Opportunity, challenge, hope, chance, and freedom – each of these situations involve choices. Sometimes our choices are simple and don’t require much thought - would you like chocolate or vanilla ice cream? Other choices are life impacting and fraught with uncertainty -would you like to move across the country to pursue a career opportunity? How do you make that decision? Often when we step outside of our normal routine or our comfort zone these choices come up unexpectedly. Having a strategy to tackle these challenges increase our chances of success.
A recent excursion to an unfamiliar grocery store provided an unexpected opportunity to choose. Cold, grey winter weather makes warm food quite appealing, so I decided to make a pot of chili. Off to the grocery store for beans, tomatoes, and ground beef. There was a moderate selection of dried beans, all similarly priced, so I chose dark red kidney beans. Canned tomatoes offered a few more choices, diced, stewed, Italian spiced, or with green chilies. I chose the store brand with green chilies for the flavor and because the store brand is a thrifty choice. Next, I went to the meat department for the final ingredient – ground beef. There I was met with a dizzying array of choices. Different cuts – ground sirloin, ground chuck, ground round. Different percentages of leanness – 80, 85, 90, 92, or 96. There were also organic, grass-fed, and natural choices. Each combination came at a different price ranging from $2.99 per pound to $7.99 per pound. I am a thrifty shopper, but also appreciate delicious food so I wanted to make the best selection. (*note – for a resource on how to choose the best beef for your recipe and budget, subscribe to the blog!)
Something as simple as choosing ground beef for chili became an opportunity due to the considerable, and unexpected, number of available choices. The grocery store I normally go to offers a much smaller selection, but I went to a different store that day – a store that caters to a wider range of tastes. Stepping outside of the normal, everyday brings you outside of your comfort zone and offers more choices – sometimes unexpected choices appear. Having a strategy to deal with choices can keep you from becoming overwhelmed.
Process of elimination is a good method to choose between several different options. What movie do I want to see tonight when there are 15 to choose from? First eliminate genres you don’t care for, next eliminate showtimes that don’t’ work with your schedule.
Make a list of pros and cons. Look at your list and see if the choice is clear. If not, try adding numeric weights to the pros and cons. One client I worked with used this method. She had the perfect job offer but would have to move several hours away from family and friends.
Ask for advice. You may not want to ask your 17-year-old son who plans to pursue a graphic arts education for financial investment advice. But how about advice on your outfit for an upcoming charity event gala? His eye for color and style could offer some expertise that would help you stand out in a crowd. Choose someone you trust whose experience and talent can benefit your situation.
Retain a coach. A coach’s purpose is to help their client access their innermost truth and find their way forward without fear of judgement. Friends and family may have a hidden agenda when discussing your life choices. In a coaching conversation the agenda belongs completely to the client.
These are just a few of the methods to assist with decisions. Sit with your favorite beverage and think for a few minutes about how to be deliberate in your choices. What other strategies can you think of? What strategies will you use? Feel free to share in the comments.
Do you celebrate your accomplishments? Do you take a moment to savor and enjoy the work you put into achieving your goal? That celebration is difficult for so many. We rush off to the next goal or the next plan without celebrating our recent achievement. Taking time to celebrate our personal victory provides stamina towards achieving our next massive thing. Plan a celebration, a party, dinner with a friend, a fun trip, whatever it is that gives you the feeling of celebration – do it!
On February 14, 2018, DYG Coaching celebrates a one-year anniversary. A huge THANK YOU to clients, supporters, and blog readers! To celebrate I am recycling popular blog posts from the past year over the next few weeks. See how many you remember!
Flip it off and keep going
Subtitled: Advice from a Southern Lady. My octogenarian mother recently joined Facebook. I was concerned about her participation in social media as it can be quite different from real life. We forged ahead, set up a profile, applied security settings, and I showed her how to read and like posts.
One of the first things she did was to send friend requests to all her grandchildren’s Facebook friends. My daughter was inundated with text messages at work, “Who is this person?” “Why is she sending me a friend request?” My mom had discovered the “People you may know” feature, tried to figure out how she knew these people, and sent a ton of friend requests in the process. My mom has more Facebook friends than I do.
Recently I asked mom if she was enjoying Facebook. Mom replied, “When something comes up that doesn’t interest me, I just flip it off and keep going.” The idea of this sweet, little lady making crude hand gestures to Facebook posts left me too horrified to speak. She said, “here let me show you” and picked up her iPad. She opened Facebook and swiped past a post. “See, I just flip it off and keep going.” I chuckled at her terminology, but later started to think, “that’s pretty cool.”
Minor annoyances and offenses occur in our lives daily. Instead of spending precious energy getting upset, what if we just flip it off and keep going? A Facebook post makes you angry? Flip it off and keep going. It is the same principle as the popular book series, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”. Just swipe it off your feed, or your life, and keep going. Some days it is easy to do, other days it is more difficult. This is some of the best advice I’ve ever received, and it may take me a lifetime to master it. Just flip it off and keep going.
When we set goals that push us outside our comfort zone, it feels wonderful to have people around us who support us in our growth. However, not everyone is supportive, and today’s blog discusses invalidators. What strategies can we use to prevent our goals from being derailed?
What is an invalidator? An invalidator can be anyone in our lives - family or friend, co-worker or boss. Their words and actions have the effect of making us less self-confident when trying something brave. Dictionary.com defines invalidate as “to render invalid, discredit.”
Imagine this scenario. You’re having coffee with friends and tell them you plan to lose twenty pounds in the coming year. One of your friends immediately tells the group how difficult it will be – all the foods you need to give up, the boring exercise, you can’t maintain a diet while traveling, and it is completely impossible to attend group exercise classes while raising a family. Your enthusiasm may be deflated after hearing how hard it is to maintain a lifestyle that will support your weight loss goal.
Now imagine this scenario. You’re having coffee with friends and tell them you plan to lose twenty pounds in the coming year. One of your friends responds, “Cool, what’s your plan”?
One way to get where you want to go is to surround yourself with like-minded people. If you want to improve your golf game would you play with people who truly enjoy the game and are wanting to play better golf, or would you play with a group that is more interested in drinking beer than playing golf? Jim Rohn suggests, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Seek out and maintain positive connections.
Realize that another person’s judgement is more about them than about you. A friend shared her goal of earning a graduate degree in engineering with her boss. He immediately told her, “It is too hard. There’s lots of studying and the math is difficult.” She felt discouraged until she remembered that he had dropped out of grad school six years ago. She re-examined her motivation for earning an engineering graduate degree and realized that engineering truly was her passion.
Find a way to reduce the impact invalidators have in your life. Engage with supportive, like-minded people, be supportive of others, know your motivations, hire a coach, there are many ways to limit negative impact. Control the aspects you can and let go of what you cannot control. You’ve got this, now step outside your comfort zone.