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Forward 50: November 30, 2017

6 Decision making By Ali

6 Decision making By Ali Scott A mother and her young son were driving through an old part of town when a big earthquake struck. Mum managed to pull over to the side of the road and park safely as the shaking subsided. They sat quietly. And then the young boy started to shake and his mother could see he was struggling with emotions and words at the same time. Between catching his breath and holding it, he said, “I want to be brave but I can’t be brave because I want to cry. And I want to cry but I can’t because I want to be brave.” And his mother said, “It doesn’t matter which one you do first,” and then when the young boy thought it didn’t matter, he did what came easily and he cried. That night for dinner, (and this was a boy who didn’t eat his vegetables), he asked if he could have broccoli, “because that’s what brave boys eat”. Sometimes there are situations in life where we need to choose, situations where it seems we can’t do both. Stay or go? Travel or settle? Head or heart? Cry or be brave? And when we think about what is more important to us, we can end up going nowhere, like the Pushmi Pullyu, the fictitious llama-like character with a head at each end pulls itself in opposite directions and ends up going nowhere. Another name for this problem is a values conflict. Like being stuck between a rock and a hard place, going round in circles or banging our head against a brick wall, when all we are trying to do is work out what we value and what is most important to us. At life’s transition points, such as the nest emptying, a new job, health challenges or relationships changing, we are often in situations where we need to work out what is most important for us, what we are valuing right now, because as we grow we change. When Brave Boys eat Broccoli – or how we know what’s most important we are young we value excitement and challenge over peace and harmony. And when we are older some of what is important to us changes. You know you have reached ‘maturity’ when a cup of tea and a lie down will fulfil your heart’s desire. So, as we go through life’s transitions and are faced with those big decisions, what do we do? What was so lovely about the mother saying it didn’t matter, was that the child forgot about what was the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ thing to choose and relaxed enough to do what came easily. Because it actually did matter – the child needed to cry and then be brave, so brave that eating broccoli was a cinch. So, here are three techniques for sorting that values conflict and making space between the rock and the hard place. 1. Just pretend, for a moment, that it doesn’t matter. Pretend that the clouds in the sky are more important, or the dog on the street or the bird on the fence is more important. And in that moment when you forget and relax, you will remember something you know is really important. 2. Send those thoughts outside to play because the idea that they are opposites and at odds is an illusion. They are, in fact, connected. You can’t be brave unless you know when to be afraid. And crying takes a certain kind of bravery. Let them play away. And it may be that an even brighter and better idea arrives back on your doorstep. 3. If after pretending, and cloud Ali Scott gazing, and even after the playing away it still feels like the Pushmi Pullyu, you can toss a coin for it. Not because it doesn’t matter and anything is better than the tension and inertia. But because, in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you are hoping for. About NLP Traditionally, psychology has focused on problems. NLP, or Neuro Linguistic Psychology (Programming) has taken a different approach and focused on studying how people organise or ‘programme’ their thinking when producing solutions. The focus is always on success or results – success in its broadest Kiwi Innovation at its best, RE- START the Intuitive First Response Resuscitator is certified to the latest International Standard yet so easy-touse, anyone can help keep an accident or heart-attack victim ventilated until an ambulance arrives. Home – When CPR is needed chances are you will be with someone you love. Seventy per cent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home,* a spouse, a parent or a friend. 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Changing direCtion 7 Trish Coleman outside her new shop Photo Credit: Claire Inkson Tim and Trish Coleman. Photo credit: Nayhauss Photography Many readers will have enjoyed dining at the Nor’Wester Café in Amberley, probably more than once. Forward 50 talks to former owner Trish Coleman about her experiences there and about changing direction with her new business. Why did you get into that business and how long did you own it for? Nor’Wester was the most challenging and defining thing I have done to date. During our 17 years of ownership, it tested every ounce of me mentally, emotionally and physically. Timing is everything. My brother was home from Perth after working in the mines, I was ready for a change after working in local government for 17 years, and my husband Tim needed less physically demanding work from his building business, having been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. We saw a gap in the market, the ideal building came up for sale, we attracted the talented Andrew Brown as head chef and the rest is history. Experiences in the restaurant were far reaching and require a book not a Q&A to cover! Generally though, creating a restaurant from scratch with no industry experience was a big undertaking and a steep learning curve. Stepping up to food and wine challenges and competitions tested and honed our skills and systems, and we were rewarded often. Buying out our business partners in 2005 and managing the exit in 2014 were all valuable experiences. What made it so successful? While we were hands-on owners, the staff were our backbone. Over the years we worked with many outstanding individuals. Some came fully qualified, others we grew into professionals as their potential was realised. We involved our staff in a lot of our decision making, and were always keen to attract people who knew more than us. Customer feedback was king at Nor’Wester. It made us the great restaurant we were. We were only as good as our last service, and I was always grateful for the customers who took the time to notify us of their good and not so good experiences. Trading challenges Hospitality is not for the faint-hearted. We did a lot of behindthe-scenes stuff that people might never imagine a restaurant would do. The work around defining our culture, our training and development and food safety programmes, food and wine training, and recycling initiatives, they were all pretty special. Why did you decide to sell that business and start a new, different type of enterprise? The last four years of the restaurant were very tough, especially as competition continued to grow. Restaurant margins generally are very small, but with fewer patrons, ours went into the red. The Christchurch earthquakes kept us afloat for a period. The influx of people from Christchurch and the destruction of many restaurants in the city left provincial restaurants with opportunity. It gave us a boost for a time, but slowly the reality of not enough ‘bums on seats’ to sustain our level of product and service came back to haunt us, and it took its toll. I had neither the energy or the will to make the changes necessary for us to continue. I would have had to cut the guts out of the place to make it viable, and I had no appetite to do this. What have been the challenges in starting something new? Getting back in the saddle so soon was the hardest. Tim and I would have liked a year to recuperate, but the opportunity of grabbing the site we are in now was too good to let go. We sold the restaurant in June 2014 and began work on Mumma T Trading Lounge in the November and opened March 2015. We have settled our shop footprint, and have stock levels to where I want them. With the bricks and mortar phase settled, we are looking forward to stepping up our marketing strategy – there is much to do in 2018. What do you find fulfilling about owning and running a business? It may sound strange, but I love the challenge around self-discipline. I work quickly to find remedies to problems I face. Whether that be tracking down a person with the skill-set I don’t have, or reading a book for knowledge. Being self-employed means you have to be a self-starter, a self-manager, a self-discipliner. It’s not for everyone. In saying that, though, I am a very ‘unstructured’ person. Routine doesn’t sit easily with me, so I love the fact that I can design a work programme that fits my body clock and rhythm. Half the time I couldn’t even tell you what day of the week it is, and that suits me fine. Tim and I were unable to have a family (that’s another long story), and I guess without dependents we are able to go with the flow pretty easily. Our health and wellbeing is a big one for both of us. I no longer smoke or drink coffee and I eat three meals a day. I enjoy wine, sometimes too much, other than that I lead a pretty, healthy uncomplicated lifestyle. Tim is amazing in managing his MS. It is great that he can still be involved in this business at his pace, something he would struggle to do if working for someone else. What advice would you give anyone 50-plus who is thinking of changing direction? The answer always lies within you. If the opportunity before you really excites you then that is a great start. I then ask, if I don’t do this, how will I feel when I look back knowing I had this opportunity but didn’t take it. In addition, I ask, am I prepared to run the risk of this failing? Can I bear that risk? If the answer is yes to all that, then go for it. 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