Without choice, we are disempowered. We are less creative. We are not encouraged to think for ourselves. We are not able to choose how to focus our time and energy to have the impact we want to have. We are not taking responsibility for our lives.
As Zig Ziglar succinctly puts it:
Your life is a result of the choices you have made. If you want better results, make better choices.
When I was feeling most lost, stuck and disempowered I actually felt I didn’t have a choice. I had accepted that this was how things had to be. I saw choice as a luxury. Something other people had. Something that didn’t exist for me. Looking back, that wasn't actually true and that was a major part of the problem.
I now value choice and I want to share three key reasons why:
1. Knowing that there is always choice is empowering in itself.
A belief I now choose to hold is, 'there is always choice'. And as I’ve alluded to there – that might be in choosing what I believe. A quote by Heraclitus sums this up beautifully:
The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.
The more I thought there was no choice, the less choices I made. The more I think there is always choice, the stronger that belief becomes. With a strong belief that choice is always available, I no longer feel lost, stuck or disempowered.
If you choose to belief ‘there is always choice’, see what choices then become available to you.
2. Replace the ‘have to’s with ‘choose to’s.
Choosing to do something because you know the impact it's going to have feels different to doing it because you feel like you have to.
An example from when I was teaching: ‘I have to mark these books. Why? Because I have to. I have no choice!’
Often, I would sit there thinking, ‘I don't want to do this.’ I’d probably mark the books begrudgingly, with it taking me much longer than it probably could have done. Or I’d put it off and feel guilty all the time I wasn’t doing it. Or I wouldn’t do it at all and then I’d feel a failure for not doing what I had to do.
I couldn’t win with the 'have to…’s. Changing the ‘have to’s to ‘choose to’s creates an important mindset shift...
‘I choose to mark these books because I want to give my pupils feedback that’s going to help them improve their work tomorrow, which I know will help them feel more positive about their abilities.’ This reframe feels much more inviting. I can see the impact of what I'm ‘having to’ do, and I am ‘choosing to’ do it.
Of course, I could also choose not to mark the books. There's always a choice. Remembering there is a choice is empowering in itself.
3. You get to choose what you want for the reasons you want.
You get to choose where you put your time and energy. You can pick from all the options available to you what works best for you, for whatever reason works best for you.
You can choose to think, say or do something because:
That’s obviously not an exhaustive list. There are infinite reasons why you may choose to do something. You can choose what and you can choose why. It doesn't really matter what you choose or why you choose, the important and empowering thing is THAT you choose.
Choice is such an important aspect of my coaching. I always encourage others to believe they have a choice, to look for options and choose where to focus their time and energy to have the impact they want to have.
I will be exploring choice more deeply in an interactive workshop on Saturday 31st Oct. If you want to believe there is more choice, learn strategies to reframe situations to create and find choice and make the choices that align to who you are and who you want to be, I’d love to see you there.
Find out more or sign up here: