I was TA'ing, that there are more labels than wedges and it's left to the discretion of the facilitator how the wedges are labelled. I can't remember all the extra labels, but one of them was Experience. The thing is to recognize that this isn't a complete list of ways to make decisions.)

Decision wheel Now think of an important decision you've made, and (in your imagination) stand in the wedge from which you made that decision. What's it like to make a decision from that place? Is that how you usually decide?

The choice I thought of was the one to have children (oh, so long ago), and I stood in the Heart wedge. I could easily have put one foot in Imagination, too, and in fact a lot of people played that game, one foot each in two wedges. (No-one played Twister and tried to claim a third wedge with another limb.)

Next, think of a decision that you're still working on, and go to the wedge where you would never consider making a decision. Think about what it would be like to make a decision from that place.

Waaah. That part blew my mind. I planted myself firmly in Divine Guidance, feeling slightly weird about the fact that two of my classmates had just vacated that wedge, and simultaneously feeling bemused and a little shocked at the person who declared she would never make a decision from Logic. (Really? Never?) I thought about what it would be like to make a decision from Divine Guidance, and it seemed comforting. Also maybe nice to have someone else to point the finger at if things go sideways...


Obviously this is a great exercise for nascent coaches, giving us the opportunity to think about how our clients might make decisions and opening our minds to more decision-making possibilities. But I think it's also a good self-knowledge exercise. How do you usually make decisions? What makes that your favourite approach? Would you like to change how you make decisions, or entertain a different method more often? What would that look like? Is there a decision you're tackling right now that you might approach differently?

What's NewMy hair is way shorter now

I'm in the final push to complete Practicum at Adler. I've completed more than enough coaching hours (whoo!) but I still have a bunch of homework to do (boo!), along with one more mentor coaching session, which is where I am coached on coaching by a more experienced coach — it's all a bit recursive. I'm afraid there won't be fireworks or a glorious graduation ceremony with Elgar when it ends, but you'll definitely hear from me on social media.

On the business development side, I... oh, crap, I haven't done any business development — I've been so busy with school and other distractions. That explains why I don't have any business! Seriously, three of my client engagements ended last month, so I have lots of openings. If you know:
  1. someone in tech who is going through a change (new position, new responsibilities, new company, looking for a new job, learning a new skill...), or
  2. an artist or creative facing a challenge (making art and also feeding themself, launching a new thing, learning a new skill, finding balance...)
— please connect us! (And if you know someone who doesn't meet one of those descriptions but who you think would be be a good fit for my coaching, by all means make the connection. I'm open!)

Fun and Interesting

  • “I think the industry is kind of perverted.” Jason Fried of Basecamp is quoted in a Nick Zarzycki article about companies which are actively working to prevent burnout. How tech startups are trying to fix their workaholism problem [marsdd.com]
  • A delightfully unsparing look into what your brain is doing behind your back. I just finished A Mind of Its Own by Cordelia Fine, a neat little book about all the ways our brains do their own thing without bothering to run it by our conscious selves. The writing is jolly and very English — a nice vacation read if that's your kind of thing. A Mind of Its Own by Cordelia Fine [goodreads.com]
  • I love urban wildlife, including the uncommon beauty of the common feral pigeon, so I particularly enjoy Adele Renault's pigeon portraits. [adelerenault.com]

Thank you for reading this far!

If you like what you read, hit reply and let me know, or forward it and let someone else know. If you have questions or comments, hit reply and let me know. If you have seen something interesting out there, hit reply and let me know. Are you seeing a trend here? If so... hit reply and let me know! I look forward to hearing from you. ❤️

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Copyright © 2020 Amy Rhoda Brown Coaching, All rights reserved.


I live and work on land which for thousands of years has been part of the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat. Today, this meeting place is still home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island, and I am glad to be able to live and work here.

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