'I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me' (Bronnie Ware, the Top Five Regrets of the Dying)
Whatever else is going on around us, we almost always have choices. We can choose how to think about things, choose what to believe, choose what to do.
We can choose to say something or to say nothing.
We can choose whether to do what we've always done or do something different.
So, the man I spoke to recently who said he 'had no choice' but to stay in his 'toxic organisation' because he had to pay the mortgage was unable to see he had choices.
That made me sad and it would be easy for me to collude with his powerlessness.
But not very empowering.
The problem is he was operating in survival mode - which is never a good place to do our best thinking and it’s hard to see choices when we’re overwhelmed with cortisol. (Apart from the choice to fight or flee).
Seeing things in either/or thinking ('I can stay or I can walk out the door) is not always a useful way of looking at things.
How much more empowering when he decides: 'I can stay and in the meantime I can put my feelers out, see what's out there, get my CV up to date, do some training, do some interview practice, speak to a few people etc, etc).
When we allow other people to be in the driving seat of our lives, we're never going to be fulfilled or reach our full potential. But when we take responsibility it feels liberating - even when it's not always easy!
And no regrets?
P.S. If you’re not a member of my Effortless Leader Revolution Facebook group you’re missing out. I share ideas and resources most days and it’s a fabulously supportive and diverse community of leaders and managers.