A common mantra in the personal growth space is that we have the power to choose how we respond to situations. Or said another way, we must remain at choice.
This mantra is true and critical to our overall success and happiness. I would even venture to go so far as to say it’s among the most important elements of personal growth. This is because when we believe that we have the power to choose our response to whatever life throws at us, we’re not at the mercy of life, we’re in the driver’s seat.
The only problem I have with this concept is that people tend to stop at choice. I’m going to suggest that we take it one step further to make sure that we’re making the best choice for us. Keeping the driver metaphor going… you’re driving in the direction that you want to go.
Choice has two categories – purpose-based and fear-based. Usually when we make a choice, we do it through one of these main filters. Obviously, choosing based on your purpose vs what you fear is the direction that we want to go.
Take this parable as an example: Real estate agent “Sam” has plans with his family on Saturday afternoon to go to a party. Friday morning a new house comes on the market that is perfect for his clients and the only time they can see it is…you guessed it… Saturday afternoon during the party.
Sam has a choice – be with his family at the party or show his clients the house. Yet, it’s not only WHAT he chooses to do, it’s also WHY he chooses to do it.
If Sam chose out of fear, he might…
- a) Go to family party because he doesn’t want his family to be upset with him
- b) Show the house because he would be afraid he’d lose the clients
If Sam chose based on his purpose, he might…
- Go to the family party because spending time with his family is a value of his
- Show the house because he believes that his clients will love his house and he’s excited to help them get it
Notice that Sam can choose the family party or the showing from a fear based or a purpose based perspective. In order for the decision to be the best for you, it must be a purpose-based decision.
When we choose out of fear, it produces stress for us. And, that stress causes negative emotions that affect not only how we feel, also how we perform. When we choose from a purpose-based perspective, we are congruent with who we are and feel more confident in our decisions and ourselves. And, of course, that affects our performance in a positive way.
As you go through the next week, reflect on choices you make and notice if you’re making them out of fear or because of your purpose.