The Freedom to Choose Daily

I was reading and this line stood out to me, so I journaled. What you see here is raw journaling. If you want solid grammar, read a different post. The only filtering I have done is to leave out names of those I worked with.

Through our perception of events, we are complicit in our creation – as well as the destruction – of every one of our obstacles.
Ryan Holiday
Author The Obstacle is the Way

I decide my story every single day. I have the power to choose my attitude, my beliefs and make choices for my life. Those are mine to choose. No one else has the right or power for these except me. No matter what comes, everyday these three are mine and mine alone.

Attitude sets a tone. How do I view my wife and my girls? They do not control my perception of them, I choose it. They have their choices, and I can choose whether their choices affect my attitude towards them or the outlook on the day? My attitude is my choice no matter what others say or do.

No one can choose my beliefs. They are mine alone. I can share them and defend them, but no one can take them from me. Others can share their beliefs but that does not mean I am obligated to adopt them. I alone choose every day.

Obstacles can present themselves and I can choose my response, largely from my perception of the obstacle and based on my attitude, belief, and choice. These three are mine to control or relinquish when faced with and obstacle or opportunity in life, relationships, or business.

I recently worked with a leadership team and their VP (who is a micromanager). Pushback came from a decision the team had made. The VP wanted to have access to details of the conversation. The VP pushed, prodded, and threatened. Throughout, I had the power to choose my attitude – anger or calm; frustration or peace; fear or strength.

The truth is I my internal dialogue ranged through all these emotions plus more. Throughout the conversation the choice was mine in how I viewed the relationship with the VP. Would I give in to my attitude, thus giving away that power or choose to maintain steady and hold to what I believed would be best?

There is power in deciding your story each day.

You have the power to choose your attitude, or you can relinquish it.

You have the power of the convictions of what you believe unless you give it away.

The choice is yours daily.  

Change is inevitable

In his book, Masterful Coaching, Robert Hargrove notes, “When most people think of learning, they don’t think in terms of having to change themselves. They tend to think of learning as … acquiring ideas, tips, techniques, and so on. Seldom does it occur to them that the problems they are facing are inseparable from who they are or the way they think and interact with other people.”

Change in life is inevitable. Problems in life come and too often stay longer than we want.

 

Learning changes who I am, not just what I think. This thought came to me after reading from Hargrove’s book. I paused to consider the books I had been reading. After going through the list of books I had finished over the previous six months, I realized I had acquired some knowledge, but what had I learned?

Did I have at least one takeaway from each book? What about teachings and trainings I had sat through. How had I grown? Was there any real change in my life based on what I was learning? Was learning even possible without action? Questions like these challenged my mind over the coming days.

I decided to go back to those books and choose at least one big takeaway from each book and write it in the front cover for easy access. Then I can easily look and see if there has been any change in my life based on my takeaway. If not, then I have work to do. If so, then I should be different in my thoughts, words, and actions towards others.

These takeaways allowed me to ‘self-coach’ toward changes I wanted to see in my life. Over time, I wanted more change so I could become the man I wanted to be in life and in business. There were problems I needed to address and knew I could not do it alone.

“When most people think of learning, they don’t think in terms of having to change themselves."
Robert Hargrove
Masterful Coaching

After some searching, I realized I needed a coach. It seemed odd to me at first that I, a coach, would need a coach in order to help me better coach others. Once I got through my circular logic, I hired one and this has changed everything for me.

Coaching is an ongoing intentional conversation that draws out a person's passion, desire or calling.

Change in life is inevitable. Problems in life come and too often stay longer than we want. Whether we are learning in a formal capacity or through living life, change is happening. You cannot get around it or escape it.

What are you learning through the changes in your life? What problems in your life are sticking around too long? If you want to experience the power of coaching, reach out to me. Allow me the opportunity to serve you. Let’s have a conversation and get you experiencing freedom in life.

The gift of Presence.

Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.
Ryan Holiday
The Obstacle is the Way.

Humans are the most intelligent creatures on the planet. Some of you might disagree and show proof. Ok, we are not always smart, but we have the capacity for great intelligence. And yet, too often we get in our own way. Every one of us has problems, issues to face, obstacles to overcome. Every one of us. No one is exempt. It is universal. Are our problems different, yes. But the one thing that is the same the world around are obstacles in our life. 

 

Sometimes we feel like Sisyphus, forever pushing the rock uphill, believing we get to the top, only to realize there is more to go.

The difference most people experience is HOW we handle obstacles. We have a way of making things bigger than they need to be. We analyze, over-analyze, talk through all the scenarios and try to figure out what it all means so we can make the best choice moving forward with life, relationships, and business. 

It makes me wonder if this processing is a sophisticated procrastination. Have we forgotten to take one day at a time, to live in the present? Living in the past of analyzing and the future of ‘what if’ is easier. There are so many hypotheticals and ultimately there are no choices that need to be made. 

If we over-analyze the past (I’m not talking about reviewing mistakes to learn from them), we can remain in state of indecision because we cannot change the past. It is easy to live in the past. And the ‘what if’ of the future is theoretical. There are scenarios and options that need to play out to get the result we want. 

 

The past and the future are easy to live in. Sure, we experience regret of the past and anxiety about the future, but there are books, coaches, and resources to distract us. Living in the past and future allows us to ignore the present. 

 

That is the real problem, too often we do not choose to live in the present. We spend a lot of our day on Social media, which is about experiencing the past. It is watching what others have already done. 

The remedy… Live in the present. Easy words to write. Simple words to live by; but simple does not mean it is easy. Living in the present takes work. Being present with your family, friends, colleagues requires effort and energy. For some, it will require discipline to stay present.

Here are some ways to practice being in the present moment: go for a walk (without a digital device), exercise, discover a hobby, get coffee with a friend and talk about what you are up to today. Any of these and other activities will hold you in the present moment. After all, this moment is all that matters. You cannot change the past, and you have little control over tomorrow, but right now. That is yours; and it is a gift. The gift of being present.

How Samwise influenced MicroShift

The Lord of the Rings series are some of my favorite movies to watch. The characters are well developed, and the action sequences are fun to watch. There are big battle scenes and moments of compassion. If you are not familiar with the series, the main character, Frodo, is on a grand quest to destroy the Ruling Ring to defeat evil and people can live in peace and with freedom.

There are times Frodo is unsure where to go or what to do. What Frodo does not realize is he has a guide. Not Gandalf. He’s a mentor. It’s Samwise Gamgee. Sam is there for Frodo, challenges him, laughs, and cries with him. Throughout the journey, Sam makes it clear to Frodo, this is his quest.

One of the goals for a fiction novel or movie is that we can see ourselves in the story, generally as the main character, the hero. While we do not battle with Orcs, we often encounter struggle, setback, conflict, and decisions that must be made in order to move forward.

The MicroShift philosophy was born out of the idea that small changes done regularly will lead to big results. Too often leaders like you want big, bold, instant change. In the short term, this can have success, but for long term, lasting change in your life, there is another way. The journey is longer and sometimes it does not feel worth the struggle.

Frodo did not always understand he had the strength in him. At times, he felt like a fraud. That’s when Sam would encourage and challenge Frodo to take the next step or do the next task and challenge his held beliefs so Frodo could successfully complete the journey.

What I know about success is the more you have, the more you can feel like you don’t fit. Can I tell you a secret? If you feel like a fraud or that you don’t fit, that means you are normal. Who is your Sam? Who encourages and challenges you?

While I have had success as a leader, Frodo has never connected with me. When I watch the movies, I watch through the eyes of Samwise Gamgee. Encouraging, challenging, getting dirty with the Frodo’s in my life. It’s what I love to do.

My name is Jason and I help leaders find freedom and insights of growth using inquiry based coaching. I can be your Samwise. One step at a time, one change at a time.

Who is your Samwise Gamgee?