Within the Choose You™ project the first letters of the Choose remind us of the tools that help us achieve the You. The first of these is:

Control: That you are responsible for you and so can, if you choose to, take control. Not everything in your life happens because you choose it to, but whatever happens you have a choice about how you deal with it and so can stay in control. You control how much you know about yourself, how open you want to be with yourself and others, how much understanding you want to have. When you have choice you have control.

We started to explore this idea of choice and the control it gives us in the last blog. And here is another example.

I remember working with a group of leaders a few years back. I floated this idea of choice and control past them within the context that, whilst they had been sent on the leadership programme by their bosses, they still had a choice about being there, and about what they would get out of the experience. For some in the room this was simply a statement of the obvious. For others it was not. ‘Alan’ shared that his reality was that he had no choice because if he did not attend he would get the sack. And as he explored this idea with his colleagues it became apparent to him that he did not have a sense of choice about very much in his working life, primarily he realised because he had a large mortgage and he did what he did to ensure that he could pay for it and keep his family safe in their home.

This highlights beautifully the consequence of this choice idea. All the choices we make have a consequence, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a choice. For Alan at that moment he was choosing not to want to see that. He was choosing to feel obliged to work in a job that he didn’t really enjoy because it paid the bills and that sense of obligation meant that he didn’t have to think about it; someone was making him do it, so he didn’t have to take responsibility.

Knowing that, whilst there will be consequences, we have a choice and that we are choosing our current situation can be a shock. It is a moment where we acknowledge there are options and whilst we may not be ready to explore those or take responsibility for the one we choose, those options are still there.

Alan could have walked away from the course, but I am pleased to say that he chose to stay. And whilst that was initially for fear of losing his job, by the end of his time with the group he had grown to recognise the choices he was making throughout his life and accept that he was choosing, based on his perception of the consequences. He chose to remain in his job because he wanted the security of paying his mortgage. So to an outsider nothing had changed. But when Alan spoke about it the change was clear. He had changed what he believed. He was staying in the job now because he chose to, not because anyone was making him. And because he was choosing to stay Alan allowed himself the awareness that, knowing the consequences of doing so, he could choose to leave. From the moment of that realisation his outlook on his working life altered and his ownership for, sense of control over and enjoyment of his working role changed. By knowing that he was choosing he empowered himself.

This sense of choice can be a tussle. Sometimes it seems easier to believe that we don’t have a choice, that there is nothing we can do about it, that it is someone else’s fault not ours. But that gives all our power away. When we own what we do and know that we can choose to do it differently if we want to, than we are in control, and Control is the first tool of the Choose You™ model.

I would love to have your thoughts on the Choose You™ project and your examples of Choose You moments, so if you would like to share please email me at jenny@insight-out.co.uk

Thank you for reading this blog. And many thanks to all those who have signed up already. I am really keen to spread the message that the Choose You™ project represents, so if you would like to receive fortnightly blogs sent straight to your inbox then please do sign up.