One of the things I learned in coaching school is that we humans operate at 1% or less of our potential.
This is not that thing of we only use 10% of our brains. No. Nope.
It is more like: I can do 100 things today, but I actively choose to only do 1 thing. And the 99 weigh on my mind for the next three years as I wake up each day and do the same thing I did yesterday and the day before that. SMH! Groundhog Day, anyone?
Let me tell you about Larry.
Larry, a client whose name has been changed for confidentiality, signed up for some coaching around work. He was successful in his IT job but he wanted more. He was not sure what that “more” looked like. So, we fleshed out some options and he decided he was going to apply for other jobs. He faltered about this a little bit and finally after revamping the resume, updating the LinkedIn profile and keeping a journal about what he loved about work as well as what he did not like, he started to zero in what he valued and desired.
So, he kicked it up a notch and also worked with a head hunter. Several job offers came in.
But something was amiss. He sure was hemming and hawing on a couple of our calls. Real slippery.
One coaching session, I asked him: “Something does not feel right about this. Your energy is off. What is missing?”
And after a long silence, he said, “I just don’t want to make the wrong choice. I want to make the right choice.”
And that magical moment that I call “transcendence” happened in that coaching encounter. I immediately felt the tension between choice “A” and choice “B” and I saw shackles on his ankles. I shared that with him and he said that he did feel “locked in” and it did have a gravitational pull towards not making any choice.
Sigh! You know you cannot change what you do not confront, right?
The problem was that Larry was being passive. Larry was not choosing based on his desire because he was torn between competing interests and he did not know what he really wanted. He wanted more money and more job satisfaction and it turns out, he secretly believed that the two did not go together.
Here is the paradox about choice: There are multiple right choices.
Life is not a multiple choice exam and you get scored on making the right choice. Your right choice is going to have bad days and good days. Your right choice may be heaven today and hell tomorrow. Get over it. It is the joy of being a human being. Nothing is perfect. Everything is gloriously and perfectly imperfect. You don’t grow in perfection. You don’t grow when you have it all together and you get that elusive 100% score.
Beloved, there is no 100% score in life.
Nope. Not at all. Nobody gets it right all the time. You know this but you forget so easily.
Make a choice. And, while you are it, embrace failure. Expect that failure will happen.
Fail gloriously. Fail gracefully. Fail elegantly.
Failure is not a reflection of your worthiness.
Don’t be afraid to fail because you think it reflects on who you are or defines who you are. It does not.
You see, your “failure” is not failure. It is experience. It is where the marrow is. It is nourishing. It is learning. It is expansion.
So often, to avoid failure, we refuse to make a choice.
People, make a FREAKING choice! Make it. Stop lollygagging around and just make the choice.
Making a choice shifts the energy. It moves things. It brings life to the equation. It enlivens you.
Just choose. Just choose to take action.
Listen to the push.
Listen to the pull.
The push is something external pushing you to make a decision. In Larry’s case, he felt compelled to make more money because his wife was pregnant, and he was worried about money. He felt he “needed” to make more money. But it felt constricting and constraining and he felt he was being forced to take this high paying job when the offer came in.
However, Larry had some latent talent that he was aching to express in his work. This was the pull. It was pulling him, exciting him, urging him. It was not commanding and compulsive. It was a desire. He wanted to really make a difference with his work. He had applied at a non-profit where he could express his amazing skills. But he was concerned that the posted salary was not enough. He was offered this job too. He felt thrilled, the most alive I had experienced with him, but he was so scared. He did not want to make the wrong choice.
Necessities can push you in an unhealthy way. Possibilities can pull you towards your true desires.
Beloved, us folks in the blessed(?) US of A live in an experiment called a “democracy.” You know why it is so amazing? It gives us choice. It honors our humanity. It honors individuality. And there is a lot of good in that.
A dictatorship, and I have lived under that, says, “You do not have a choice. I rule over you.” No choice. You are my puppet.
Yet, so often, we chose to live under the dictatorship of passivity and incongruence. It rules us. It controls us. It lulls us into inactivity. We so do not want to feel our feelings that we have numbed out and given passivity control over our lives.
Larry’s choice was to live in integrity. He asked for a higher salary from the non-profit and he got a higher salary. Not quite what he wanted but good enough. He revised his budget and made some cuts and made it work. He revisited his belief between wanting money and doing good work. He started to value what he offered and discovered that the more he listened to his gut, the happier he felt.
My precious beloved, what are you choosing today? This week?
Listen to the voice of that gut language within you as you determine which choice to make.
Live congruently and making choices becomes so much easier.
Honor your values. Hear them and they will guide you to make choices that are uniquely fulfilling to your life.
You are so worth making wonderful, risky, flamboyant, alive choices. Go do it.
Living, true aliveness, is in the experience of having made a congruent choice. Live.
One of my favorite Bible stories that I return to, over and over, is the story of Adam and Eve and Eve’s choice to eat of the apple of the tree of good and evil. Do not ever forget that Eve wanted to be wise and that is why she ate that apple. No matter how you interpret that scripture. She wanted something good. Wisdom!
Do not vilify the beauty and freedom of making wise congruent choices.
When you make choices that are congruent with your values, you become part of the 1% of the population that experience the robustness of their potential.
Go ahead. Do it.