Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

The power of choice

This past week, I had a great opportunity to be the luncheon speaker for the 2012 Spouses Program of the Council of Independent Colleges’ Annual Presidents Institute. The conference was held in Marco Island, Florida, so in addition to meeting interesting professionals from yet another walk of life, I enjoyed a very brief and surrealistic summer break from the NY winter weather, on the Gulf shore. Other than having a sandwich snatched from my hand by a seagull on the beach, and then being chased by his fellow gulls overhead, it was a treat.

The luncheon topic was Choosing or Re-Choosing Your Role. In preparing and presenting, I was reminded that there are choices to be made regardless of the situation or role we find ourselves in. And reflecting on our choices, in wonderful or tough situations, can be validating and empowering.

Whether you’re contemplating a new role or situation, faced with a conflict, hoping to breathe some life into an existing role or situation, or you’re simply interested in tapping into your gratitude, these guidelines may help you explore your choices:

– Note what you enjoy about—or how you most benefit from—your job or the situation you’re in, or contemplating. Whether it be a volunteer role, or a paid position, revisiting the good stuff can be invigorating and can generate your gratitude even in challenging times.
– Note those things that you find or anticipate as tough or unfulfilling about the role or situation. Being realistic about your challenges is just as important as reflecting on the positive. It helps to clarify the full scope of what you’re choosing.
– Ask yourself what choices you have at the moment. For example, you may not have a choice about the task that needs to be fulfilled, yet you may have a menu of choices about the mindset you might choose as you approach the task. Or, you may be experiencing an unresolved conflict with an individual or a difference of opinion with your manager or colleagues, yet you may have the choice to address the conflict more directly while recommending a collaborative solution.

This exercise may help you re-choose what you’re currently doing because it fits well into your family plan at the moment, or allows you some other enjoyment outside of the job that outshines the challenges. You may clarify that the challenges outweigh the joys or satisfaction, which may guide you choose to explore other options. Or you may simply choose to shift your approach.

Regardless of limitations or requirements, there are choices to be made with every experience, and the great news is that many of those choices are yours.



  Gayle LaSalle wrote @

Donna, The fact of choices in life is my passion and directs most of what I do in my personal life and what I teach others. It’s great when our choices are mostly positive ones that we like. The reality is that, even when our first choice is not on the list, we still get to choose how to deal with whatever we are facing. This is where I find many having difficulty seeing their role in identifying choices.

  donnarawadyblog wrote @

I appreciate your comment and experience, Gayle, thanks.

  Ralph vitale wrote @

Beautiful, well expressed, loved it…Any wonder why I love you more & more??? xoxo 🙂 Uncle Fuzzy..

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