... I had a Choice.
That's what we're going to explore in this article. How many times have you said it to yourself?
"If only I had a choice."
You may have phrased it differently, maybe more definitively - "I don't have a Choice".
How many of us have stayed in jobs that have been unfulfilling? Or jobs that have been unhealthy, causing us to be overly stressed, overwhelmed; working late hours, not seeing our families? How many of us have convinced ourselves to stay in such environments, even though it is clearly not in the best interests of ourselves or our family?
Commonly we tell ourselves that we have bills to pay, a family to provide for and, therefore, we cannot possibly take any risks of moving to another job. Of course, this is only one aspect of life. We're just as skilled at keeping ourselves in relationships and a vast range of other circumstances, environments and situations that aren't healthy or fulfilling.
In the rush of life we often get influenced by external things, obligations, commitments, responsibilities, expectations. Without even thinking about it, we travel paths we wouldn't ordinarily choose, if we were thinking clearly. Would you, for example, really be attracted to a new job that advertised itself as:
40 hours, but we expect 80. Breaks allowed, but don't take them. You could work from home, but don't. Your health is important, but work to burnout.
I'm pretty sure you're not thinking:
"Wow Martin! My dream job! Where do I sign?!"
Yet, for millions of good, conscientious men and women across the globe this is their reality. It's not what they signed up to, it's not what they want, and in all honesty it's not what their company wants or needs. Over time, however, this is what has evolved. "I don't have a Choice" has taken over, and now the stories they tell themselves are what keeps them trapped; and trapped is how they feel.
So, what's the secret? What's the answer? How can we move out of our current situation when we don't have a Choice?
You ALWAYS have a CHOICE. ALWAYS.
That's right. Let me say it again, "You ALWAYS have a CHOICE. ALWAYS". I know you may sense some resistance to this, but this really is an important lesson in life. In fact it can change your life. You Always have a Choice. A Choice in how you Respond, how you Act, what you Think, what you Believe, what you Focus on.
How would it impact your life if you embraced the fact that you have a Choice of what you do with your time and your energy every second of the day? What if you lived Deliberately and Intentionally? What if you didn't compromise your priorities, your health, your family, your happiness? How would that feel?
Now, I'm not saying Choice is easy. Change, and that's what we're really talking about here, is rarely easy or smooth; but that's part of the journey. There is risk involved; but you don't need to blindly jump into Change and Choice. It's good to be informed. It's good to scope things out. It's also okay to not have all the answers. That's where Growth happens.
You may be humouring me at this point. "Sure, Ok Martin, I'll play along. I always have a choice, and it's probably not easy. Great. I can't wait to throw more anxiety and stress into the mix. How do I start?"
I get it. Truly. I know the science behind it; but more importantly, I've experienced this time and time again. I was a product of a cultural and belief system that contributed to this. So, if you are sceptically playing along, here's another secret.
Align yourself behind a Purpose, a Reason, a Commitment, an Intention to do something Different.
If you're going to make a new Choice, make a Change, then the best thing you can do is to figure out Your Why. This is your Superpower. It will give you increased Confidence and Faith that you're doing the right thing, that it's worth the risk and it's going to work out.
Change and the benefits from it may or may not happen over night, but once you've taken that first step, you're taking control of your life, you're on a new path, a new adventure; and that's exciting.
Yes, other people may be impacted and may need to be considered, especially loved ones; but if you have the power to make a choice that is going to move you forward in your life, improve your life, your health, your lifestyle, your relationships - benefiting you and your loved ones - isn't it worth making that Choice? Even if you need to take some time gathering more information, talking to loved ones or enlisting the help of someone with knowledge of supporting people through such change?
Doesn't this sound more inspiring, more motivating, more exciting and more hopeful than convincing ourselves we have no Choices, and life has to stay as it is?
Now is the perfect time for all of us to reflect on what has been serving us in the past and what hasn't, in every facet of life. All of us have been through a period of significant change and even the smallest of things done in a different way have made a huge difference.
For those millions of good, conscientious men and women I mentioned earlier, there is a Massive Opportunity, as individuals, as teams, as divisions, as companies, as communities. How, when and where you work is up for discussion; and not just to benefit you, but in a way that will benefit the company, everyone associated with that company and ultimately the community and society at large.
Man, that sounds exciting. What a thing to be a part of! Not only do you now realise you have a Choice, you now have more Choices than ever before and a mass of evidence and experience to align your Choices!
One final thing. Acknowledging Choice and Change is certainly exciting. There may however be that age old story of fearing change. I have some good news for you. Not only is this natural, I know for a fact that You are incredibly Courageous in the face of change. How do I know?
You have Courageously faced the most significant change of our time, and of generations before. I'm talking about World-Wide, the whole Human Race, kind of change. The kind of change that impacts every aspect of your life. Everything. If you can get through that, then I know in my heart, you have the Strength, Courage and Faith to face change that is going to improve your life.
So, next time you catch yourself saying "I don't have a choice", "If only I had a choice", remember this:
You Do Have a Choice.
Now is the Time and You Can face Change.
Look out for the next article in this series - If Only I Had The Courage.