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Ask Yourself This.

Each week I send an email with a question to get you thinking.


The best part? There are no wrong answers.


Have a read and see where it takes you. I hope you like it.

  • Writer's pictureJudith Ostronic

The sky today was cornflower blue. Set against mountains that were recently peppered with snow, and with the sun doing its part to keep everything bright, it made for a beautiful day.


When Geoff and I lived in Hong Kong, far from the snow-capped mountains I look out at now, I was a frequent and regular client at a nearby nail salon. For a brief stretch of time, I would ask Geoff what color I should get before heading out for my manicure, playing along as he blurted out colors that when I string them together now sound more like I'm describing a bruise than listing choices of nail lacquer.


Black, yellow, purple, blue. In retrospect, whether these were dares or actual suggestions is anyone's guess. But I said yes to them all, for better or for worse, because it felt fun and I knew better than to overthink nail polish.


These days I rarely bother getting manicures, having lost the patience required to sit still for that long without the use of my hands. But I'm reminded of that stretch of time when I outsourced my decisions on nail color, and how it was fun inviting Geoff into a decision that had little consequence or bearing for either of us, especially him, but nonetheless felt like a real decision. 


Let's think about that for a minute. How does adding or including stakeholders impact the stakes? 


As you consider your next personal or professional decision — moving house, retirement, enrolling in classes, stepping up in title or finishing that passion project — who are your stakeholders and how are you choosing to involve them? Are they sounding boards, advice givers or silent bystanders?


What is a time when you went outside of your comfort zone to involve someone in the decision or the decision-making process? Did it help or hinder your outcome?


As your coach, I may not be a direct stakeholder in your decision, but I am invested in your success. My role is to help you identify the people impacting your decisions as well as those impacted by your decisions, all so you can make better decisions and move forward in the direction you want. 


Walking Audrey today I thought about the last time I sought Geoff's input on nail polish, which I remember vividly because it turned out to be the same week he proposed marriage. It was a hot and humid August night in Hong Kong, and my nails were painted blue. Cornflower blue, in fact, just like the sky today. It was fun and once again I said yes, for better and for worse.  

  • Writer's pictureJudith Ostronic

Happening right now, approximately 13 miles from my house, is a spectacular display of Christmas decorations complete with life-size nutcrackers, twinkling lights, and people in wool caps enjoying mulled wine beside a crackling fire. It's Christmas in July.


While family and friends in America fired up the barbecues today and dined at outdoor tables adorned in red, white and blue, I watched through the window as a neighbor scraped morning frost off her car. Fourth of July in the Southern Hemisphere has a different feel to it. Less burgers and dogs, more deck-the-halls. Also, we're a day ahead, so it's already July 5th.


I was 41 when I moved overseas, and old enough to feel strongly about annual customs to which I had grown not just accustomed, but attached. 


I would sooner walk under a ladder in front of a black cat while opening an umbrella indoors before abandoning my lifelong traditions. Tradition to me feels like a distant cousin of superstition, something that feels important for reasons we can't always explain. Forsake it at your own peril.


But living in places where my customs and traditions aren't the norm means I've had to adjust my expectations over the years, as well as my practices. Going door to door singing Christmas carols feels weird in the summer when it doesn't get dark until 10pm. I'm sure my neighbors would agree. Christmas now takes shape in the form of a hike up the mountain with the dog, champagne, and a picnic. It's nothing to complain about.  


All of this has me wondering what you think about traditions, or other established practices, and what meaning they have to you. I'm wondering how you feel about tweaking those traditions as your life changes, your kids grow up, or the people in your life move on while new customs and practices take hold. 


What happens when you set aside the feelings or emotions attached to your established practices? How hard — or easy — do you find it to let go, or to make changes? 


Perhaps it's not a practice or behavior you're holding on to, but a way of thinking or a mindset. Changing thought patterns can be hard, sure, but what if that mindset is no longer working for you? How can you tell?


As your coach, it's not my place to tell you what to let go of or what to hold on to. My role is to help you see how your thoughts are influencing your behaviors, to see more clearly what is working and what is not, so that you can decide on the changes you want to make.  


Reach out if this sounds like something you would like to explore, I would love to hear from you. 


In the meantime, I'll be enjoying a mulled wine by the fire. July…it's the most wonderful time of the year.  

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