Can You Be Powerful When Things are Out of Control?

Time to read: 40 seconds

If you're making choices, choose what's important to you, like Adventure!

If you're making choices, choose what's important to you, like Adventure!

I was talking with a client today about choices. She's in a tough situation that leaves her feeling powerless and isn't likely to change anytime soon. The challenge for her: to stay empowered and at choice even when so much feels out of her control.

So how do you stay empowered and at choice when things are out of your control?

The lesson is summed up in this poignant quote from writer, Annie Dilliard:

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."

You make choices every day - about how to respond in traffic, to be on time to meet a friend (or not), to show up to your child's soccer game (or not), to be annoyed after a meeting (or not). We all know people who seem bound and determined to be unhappy. And others who find happiness and gratitude even in the face of unbelievable hardship.

Your small choices matter, every minute of every day.

  • They matter to you. (Are you truly choosing according to what's important to you or are you choosing based on some sense of what you "should" choose or from a reactive emotional place?)
  • They matter to the people around you. (What are you modeling for your employees or your children?).
  • They matter to the world. (What is the energy you are projecting out into the wider world? Is it the energy you want to project?)

Life isn't always easy, and you don't always get what you want. You do, however, get to choose, every day, how you will navigate the cards you have been dealt.

And that, dear Corporate Rebel, is how you create the life you want. One choice at a time.

With rebel love,

Christina

 

4 Steps to Worry-Free Decision Making

Time to read: much less than two little minutes

Which direction should you go?

Which direction should you go?

Hello rebels!

Do you have decisions to make? Do you anticipate having decisions to make in the future? Do you feel an urgency to get to the right decision and get to it quick so you can move-on-to-the-next-thing-burning-on-your-to-do-list-so-you-can-focus-on-something-else entirely-already?!

Geez. That sense of urgency is not helpful! (I know this. Let me explain.)

Big decisions were made in our house this spring.

My daughter has been choosing a high school and my son has decided to switch schools at the same time. We've been part of the same tight school community for 9 years so this change is a big deal for all of us. Many times in this decision-making process, I have felt urgency to get information fast, weigh all the options, and finalize a decision so we can feel clear and certain and move on to other priorities.

And this process has offered me a few huge lessons about decision-making, which I happily share with you.

If you have a teenager, you'll understand this next bit. Despite my sense of urgency, there was no forcing my 14-year-old into a decision until she was good and ready. This story is a metaphor (in case you didn't notice, you are the 14-year-old). You can try to force a decision. You can talk about it until your friends stop returning your calls. You can live your worries in the middle of the night. You can obsess until the decision invades your dreams.

And the truth is, the decision will not get made until it is time to make it. When the deadline was approaching, my daughter flat-out refused to talk about school choice for a week. We had no option but to put the thing down. And, we had a deadline. Over a huge piece of cake (I'm a strategic mom), I told her it was go-time. I expected hang-wringing and worry about where her friends were going. Instead, she paused for 10 seconds, and said, "I'm going to XYZ school."

Done and done. The decision was filled with ease and joy.

I was shocked and delighted, and since I'm a coach who writes a weekly newsletter, I made note of what just happened so I could share it with you. When making a decision - big or small, here's what you need to know:

  1. Gather information, but just enough. In most cases, you will not land on the one piece of information that is going to make your decision for you so don't drive yourself crazy trying to find it.
  2. Fire up your intuition. Pay attention to how you feel about your options. Watch your dreams. Feel into the energy of the way you talk about your choices. (Do you feel expansive or constricted? Joyful or worried? Excited or sick?)
  3. Know your deadline or set a deadline for yourself. When you let a decision drag on and on, you're using it as an excuse to hide from the responsibility of actually making a decision. Don't do that. It's not fun, and hiding isn't going to get you anywhere.
  4. Give the decision space. Put it down. Stop talking about it. Let it go. In the quiet, you'll find the answer.

Oh, and I recommend cake. Cake helps everything go smoothly.

Rebel love to you

Christina

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Ask Yourself This Rude Question to Create Instant Clarity

There's no photo this week as everything I could think of was too gross.

When you're making a decision, popular ways to weigh the options include listing pros and cons, envisioning a blissful future, and worrying about the horrible things that could happen with each option.

There is another way to bring quick clarity to a decision (courtesy of Mark Manson, blogger and life enthusiast). It involves a swear word so if you have sensitive ears or little ones looking over your shoulder, be warned.

You can use this rude question over and over on a daily basis to find instant clarity and motivation. Every single one of my clients answers this question in a fit of laughter at one point or another. 

The question is this: 

What kind of s**% sandwich do you want to eat (for the rest of your life)?

I love this question for two reasons:

1. It is a question that grounds you in reality when you start to spin off into magical thinking (maybe...retirement will take care of itself or maybe…my kids don't care if I miss the soccer game). There is a downside to every choice. It's good to be honest with yourself about those downsides.

2. You get to choose. You always get to choose. You even get to choose your flavor of s*($ sandwich. Not choosing is still a choice.

Here are a small sample of the situations where you can apply this question:

  • Let's say you are trying to decide if you will do that thing at work that you don't feel like doing. Ask yourself the question and choose: Would you rather create the boring spreadsheet or face the consequences for not doing it?
  • You've been offered a great opportunity that requires you to travel away from home a lot. Would you rather miss the time with your family or miss the career growth?
  • You're trying to decide if you are going to take an expensive vacation or put more money toward retirement. Would you rather find a cheaper vacation, not take one, or be behind on your retirement savings?
  • For me, I ask this question every time I wonder if I should hang up the coaching gig and get a job (with a salary and benefits!) Would I rather sit my butt down and send the marketing email or have to ask my boss for vacation time?

Nothing makes me do the hard parts of being an entrepreneur faster than reminding myself that I choose, the delicious and the s(*% sandwiches.

I hope this helps!

Loved this email? Want to tell me a story? I'd love to hear from you.

Warmly,
Christina

P.P.S. I am working on something that has been inspired by conversations with many of YOU. Stay tuned. It's cooking right now and will be ready for you in a few weeks.