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Decision Making for True Happiness


I coach purpose-driven leaders to develop their emotional intelligence building trust in a culture of full engagement.

Decision Making for True Happiness

 “Happiness must be beyond, or the fire will not burn as brightly as it might--the urge will not be great enough to make a great success.” -- Theodore Dreiser

Marshall Goldsmith, world–renowned executive coach and executive development expert begins his coaching meetings with six ‘active questions’ that have been proven (in his research involving over 1,700 people) to lead to higher satisfaction with life. You will note that each question begins with, “Did I do my best to…”

Did I do my best to:

  1. Be happy?
  2. Find meaning?
  3. Build positive relationships?
  4. Be fully engaged?
  5. Set clear goal?
  6. Make progress toward goal achievement?

The good thing about beginning these questions with “Did I do my best to…” is that it is very difficult to blame someone else for my failure. No one can be responsible for “Did I do my best to…” but me!

“In terms of the happiness question, my philosophy of life is simple: Be happy now. I have a great life—wonderful wife and kids, good health, don’t have to work, love my job and don’t have a boss. If I weren’t happy today, someone screwed up—that would be me!” – Marshall Goldsmith, Triggers

At the end of last year (2014) two authors, Beshears & Gino published a fascinating article in the Harvard Business Review titled "Identifying the Biases Behind Your Bad Decisions". The intent wasn't really to address issues of happiness, in fact it was more focused on organizational effectiveness, but I believe the findings are very relevant to any and all of us wanting to live our best lives.

Here's a sample...

By now the message from decades of decision-making research and recent popular books such as Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow should be clear: The irrational manner in which the human brain often works influences people’s decisions in ways that they and others around them fail to anticipate. The resulting errors prevent us from making sound business and personal decisions, even when we’ve accumulated abundant work experience and knowledge.

The authors go on to discuss how being aware of our decision making biases can help us understand what we need to do to begin to make better decisions. 

Some argue that happiness is our natural state and the reason some of us don't enjoy as much of it as we could is because we do things that jeopardize it; for others, happiness is something we create through our daily actions and decisions. I believe it's probably a bit of both (and a few other things) but that either way, many of us make many bad decisions in our daily lives that don't do us or our mood any favors. So today we focus on decision-making and especially, how to make fewer bad decisions...

As noted above, research from a number of sources indicates that biases in our thinking affect our decision- making; which in turn can affect how much happiness and success we enjoy. Try the following tips, then, to become more aware of and to remedy these unhelpful beliefs and attitudes...

•    Learn to become more aware of your thoughts, attitudes and beliefs. You can achieve this simply by pausing at regular times through the day to write down whatever's going through your mind

•    Begin to assess the validity of these beliefs; remember that just because you think something doesn't mean it's true (or helpful) 

•    Review this list of common "thinking mistakes"(HERE) and be on the look out for any of these unhelpful thoughts

•    Practice questioning your thinking and assumptionsthe way you might question or debate someone else during a healthy discussion

The ultimate goal here is not necessarily "positive thinking" but more so, thoughts that are constructive, helpful and as realistic as possible. Achieving this will significantly boost your chances of enjoying happiness & success! 

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put strengths-based leadership into action?Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to build a company culture built on trust? Transformational leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a transformational leader who inspires individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevatingenergy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders create a culture where respect and trust flourish.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I 2.0, Hogan Lead, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture strengths-based conversations in the workplace. You can become an inspiring leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded rare "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

Are you an executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results?

Did you know that research has demonstrated, that the most effective leaders model high emotional intelligence, and that EQ can be learned? It takes self-awareness, empathy, and compassion to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. 

Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company.  Mindfulleadership starts from within.

I am a consulting psychologist and executive coach. I believe coaching is a collaborative process of providing people with the resources and opportunities they need to self manage, develop change resiliency and become more effective. Utilizing instrumented assessments - clients set clear goals, make optimal use of their strengths, and take action to create desired changes aligned with personal values.

I have been chosen as an expert to appear on radio and TV, MSNBC, CBS Health Watch and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, Time and Fast Company.

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness.

After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity and more stress resiliency helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

For more information, please go to, write to, or call 415-546-1252.

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