“The three C’s of life: Choices, Chances and Changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life never changes.” – Anonymous
Do you remember in grade school there were two captains that got to pick the teams for kickball? You were either the kid that got picked first because of your mad left foot that sent the ball flying into the outfield; or you were like me and were picked pretty close to last, hoping to be picked to be on Jenny’s team, not John’s.
Well, you got picked to be on John’s, damn it! You didn’t have a choice who picked you, but you did have a choice on how you handled being selected to be on John’s team. You could have:
- Faked an injury so you had to sit out
- Pouted and walked slowly onto the field, refusing to participate or half-assing it
- Gave it all you had and made Jenny regret not picking you because your awesomness came out of nowhere, you rocked it and won the game with a home run!
While people may think that sometimes in life they have “no choice,” I beg to differ. All of us have choices, and we are exercising them every day, every minute, and every second.
After we are born [which is pretty much the only choice we 100% don’t have a say in] there are things that happen to us that we wouldn’t necessarily choose, but we do get to choose how we respond to the choices that are “made for us”. We do have control of our lives, maybe not control over everything that is presented to us, but we have a choice on how we respond and react to life. You cannot control the world, but you can certainly control how you choose to react to various situations.
Having control of your life doesn’t mean that you have control over everything that happens in your life. Sometimes life makes choices for us that we aren’t happy with and we get caught up in the fact that we didn’t choose that specific thing that happened to us, rather than how we are going to respond. No one chooses to get cancer, but when you hear those words, “I’m sorry Ms. Smith, you have cancer”, you have a choice…do you fight, or do you not?
Six months before I lost my job, I was unhappy. I was unhappy with the transition in leadership and the direction of the organization. However, I was already going through a divorce, the loss of my beloved 19-year-old dog, my other dog was sick, and I had my own health issues. Although I was unhappy with my new boss and a lot of the changes, I had been there 13 years and it was a constant that I knew and I was comfortable. I made the choice that it was best to stay in my job for the time being.
However, life had other plans. Although I chose to stay, on July 17 that choice was taken away from me and I lost my job, which presented me with a series of other choices. I didn’t choose to leave my job, but I had a choice now on how I was going to choose to handle it. At first, I was saying, “I didn’t have a choice, life is so unfair.” And yes, it is true I didn’t choose to leave my job, but I now had other choices to make:
- Do I hire an attorney and fight this?
- Do I look at this as a blessing because I was unhappy anyway?
- Do I go back and work for another company or organization that can easily dismiss me after 13 years of hard work and dedication?
- Do I throw caution to the wind and try something new that actually makes me happy?
Sometimes, you may not recognize that you have a choice because the circumstances are overwhelming. They overpower you to the point where life looks like it is just a series of constraints and you feel as if you don’t have any control or choice over what you are facing.
I don’t know how long I would have stayed in my job. Yes I was unhappy, but having gone through so much other change, I liked knowing there was a constant in my life. I didn’t choose to leave, but the choice was made for me to move on. And because of the choices I made after I lost my job, I am happier than I was 6 months ago.
Life is a series of choices and most choices are based on two things: fear (escape based) or love (target based). Often in life we choose fear over love. 80% of our choices are fear-based, we are afraid of what will happen:
Fear of making the wrong choice
Fear of the unknown
Fear of rejection
Fear of failure
People often complain about how they dislike the way their life is going. They complain about the same thing over and over like a broken record. Yet if you ask them what they have been doing about it to make a change, they say “nothing,” or they come up with many reasons to justify why they haven’t been doing anything different. It basically boils down to, “I don’t have a choice.”
I accept responsibility for everything that has happened in my life, whether it was outwardly within my control or not, and have the choice to take charge and create the life of my dreams. I can rise above my constraints to create what I want. My life over the past two years has presented me with a lot of challenges that I might not have “chosen” to happen, but I got to choose how I reacted to them.
If you keep thinking that you have no choice over your life, that’s exactly how it will remain. You will always be the person who is powerless over your life circumstances. When you recognize that your life is your life, and everything you do is inherently a choice that you make, that is when you will see a change. Rather than blaming the external environment for what you are facing, choose to become proactive in your own life. Rather than feeling victimized and blaming the external environment for what you are facing, gain power over it by choosing to respond with love (target based) rather than fear (escape based).
Are you having to make a difficult choice in life right now? Perhaps life threw you a curve ball and now you are having to choose how to respond? As you are figuring out your next step, ask yourself, “Is this an escape-based choice or a target-based choice?”
CLICK HERE to download my simple “Choice Worksheet”
No matter how difficult things may sometimes seem, remember you always have a choice. You have a choice every day to take a chance and change your life. If you want to stay in bed today and eat potato chips because life maybe presented you with something you didn’t necessarily choose, that is your choice and completely understandable; being sad is a part of any healing process. However, if today is a day you choose to get out of bed and Jenny metaphorically pick’s you to be on her kickball team, I hope you choose to give it your all and kick ass!
Remember, You Got This!