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Beware of assumptions. Have you ever said: "I assume..." Well, that was a good guess! Without all of the facts, it is only emotion and speculation that is feeding our perspective. Sure, experience and intelligence about history can play a part, however, making assumptions can lead to poor decision-making.

Five ways to beat the assumptions:

1. Go to the source. “Here say” does not give you a clear picture on what truly happened. Find out from the source the real message. Filtering hurts the clear communication that is passed from one person to another.

2. Ask questions. When and where did this happen? Seek out the who, when, where, what, and why. My weakness is jumping to conclusions before I seek the facts. Making assumptions without all the details hurts, too.

3. Don't trust all assumptions. This can hurt you and others if you and your team jump to make decisions based on assumptions. It can bring greater stress just wondering “if” - without knowing the facts first. Let go of the assumptions and don't accept the lies you are telling yourself.

4. Control your emotions. Running wild with assumptions drives emotions crazy. Why? You do not have a reference on what is true. If you drive your emotions with assumptions you can build up fear and concerns for something that does not exist.

5. Seek out the real truth. In our minds, we can conjure up what we think to be the truth. Based upon our bias opinions or what I consider more powerful: our fears and insecurities—we make up a self-perceived truth. It's not the real truth. The real truth is fact…not fiction. Real truth is not what we think, wonder, imagine, or hope for. The real truth is often what we don't want to believe so we... assume something difference.

When it comes to assumptions, my recommendation is to run away from them when possible. Assumptions create more stress, bring more confusion, and the best way to fix it is to communicate clearly. Before I say, “I know for sure,” I want to be very certain that the truth has been confirmed. If you cannot find out the real truth or fact, then move on and don't make an assumption. Just accept the reality for what it is. Too often we make assumptions because we want to understand the "why" behind something or the "reasons" something may have happened. But, the fact is…we may never know the full story.

I prefer to say: it is what it is and not assume I understand the “what if?”

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