We make hundreds of choices each day–from what to have for breakfast, what to wear for work or what to do during the weekend. We have options. Some of our choices may not feel like choices anymore in our lives, like do we listen to the alarm clock and get out of bed for work. While it may not seem like there is a choice of going to work or not each day, truly the option is still there. The reality is there are consequences or reactions to all of our choices. If we do not go to work today, we may not get paid, or we may even get fired. Since that is a consequence that is unacceptable, we choose to go to work.
Let’s think about how we analyze our choices – usually we look at the benefit or the penalties to the options before us. An easy example is choosing what to wear – maybe the criteria are color, cut or comfort (or all three). As we pull items out of drawers or the closet, we are looking at the benefits (looks great, feels awesome) or the consequences (uncomfortable, mismatched) of the choice. It may be subconscious, but we should apply the same principles to all of our choices. Admittedly, we may not always be aware of some of the benefits or consequences of choices until after the fact. If we had foresight and hindsight all wrapped together, it would make choices a lot easier!
When faced with multiple choices that may create a jumble of different outcomes, it can be entirely overwhelming to see a clear path ahead. I submit the first thing is to remember that we DO have choices. With choice comes power. Power in this case is manifested in the form of control. When we make certain choices, we may give up some of our power but again, it is a choice. For instance, my earlier example inferred I have control over what I wear each day. That may be true for certain professions, but while I was in the Navy, I had zero control over my choice of outfit. In fact, I had very little control over much of my life, but that was my choice. I picked that path knowing what the impact would be on my life.
Sometimes it feels as if our opportunity to choose is taken away, maybe due to someone else’s poor choice. That is a frustrating and disappointing situation; however, once again we have to look at what choices remain. I may be impacted negatively by someone else’s bad decision, but I have the ability to choose how I will react or handle the outcome. When we recognize and fully develop our own sense of choice (and acceptance of the good or bad results) then we truly have power.
CEO, The Professional Development Team