It’s a common mistake. One that most humans make frequently. Sometimes the consequences don’t really matter. Other times they do and that’s what we’re talking about here.
Before we get to the mistake, let’s first talk about power. Agency. Your right to control your own life. You innately possess the power to take charge of your choices in work + life. Even if it doesn’t feel like it.
You have the power to choose:
- Where to live
- Who you live with
- Your profession
- How you spend your money
- Who your friends are
- How you spend your time outside of work
- How you respond to important life events
And many smaller choices such as what to eat for breakfast or what clothes to wear.
You get to decide what you want, how you want to think and feel, and how you want to act. This power exists at work, at home, in relationships, and any other circumstance that is important to you.
You use your power best when it aligns with your core values (which makes the choosing much easier by the way). And, exercising your power relies on your ability to self-reflect and set boundaries.
The Common Mistake About Control
You throw away ALL of your power by NOT making a decision. That’s right. When you don’t decide about what you want, how you want to think and feel, or how you want to act you give away all your power.
You let the circumstances or others exercise their power and the results of their choices influence your life.
The recipe for living a meaningful life doesn’t include throwing your power away. Instead, take charge of your choices so that your light shines brightly and puts emphasis on your unique talents and gifts. The reason you’re here.
Is It that Easy?
I feel your skepticism. If taking charge of our choices was easy, why don’t more people do it more often? Good question!
Here are some reasons:
- We doubt our ability to take charge of our choices.
- We fear we won’t make the right decisions.
- We worry others won’t agree with our choices.
- Making decisions requires mental, physical, and spiritual energy that we don’t have.
- The pace of life causes us to feel time poor. We only tend to make reactive choices rather than protect the time to make proactive choices.
- People pleasers have difficulty taking charge of their choices because they put their needs behind everyone else’s.
- We hesitate to make decisions that lead us to our dreams because we think our dreams are too big (and who are we to deserve them).
Imagine Taking Charge of Your Choices
How might your life change if you didn’t throw away your power by opting not to decide? Aside from eating at more restaurants that you like or watching your preference of TV shows instead of your partner’s, how would your life be different?
- Make time for a healthy lifestyle so that you get enough sleep, prepare healthy meals, and integrate movement throughout your day?
- Work on your mindset so that your thoughts yield feelings, actions, and results that you want?
- Look at whether your job aligns with your passion (or at least your values)?
- Spend more time investing in important relationships?
- Explore learning something that you’ve dreamed about for years?
What would it take for you to proactively take charge of your choices? For you to keep your power by deciding what you want, how you want to think and feel, and how you want to act? Try these five steps to get started.
- Start small.
- Think about a typical decision you make in a week or month. One where you usually go along with the flow but later wished you hadn’t.
- What choice would you like to make this time? Plan your decision ahead of time so you retain your power and choose intentionally.
- What challenges, if any, do you anticipate in taking charge of this choice? If you’re concerned about people’s response, try saying to yourself “I matter and so do my choices.”
- After you’ve proactively taken charge of your choice, think about the results. How did you feel? How did others respond?
Just like any muscle, the more you train your brain to take charge of your choices the easier it’ll get! It feels good to use your power to proactively make decisions that impact your life.
I’ve learned over the years that we always have a choice, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Right now, choose to stop throwing away your power and intentionally make the choices that get you closer to the meaningful life you want to live. #idecide
Let’s talk about how to keep more of your power!