Welcome back to another Rise and Thrive episode. Thank you to all of you have hit that subscribe button and if you haven’t yet, go ahead and hit it the subscribe button now so that you don’t miss out.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever had an experience where a phrase keeps showing up for you. But, I had that happen recently. I would be guesting on other podcasts and it the phrase would come out of my mouth or I’d be responding to a post on LI and there the words were again. They just sort of flowed out of me. When that happens, I always think that there’s something there to explore.
So what was that phrase?
Choice = Freedom.
The first time I wrote those words I thought, Is that true? Where is that coming from?
I think it is true.
I believe that we always have choice. Even when we are facing a brickwall or a tough situation. There is choice in there somewhere. My go to is to ask myself: where do you have choice? To be completely transparent, I may not like the choices that I have or I may wish that I had different choices, but that doesn’t mean that choice doesn’t exist.
The powerful thing about recognizing where we have choice is that it leads us to our next step, which represents action and action leads to learning and momentum. Even failed action leads to learning.
One of the hardest things that I had to confront about this was asking myself this question relative to some of the bad relationships that I was in when I was younger.
One example was a relationship with a boyfriend that over time turned unhealthy and eventually potentially dangerous. Did I choose that?
It’s easy to say no, of course not. Who would choose that? But the problem is that the choice isn’t presented to us in that fashion. It is presented to us as dozens, if not hundreds, of little micro-choices that we make over time that leads to a certain outcome.
What comes to mind for me is how many times did I choose to seek his approval and acceptance instead of relying on myself for that? I chose external validation over internal validation. That leads to a certain unintended result.
In the last couple of years of our relationship, before things got really bad, how many times did I choose to defend, ignore or explain away his strange behavior because he was just having a bad day. Did I know where that choice would lead? Of course not. That’s the very problem with some choices.
Does that mean that I somehow deserved to be in a bad situation where I was afraid for my own safety and I had to move multiple times to stay ahead of him? No. No one deserves that. And, at the same time, if I wanted to prevent that same thing happening again in the future, then I had to confront the choices that I had made that led to me being in that situation in the first place.
Of course, sometimes you do EVERYTHING right and still land in a bad situation. That happens.
When I got sick and collapsed in 2003, I think a lot of people who knew me thought it was just bad luck. And sometimes it can be and maybe bad luck had a hand in it. But, what I also know is that I made some poor choices:
- For months and months, I didn’t get enough sleep
- I stopped eating well.
- I stopped working out.
- I ignored the warning signs my body was giving me
That was PAINFUL: being trapped in bed and knowing that my own choices were – at least partially – to blame.
So, why do I say that choice = freedom.
But because when I look back at these events, I can recognize where I had choice. Where I could have made different choices. Where I CAN make different choices NOW. Can I completely prevent either of those things from happening again? Absolutely not.
But, what I can do is to do my best to tip the odds in my favor.
If I continued to make the same choices as I did in the earlier relationship, I would probably be right back in a similar – if not so dire – situation.
And if I continued to make the same choices related to my health, #1, I probably would have died as the doctors thought, and #2 I probably wouldn’t be the athlete that I am now.
Recognizing where we have choice is one of the most critical things that we can do for our own happiness, well-being and inner peace.
Recognizing and claiming our choice gives us our personal power. It gives us our way forward. It makes us unstoppable. It is the most empowering thing that we can do for ourselves – and for those around us.
When we are facing a brick wall, we can find the loose brick when we keep asking: where do I have choice? Do that enough and soon the wall will topple.
Thanks for tuning in. I appreciate you for being here. By the way, I have a free course give away on my website: bobbikahler.com. When you sign up for my free newsletter, you get a free 5-day email course called Find Your Forward Fundamentals. I hope you’ll check it out. Be well and continue to rise and thrive