On the 31st December 2014, I will celebrate my first year in Germany. It was a year of self-discovery and learning. A year and a half ago, I did not speak a word of German. However, I took the decision to follow one of my dreams: Move and live in a country where the language and culture were totally unknown to me: Germany. It was now or never! If I had started to work I would have probably not quit my job to go for my dream. So, I took this bold decision to go for the unknown and try to find my way in a new environment.

The first things that puzzled me are the different reactions I faced when I explained my decision to move to Germany. It seems important to me to share those insights as you may face similar reactions when implementing your new goal or offering an innovative way to solve issues.

Four ways people react to your new goals or your innovative thinking:

I have to admit that I did not really know what to say to the people who did not understand my decision. They always found my reasons to move to Germany invalid and created their own narrative. It used to upset me a lot and then I realized it was their way to deal with something they did not understand. So just be ready to not be understood by your peers. It doesn't mean that your goal makes no sense.

I also learned a lot about myself and can sum up the following lessons I learned and I am still learning. I guess people who had similar experiences can also recognize their experience. 

Here are the lessons you can learn from doing something new and unexpected:

  1. Learn new ways of expressing yourself (not only a language skills, you can learn to be a better leader, a better consultant, a better colleague, a better coach...).
  2. Looking at the world in a brand new way, again (Some aspect of life will become more colorful and those that made no sense before will start to have one).
  3. Discovering new skills ( you can realize that in the end you are good at time management)
  4. Learning something new is confusing at the beginning but rewarding after a while.
  5. Look at the positive side even at the hardest time. There were moments when I thought German was the most difficult language to learn and then I remember how hard French Grammar (my mother-tongue) is so hard to explain.  
  6. Moving on step at a time when overwhelmed by all the things you have to do. Carry on.
Now, what is the craziest thing you always wanted to do but always hold on? Have you always wanted to learn programming or develop better relationships with your employees? You do not know if you can do it and wonder what could help you go for it? Here are my advice:
  • Go for it
  • If you dream about it, it is means you can do it. You have all resources to achieve your goal.
  • Collect information (there is always someone before you who took a similar decision)
  • Talk with your colleagues and relatives to get advice but run away from people who judge you.
  • List all the opportunities and options you have available to achieve your goal.
  • Break the goal in small steps.
  • Keep yourself accountable (write a journal, tell your colleagues, create a motivation group)
  • Know yourself (why have you in the past failed? Lake of support? Lake of information?...)
  • Understand your motivations.
  • Once launch do not stop!
I am sure you will take many resolutions for next year.  Make yourself a promise: "I will keep the resolution that really matters to me"

I hope you enjoyed my last blog post of 2014! 

See you all in 2015 and share if you like it! 

We take decisions all day long from our breakfast to the selection of a new business partner. Some decisions are "easier" than others.  This difference in difficulty comes from many factors some of them are our environment and the way our brain is wired. Some people find tiresome to choose a new car while others never have a doubt. Where does this difference comes from?

In developed countries, we can choose a variety of products and services from variety of providers and options. Decisions have become more complex to take for many products and services. We went from "one car fits all"  to "the car fits you".  The offer of almost unlimited choices is grueling because everything is subject to choice. We have a limited amount of energy to spend every day and taking decision is one energy vampire that you may have not considered as one before.

For example, few days ago, I wanted to buy a blue pen and went to a store. I was overwhelmed by the choices I was offered. I took me 20 minutes to look at all the blue pens and finally choose a BIC. It was a default choice, not a decision. At the beginning of a purchase, we may feel powerful and able to handle any choice. Unfortunately, the longer the purchase the harder the decisions are and sometimes for the worth. What can we do?

First, we have to understand the way we function when we take decisions. +Dan Ariely participated to a +TED  event where he illustrated our cognitive limitations when dealing with decisions. We are subject to visual illusion, irrational decision, and are ignorant of our own functioning. You can watch the video below to get more details.

After reading, and watching different sources about decisions making I summarized my findings here:

  1. We are influenced by the way information are presented to us. For example, Dan Ariely explained that: When presented with three options and having B and C slightly different with B better than C. We ignore A because we compare B and C to finally select B.
  2. We are faced with more and more choices that "paralyze us" and make us "regret our decisions" when our choice end up being unsatisfying as explained in another TED event by Barry Schwartz. The paradox of choice
  3. We are subject to Decision Fatigue. The more decisions we take, the less energy we have to deal with them. We will then go easily for the default choice offered to us, even if it is more expensive or of poor quality. 
Here are few tricks you can use while dealing with hard decisions. It can be applied at the individual level but also in teams and organizations.
  1. Define your benchmark and limits.
  2. Have low expectations. (Don't expect to get rich in one night after opening your own company)
  3. Take breaks often. ( Do not hesitate to say: "I need to think about it")
  4. Recharge your energy with a bit of sugar. (yes, you can have this "pain au chocolat" or "croissant") 
  5. For critical decisions: Let experts you trust choose for you. (It prevents feeling regrets once the decision is made). *** After a discussion with +rita jaskolla:  I want to add that you should look for technical advice more than subjective ones as the subjective ones are influenced by the person opinion and goals *** 
In the end, some of your decisions may be a life changing one: getting a Master degree or working full-time. Those decisions are critical and I encourage you to follow your gut feeling because it is never wrong to follow your instinct. "All roads lead to Rome"

Thank you for reading!
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