Thinking critically with Bethan Winn

Written by Megan MacNeill

Thinking critically with Bethan Winn
February 3, 2021

Introduction

When Bethan invited me through Instagram to one of her sessions I had no idea what I was getting into, yet her energy and overall vibe were so infatuating I made the decision to go anyway. Little did I know that in episode 23 of the Personal Branding Exposed Podcast we’d get to have an entire session on going with your gut feeling when making decisions.

Our conversation yielded some great insights about how to make decision-making in business a lot easier, and how to avoid unnecessary overthinking. So, without further ado, here’s how that went.

A Little Bit About Bethan

Much like you may be feeling right now, at the beginning of the episode I was really curious about what career path leads someone towards becoming a critical thinking expert?

Bethan explains that (much like my other guest, Sarah Blake) it all began through an exemplar academic career: “My background is in education. I worked for UWA’s teaching programs for many years when I moved over from the UK and was asked to write a critical thinking program, I was like ‘oh yeah, cool I can do that’, and that’s where they taught me science communication, effective communication, English Media, that kind of stuff, so I did that and thought ‘wow, this is amazing!’ I learned so much and decided to study it further and found it had lots of uses for personal development, so I kind of took it out of the classroom, trialed it as a personal development course with people, and they started saying ‘this is actually useful for leadership development as well.’

And so, Bethan started her current business, teaching people to develop critical thinking skills that can be applied for different areas of one’s life, be it personal, professional, or academic.

Decision Making For Business Owners

Now, decision-making is a huge part of owning a business, and since I know that most of my audience consists of business owners, the very first thing I asked Bethan was what her main takeaways were.

She replied: “I guess decision-making is one of the ways I’ve made it really accessible to people, if you’re in a business by yourself you have to take things forward, so I try to make it very practical, we might go through a process where you have to say what’s on your mind if it’s a quick decision then things like a coin flip, where you need to tap into your gut feeling, so you flip a coin, not to make the decision for you, but to know how you feel.”

This method is one I can actually attest to as I’ve actually used it before and indeed, sometimes you just need to figure out what your intuition tells you, so flipping a coin a getting either disappointed or relieved at the result is actually a great way to go about it.

For decisions that are not so on the spot, however, Bethan uses a different tool, a dice, as a way to literally look at the issue from different angles and figuring out the best, or worst-case scenario, potential consequences, and so on.

Don’t Be Afraid to Try Things Out

From there our conversation took a turn towards the idea that when making a decision, we should not be afraid to try out different options if the outcomes are not irreversible.

After all, we only begin to truly understand the outcomes of our choices if we live through them first, and if there is nothing major on the line, what would be the harm?

Here is what Bethan had to say about it: “In order to know if it’s a good decision or not, sometimes you just have to try it out and get that feedback, and then you know, moving forward, sometimes you win, sometimes you learn whether to continue on that track or go “actually, maybe it’s not such a good choice, and I’ll go with plan B, C or D.”

That is to say, you’ll never know if something is a good idea until you try it, and even if it doesn’t work out, you’ll still come out of the experience knowing more than you did before.

Decision Fatigue

At a certain point in the episode, we got to talk about something that I and so many people tend to experience in our day to day and that is decision fatigue.

We as human beings actually have a limited ability to make decisions before getting confused or downright stressed, and in order to avoid that, Bethan Had the following advice: “I guess the classic stuff is to make it simple for yourself, have the routines and I know some people for whom ‘what’s for dinner?’ is the worst possible question, some people love it, some people don’t, it’s quite dull, but we have a setlist of things we have in the fridge, so ‘today will be one option out of five’, or we get takeaway, but we have the go-to takeaway, because it’s too much to think of other things, and that is how we make it easier for ourselves.”

A good example of this simplification principle put into practice can be found in Albert Einstein’s closet as he always wore the exact same outfit for almost all occasions so that he wasted as little time on everyday choices as possible.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, critical thinking is a necessary skill for all walks of life and helping us make decisions is just one of the ways we employ it. Yet, in this simple way, we can already see how it can positively impact our ability to call the shots, or even sparing ourselves from having to do so.

So, if you have just made the choice to finally start investing in a strong personal brand to dominate your niche, you should start putting that to practice by getting in contact with me through email or any of my social media.

You can watch the full episode here or listen wherever you get your podcasts from!

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