Each and every day, we have choices, A LOT of CHOICES. We have choices on what time we get up, what we eat, what we wear, what to work on and how hard to work on it. Basically we have choices on what we do and say from the moment we open our eyes to the moment we go to sleep.
I can already hear some of you saying that some of these choices aren’t actually choices. Some of you believe that these choices are dictated by others. And that’s fine. You live in that world and I’ll live in mine.
In my world, all of my choices are mine. Some choices may be easier than others but they are all mine. For example, I have a choice not to stop at the red light when I’m riding my motorcycle around town. There are consequences in making that choice – I may die, I may get a ticket or lose my license. But I have the choice to make. And the choice is easy. In fact, I don’t even think about that choice. It’s unconscious.
Then there are choices that aren’t so easy and aren’t so unconscious. If you think about these choices, the ones where the consequences are pretty negative for not taking action (doing your taxes, going to work, paying your bills, etc.), sometimes we may feel lousy about these choices. For example, we “have to” go to work. It doesn’t sound like there’s much choice. There is and yet, the consequences for not going to work may be greater than we are willing to accept. So it seems like there isn’t much choice. How do we make the choice neutral or maybe even positive when there doesn’t seem to be a choice or the choice makes us feel bad?
We connect the choice to a goal or value we have that does make us feel good.
Imagine if you made every choice based on your goals. Imagine how powerful you would be in your own personal mastery if each and every decision you made was directed toward taking steps that brought you one step closer to obtaining your personal goals. Imagine doing this consciously. How amazing would that be? Imagine how great that would feel each day.
You see, with every choice you make you are also making a choice to sacrifice other options. Making the choice to turn off your phone and be present for your family means that you are sacrificing the emails, texts, and alerts to other stuff happening. It’s a conscious choice. Just as it’s a choice to respond to each email, text, and alert that pings on your phone while your family is trying to connect with you. You’re making a choice to connect with your phone and sacrificing your family. It’s a choice. Which one brings you closer to your goals? Which one brings you closer to personal mastery?
Making the choice to go to work may not be about work at all, it may be about having a lifestyle that you love. It may be about doing something so well that you feel engaged and alive even if your boss doesn’t notice you exist. Maybe it’s just about getting moving in a direction that takes you one step further to a bigger goal, even if this job isn’t the end goal itself.
Another obstacle you may face is having goals that conflict. Wanting to get ahead and have a certain lifestyle means you want to choose paying attention to the alerts from your phone. Wanting to be a good parent or spouse means that you want to be present for these important people in your life. Which do you choose? This is the natural consequence of not ensuring your goals are ecological and adhering to your top values. When you sit down with a coach and go through your goals and values, you’ll understand how you can reach both goals in a way that doesn’t sacrifice the other. Without having this personal alignment on what you want to achieve and what’s important to you, the decisions you make will continue to cause you grief. Alignment is key.
And once your goals and values are aligned, each decision you make can be based on what brings you closer to those goals in all areas of your life. There may still be tough decisions to make. That’s life. Make the decision, evaluate the result and learn from your mistakes. That’s life as Todd Duncan says, “Learn, implement, fail and evaluate.”
The choice is yours.