When life presents challenges and events happen — by the way lets be crystal clear, it happens to all of us — how do you respond? What do you say to yourself? Do you take a positive approach, a can do attitude or do you feel overwhelmed, feel like the universe has sucked the life out of you and you want to run?
Let me share with you what l believe to be a powerful insight that l learnt — the power of choice. We always have the ability to choose to experience life as a place that things happen, we choose how we feel and how we experience the world. No one has the ability to make you feel sad, happy, angry, or fearful. Individually we decide how we feel at given moment.
As a leader of life, it is always about taking responsibility for our actions and responses in all areas of our existence. We know that events occur in life that are beyond our control however if we come from a place of being empowered, then we choose our own response to events and fundamentally our results. In life, people often respond to a situation from a place of either at cause of a situation or at effect, we let things happen to us.
Being at cause empowers us to make an informed decision and lead the life we choose. When we take responsibility for our emotions, choices and behaviors we ultimately become the source of our results. When we choose certain responses, then we have the ability to change them. We create the empowered life.
The power of choice to create the life you want is the place we want to live. Pausing and reflection could be the difference in eliciting a response that could be reactionary, inappropriate and at times regrettable. No one can ever make us feel anything. We choose the emotion and give meaning to that experience.
Imagine you are driving a car and from out of nowhere someone cuts in front of you. You brake quickly to avoid an accident. Typically, a few choice words are intensely released, may be lots of horn pressing, and the occasional hanging out the window — of course no road rage. What often happens in the moment is reflective of an automatic response that we don’t consciously think about it — we just do it.
If we draw a line in the sand, we can create a line of choice between an automatic response (being at effect) and a more emotionally healthy option of a thoughtful response (at cause). We have a choice where we want to operate from even though it may not feel like it when we are in amongst a chaotic situation.
If you take moment and reflect on a situation when you were working with someone and everything seemed effortless. Reflect how people were behaving, how you were behaving.
- You all listened to each other respectfully?
- Individually you took responsibility for your contributions and your role in the conversation?
- Active listening perhaps?
- Group thinking drove the conversation before responses?
- Encouraged differences and a curiosity to gain a deeper understanding?
- An overriding sense of respect for each other?
Let’s flip it — take another moment and think about a different situation in which you worked with another person however things were pretty tense, chaotic and may be not working so well. Tap into the default positions of everyone involved including you.
- People’s responsiveness to each other?
- Quick to judge perhaps?
- On the mighty high horse may be?
- Defend with honor and certainty?
- Heightened conversation, back and forth and then the big silence?
- People biting back, getting heated and snapping at each other?
- May be you felt like reaching out and slapping them with a fish — just saying? Not that it ever crossed my mind.
- What about the good all blame and justify our actions?
Sounding a little familiar……
Hindsight is always a beautiful thing and being human is another. Recognizing who you need to be in all situations and the mindset hat that you choose to wear. Select the hat that makes you more aware of your emotions unfolding around you. Wear the hat that represents choice with intent rather than let’s just see what happens and fire off the dynamite when l need to. By choosing the hat you want to wear, and by the way, mine’s definitely the grandiose gold number with the pretty firework showcase, increases your ability to be present in the moment, it increases your emotional health and magnifies your brilliance to stand in your power to serve others.
When we accept a universal truth that that we all are 100% individually responsible for our thoughts, behavior and actions, we work from an empowering platform of driving own bus. When l’m wearing the hot pink big girl panties and my gold number hat, l’m in my finest form. Let me share with you a secret…….lean in a little…….the exciting news is that if you created the thinking, then you have the ability to change it. Holy crap…. Isn’t that life-changing! More power to you. Happy to share my hot pink panties with you!
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on February 3, 2017.