How to Leverage Your Choice Zone
Four Simple Keys for Making Empowering Choices
Leaders, what would it mean to be making more confident choices?
We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice is made in the context of whatever value system we’ve selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system we are, in a very real way, making the most important choice we will ever make. – Benjamin Franklin
The quality of your life and work is directly related to the quality of your choices. As a leader, your decisions are vital so they should generate benefits for your followers.
When you look at your circumstances through the lens of your personal vision, purpose, and values, you can make empowering choices versus letting the circumstances choose for you. The leader is looked upon to set the vision, define the purpose and instill values. These choices can have a lasting positive impact for the people around you, and your results can be more fulfilling.
Empowering choices connect you to your essential self. Disempowering choices disconnect you from your essential self. Your empowered choices may take courage, faith, time, or patience, but they will transform the quality of your life/work.
Acting from your “essential self,” your behavior tends to be more responsible, accepting, allowing, responsive, collaborative, and trusting. Outcomes are more energizing, expansive, and powerFULL.
Acting from your “disconnected self,” your behavior tends to be more reactive, critical, competitive, blaming, and controlling. You will feel more diminished, at the effect of the circumstances, drained, victimized, and powerLESS.
HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS: There is a choice zone between you and the circumstances.
We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them. Epictetus (AD 55)
What is a less-than-desirable circumstance at work? Computer hard drive crashes. The boss micromanages. A team member is always late for meetings. Corporate changes priorities on short notice too often. The company is being merged with another company. Deadlines are always set too short.
Here are some EXAMPLES for your choice zone –
Connecting your Choices to your Values:
- Instead of being judgmental about your boss’s decisions or behavior, choose to be curious and inquire for better empathy, compassion or understanding. (honoring Values of partnership, contribution, responsibility)
- Instead of complaining about your team’s results, choose to be part of the solution. (Honoring Values of contribution, responsibility, creativity)
- Instead of sitting on your concerns, resentments, or frustrations, communicate your suggestions for improvement (Honoring Values of integrity, leadership, transparency)
Regardless of the circumstances, you have a choice about who you are being about the circumstances. And, those choices make the difference between generating more negativity, upset, and frustration for yourself and the people around you, or more peace, harmony, and ease; increased engagement and productivity!
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom. — Victor Frankl
Ask yourself this question several times during your day: What is an empowering choice for me in this situation?
- Notice the opportunity to make a choice.
- Pause; create the space to respond versus react.
- Connect with your essential self.
- Choose and follow through.
My coaching client, Barry, is VP of Finance in a global company. He is highly intuitive, confident, and competent regarding how to manage his team. His long standing track record is extraordinary in terms of his ability to close quarterly and annual reports on time. His boss, in the last two years, has become more and more argumentative, resistant, and subversive with him. He has weekly battles with her, fighting for what he believes is right to do. Recently, Barry decided this is not how he wants to be being, so he changed his strategy with his boss. He presented his case, and when she said, “NO,” he paused, took a breath, and expressed curiosity about her rationale, instead of fighting her for what he wanted. Barry walked away feeling better about himself, and she was so disarmed, he also got what he wanted.