03 Jan Coaching Wisdom Two
Make Empowering Choices
This is a series of seven articles from my book, Calling Forth Greatness. I hope you enjoy these Coaching Wisdoms and that you will use them to transform your life.
“We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice is made in the context of whatever value system we’ve selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system, we are, in a very real way, making the most important choice we will ever make.” —Benjamin Franklin
Coaches help clients raise their awareness of the impact of their choices.
Having choice is an innate human freedom. You can choose your attitude, opinion, or political or religious affiliations. You can choose your friends, your employer, your interests, habits, and hobbies. You can choose between the red or green grapes at the grocery store.
Who you are is determined by the choices you make, so the quality of your life is directly related to how you make your choices.
The Choice Zone
Imagine standing in your Choice Zone and viewing your life’s circumstances through the lens of your “true-self” (vision, mission, purpose, core values, core strengths, etc.). From here you can make empowering choices. Your outcomes will bring greater well-being, ease, prosperity, harmony, and freedom from fear.
Imagine standing outside your Choice Zone and reacting to circumstances or letting the circumstances choose for you.
According to William Glasser, author of Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom: “All behavior is chosen, but we only have direct control over the acting and thinking components. We can only control our feeling and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think.”
Our beliefs and thoughts drive our behavior, which results in our experience and outcomes. Acting from “true self,” behavior tends to be more responsible, accepting, allowing, responsive, collaborative, and trusting. Our experience and outcomes are more energizing, expansive, and powerFULL.
Acting from fear-based “false self,” our behavior tends to be more reactive, critical, competitive, blaming, and controlling. Our experience feels more diminished, at the effect of the circumstances, energy draining, victimized, and powerLESS.
“We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.” —Epictetus
What are Circumstances in Life?
The baby crying. Traffic gridlock. Late for an appointment. Mother died. Car broke down on the freeway. Co-worker is absent today. Hair is turning gray. Spouse snores. Wallet was stolen. Computer hard drive crashed. Gasoline is expensive. Neighbor’s dog barked all night. Single and lonely. Hate my job. Spouse leaves the toilet seat up. Missed my flight connection. Wrong person got elected.
Living from the “inside” means making choices that are aligned with your vision, purpose, core values, and empowering beliefs. It means shifting your perception, shifting your attitude, or finding an empowering view that brings you a sense of peace and freedom from pain or stress. Making empowering choices in relationship to the circumstances in your life will support you in being more confident, calm, peaceful, creative, energized, free, satisfied, and more fulfilled.
Empowering choices re-connect you to your essential self. Disempowering choices disconnect you from your essential self. Your empowered choices may take courage, faith, time, and patience, but they will transform the quality of your life.
The circumstances may not change immediately, or ever, in some instances. The reality is we have little or no control over many of the circumstances in life for example, the weather, changing seasons, the commute traffic, hair turning gray, mother dying, or global warming. Other circumstances might be the result of choices we have made in the past or even in the present moment, for example, late for an appointment, took the wrong turn, someone is upset with you, you are sick because you have not been taking care of your personal well-being for a long time.
The Choice Zone
- Instead of being judgmental about my friend’s behavior, I choose to be curious and inquire for better understanding. (honoring my Values of friendship, compassion, caring)
- Instead of resenting the weather, I choose to look for ways to make it a great day. (Honoring my Values of gratitude, appreciation, positive attitude)
- Instead of complaining about my team’s results, I choose to be part of the solution. (Honoring my Values of partnership, contribution, responsibility)
Regardless of the circumstances, you have a choice about who you are being about the circumstances. And, those choices make the difference between more negativity, upset, and frustration or more inner peace, joy, harmony, and ease.
Consider honoring this guiding principle in life for yourself, as well as offering others the opportunity to make their own empowering choices.
Inquiry: How am I responding to this circumstance? What is an empowering choice for me? Reflect on these inquiries for a day or a week. Notice what shows up. Journal your learning.