Today’s topic is not going to sit well with some of you, and I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t share it anyway. It is this: the little individual choices that you make over time equal your results AND if you don’t like your results, make different choices.
I know…Ouch! Hang with me here.
We tend to focus our attention on the big choices, the big results…like do I take this job, buy that car, or move to that city. And yet, the things that have the greatest impact for us tend to be the little choices that we make every day…like how do I respond when my colleague snaps at me, or what do I have for lunch. Those choices determine whether you become the victim or the creator of your life.
Some of you may know that my current assignment in Miami ends this summer. Once my assignment is up, the government will place me somewhere else in the world, despite the fact that I previously felt certain I wanted to stay in Miami.
Now, I could have told myself, “I have no choice. The government will put me wherever they put me and I have to go or else I’ll be fired.”
However, I decided to claim the power of choice and apply for a position here in Miami. When I went in for the interview, they suggested a position just like the one in Miami only in Los Angeles. In that moment, I had a choice to make: Victim or Creator. I decided “Creator.”
Let me show you how it works.
1. You Always Have A Choice. . .
People like us who work in bureaucratic organizations often have a voice in our head that says, “I had no choice, I had to do XYZ, there was no other option.” Sometimes we even say it out loud. (Note: When you say it out loud, not only do you confirm “victimhood” to yourself, you let everybody else see you as a victim too. Who wants that?!)
You always have a choice. You might not like the options from which you are choosing, but you always have a choice.
The thing is, when you recognize that you have a choice, even if you don’t like the options, you give up the role of victim and deliberately choose the role of being the creator of your life.
2. There Are Things You Can’t Change
I was talking to a friend at work and she commented that sometimes there are things you just can’t change.
Yep. She is absolutely correct. You cannot make it stop raining. You can choose, however, to play in the rain, carry an umbrella, or stay inside. You may not be able to change the policies of your current organization (yet). You can choose to use the policies to your advantage, accept the policies for now because you have a higher goal, or choose a different organization.
You still have the power of choice, and the choice is still yours.
3. It’s more than semantics. . .
Some of you are thinking, “this is just semantics,” and you are partly right. I do want to change how you talk about the situation. But there is a more important reason for you to claim the power of choice. When you’re faced with a situation that offers what seems to be a choice of “do it or else,” remember that the “or else” is usually just what we tend to see first.
In my case, for example, I could have said, “My choices are move to LA and remain employed OR don’t move to LA and get fired. (It wasn’t really that drastic but you get the point.) I don’t really care for either of those options.”
When you recognize that you have two (or more) options you’re not interested in, your brain will immediately begin looking for alternatives and asking questions. Often one little tweak can be a game changer and open opportunities…even miracles… you didn’t initially see.
Back to my example, I asked myself “What is it about moving to Los Angeles that I don’t like?” I didn’t want to leave Miami because I thought it would mean leaving my life partner. But once the potential for Los Angeles came up, he and I were able to figure out a way for both of us to do our work and still be together. All of the sudden, it wasn’t such a big deal, and we have a big adventure on the horizon. Now I’m back in control of my life because I “chose” Los Angeles instead of “being sent.”
You can claim the power of choice to create the career, and life, you want too. Where in your life are you being a victim by saying that you have no choice? What choices do you really have? Add your comments below.
If you realize that you are tired of being a victim and need some help to claim the power of choice for yourself, follow this LINK to set up a FREE Leadership Design Consultation and get ready to start creating the career, and life, you dream of.