A Coaching Power Tool Created by Catalina Neacsu
(Life Coach, ROMANIA)
Choices – options, selections, decisions, free will.
Choice involves decision making. It can include judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one or more of them. One can make a choice between imagined options (“What would I do if…?”) or between real options followed by the corresponding action.
Choices. Choices and again choices!
I searched for a word that is opposite to choices but none would be appropriate, because even when one refuses to make a choice, he still makes a “choice”, he chooses not to choose. Still a choice. Our entire life is made of choices!
Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice. Ayn Rand
We choose something every day, all day. Important choices: our university, career, home, our life partner, getting married, having kids and so on. Ordinary choices: to get out of the bed, what to eat, what to drink, to exercise or not, what to read, what movie to watch, how we relate or communicate to others, or mood. We make choices towards our thoughts and our behaviors.
Our lives are defined by the choices we make. Some of these choices are ours, and some choices are made by other people and we simply follow the choices of others. In either situation, we are the ones who decide.
There are 2 circumstances were it seems we might not have a choice:
1. Our natural conditions: where we were born, the color of our skin, our basic physical characteristics and the guidance we received in early childhood. These are all pre-existing conditions that form us in some way.
Still, reaching our teenage era, our choices start to override these factors. We choose our toys to play, whom to befriend, what sport to play, what to do after school and our spare time. By the time we are teenagers, each of us has almost total control over what we think, what we say and what we do. We can choose to be polite or be indifferent, to study or go play with your friends, to complain or to act. Beyond our very early years, it is our personal choices that determine what we ultimately achieve with our lives.
2. Adversity – Yes, there are situations when “life happens”, there are things in the world we can control and things that we cannot. Truth is we have to accept this fact, not everything is in our control. Adversity is something that everyone faces at some point in his or her life. But in these difficult and trying times however we still have a choice, we can choose WHO we want to be in that situation, that’s what reveals our true character.
The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it. Chris Pine
Our understandings come from everything we do and everything we experience. We learn great lessons in life based on our experiences, encounters and mostly from the way we react to them. Every hardship presents an opportunity, if we see that, we get multiple choices and its less probable to become a victim. Our thoughts and attitude change our experiences and shape our life.
To understand HOW we choose, we need to have a better knowledge of ourselves. AWARENESS. Self-awareness and awareness of our interaction with the outside world: who we really are, our values, our strengths and flaws, our education, our experience, our emotions, our body, our soul and energy.
As coaches, helping people become aware that they have choices when they think they don’t, is great value we can give to them.
- choices in how they meet the world every day
- choices about who they are
- choices about how they respond to situation/challenges/opportunities/circumstances
- choices about the decision they make, actions they take, relationships they engage in.
Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you. John C Maxwell
There are 4 levels of awareness for engaging in our daily experiences, according to Alan Seal, founder of Center of Transformational Leadership Coach.
1. Drama/ Crisis – usually lies at the surface: blame, denial of responsibility
“he said, she said, this happened because, it wasn’t me”
One can get caught and react emotional to the situation or story, without stopping to reflect on how to respond. Usually turning out as a trap.
Focus goes on the blame “whose fault is this?” “how did it happen?”
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Victor Frankl
When confronted with a stimulus either from our mind, body, or our external world, there is a second when nothing happens. It’s the second, when we get the chance to make the decision about how we’d like to respond. In a stressful situation our body will automatically react, going into the freeze, fight or flight mode. When one is conscious of this response, he has the power to choose whether to respond or to react.
Taking a long breath, being present, slowing down, in that moment makes the gap last longer. We take notice of how we feel, where we feel it and then choose. In that moment we can notice the choices we have.
2. Situation – fact, reaction
After getting over drama, we drop to the situation level. Stepping beyond drama, enables you to see much clear what happened.
Focus is damage control: “How do we fix it?” “How fast can we get back to normal?”
Most often people have the tendency to disregard the situation, without learning about what has
The situation might not have a choice/solution right away but you can choose who you will be within this situation. This leads us into a shift of consciousness
It’s not only about the choices of how to fix the situation but choices about who I will be in that
situation and what is our relationship of what happened.
Focus now becomes self-awareness: “Who am I in this situation?” “What is my role in what is happening now?”, “How do I choose to go further?”
When struggling with certain aspects of yourself, consider finding your ‘space’ to respond, rather than reflexively react, the following as Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps suggests:
- Consider the person you would like to be
- Think about the meaning or origin of your reactions - understand your reactions, and their origins.
- Observe the outcome of your reactions - Pay close attention to the results of your reactions. By bringing negative consequences to your awareness
- Imagine a better response: Think about better ways to respond. Also imagine what it would feel like to respond more in keeping with what you want for yourself.
- Learn a more compassionate approach to yourself: Being critical will only undermine your efforts, instead, practice being understanding and patient with yourself
When we take responsibility and assume our choices we create open the door to possibilities, to
Anything that happens it happens for a reason. It wants to tell us something, to help us clearly recognize what is not working or what wants/needs to change or emerge.
Focus becomes – identify and create options.
We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize. Tich Nhat Hanh
Once the opportunity is identified you can move between choice and opportunity levels. Each choice reveals more about opportunity, the deeper you go into opportunity more clear the choice becomes. As a result, our perception changes and we are able to move forward with new level of insight and clarity. When living in drama and situation life tends to be bitter, struggling and problem solving. We give up the power to exterior and we feel stuck or powerless. When we move to level of choice and opportunity we take the power back. Consciously choosing WHO we will be in relationship to the situation empowers us to break free from struggle and create new circumstances and realities.
Choice and opportunity
The real power lies in responding from choice and opportunities levels regardless where the others are. This is how we radiate powerful presence in life and work.
Learning to live and work from choice and opportunity starts with being focused and disciplined, to step beyond the drama and to be courageous enough to name the opportunity rather than to just solve the problem.
It starts with being bold to choose who you will you will be, what relationship you will have to circumstances you meet and make a habit asking “what’s the opportunity here?”
In this way you help those you work with to start working on to the levels of choice and opportunity and also you take a step forward in creating a new reality.
1. From what level do I take my choices?
2. What kind of person do I want to be?
3. What are my values?
4. What do I really want?
5. How do I feel?
6. How do I intend to spend the time allotted to me?
7. From what level am I listening right now?
8. What would a wise person think about this?
We are what we choose to be
Each one of us is a singular extraordinary one-of-a-kind combination of physical characteristics, personal interests and emotional feelings. However, this bundle of characteristics let alone is not enough to live a fulfilled life. Not even choosing to do the right thing all the time doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. Loving someone with all your heart does not guarantee that it would be returned. Gaining fame and fortune does not guarantee happiness. There are too many possible outcomes, which we really cannot control. The only thing we have power over is the decisions that we will make, and how we would act and react to different situations. Getting aware of this is a game changer!
I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself. –Walter Anderson
Alan Seal – Founder of Center of Transformational Leadership Coach.
Lilia Dicu – ICF Master Certified Coach, Coaching | Daring Executive Coach at Lilia Dicu
Tal Ben Shahar – Being Happy and Choose – The Life You Want.
Christophe André – Looking at Mindfulness: 25 Ways to Live in the Moment Through Art and The Power of Self esteem.
Juan Aragon – Imprint
Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps – WebMD (The Art of Relationships)