“You are always at choice.” This is a declaration we make regularly in workshops and presentations. It is also a statement that many people often disagree with. Most of their push backs begin with this phrase: “But what about…”
It is sometimes very hard to remember that no matter the outside circumstances, you are still always at choice in how you respond to life’s challenges. Sometimes your range of choices are quite narrow and other times there may be a wide range of options. As a Creator, you are empowered through the choices you make.
For example, several weeks ago we facilitated an online 3 Vital Questions® training course. One of the participants, Sheila, was from Dallas, Texas. The week of the training a severe winter storm wiped out her internet connection, limiting her ability to attend the virtual training.
It would have been completely understandable if Sheila chose not to participate. As we worked through her choices, she opted to stay engaged. Her learning teammates helped her adjust and found co-creative ways for her to fully participate. At the conclusion of the training, Sheila reported the experience was a lesson in choosing powerfully what she wanted, despite the very difficult circumstances.
The innate, creative intelligence that supports you to choose your response to life is always operating inside you. For much of history, however, some cultures and power structures have tried to convince otherwise. Those at the top of the pyramid used their power to convince people that only they would keep people safe and well fed. This system reinforces the idea that the power of thought was not inside of individuals, but external, vested in the system of power. This is the history of disempowerment.
Today, people are realizing this is not true. Through frameworks such as the TED*(*The Empowerment Dynamic)® and 3 Vital Questions, the foundational principle is that you have the power to choose in your own life. This truth can empower you in the following ways:
- Creating Outcomes — You have the capacity to envision and choose outcomes you want to create. Sheila resisted the temptation to feel victimized by the Texas storm and loss of power. Instead, she remained focused on her desired outcome to complete the course.
- Learning and Innovation — When faced with unwanted and unwelcomed Challengers, you can pause and generate alternative approaches to the outcomes and take Baby Steps toward your chosen outcome(s).
- Finding Freedom — We recently listened to a profound podcast in which Brené Brown interviewed Dr. Edith Eger, a 93-year-old psychologist and Holocaust survivor. In her book, The Choice, Dr. Egan writes, “The foundation of freedom is the power to choose.” As a concentration camp prisoner her range of choices were very narrow. She stated in the podcast, “The ability to choose…is the true gift that came out of my time in Auschwitz. It’s not what happens to us that matters most, it’s what we do with our experiences.”
- Taking Responsibility — It is very empowering to know that your ability to choose comes from within you. You are not the Victim of outside circumstances. As is often quoted, the word “responsibility,” broken down, is your “ability to respond.”
- Saying “Yes” or “No” — Whenever you choose, “yes” or “no,” you are choosing. You are defined by what you reject as much as what you accept; by what you say “no” to, as much as what you say “yes” to.
Just as you cannot not create, you cannot not choose. The invitation is to be conscious and deliberate in the choices you make. There is great personal power in doing so.