As I wrote about in my 2nd book, “Is This Seat Taken? It’s Never Too Late to Find the Right Seat”, there is no question that each of us always have the power of choice. Many may think they do not – that things are ‘out of their control’, and yes, that may be true for many things: the economy, the political environment, the weather, social security, and even healthcare. However, how we respond, is 100% up to us.
When I started my first business in 2007 and then my second business in 2013, many individuals raised their eyebrows in skepticism, and in some cases were downright unkind and judgmental. Some are still spending their energy being the naysayers and espousing many falsehoods about both entrepreneurial ventures. This could have an impact on me – as many of those individuals I respected for their business acumen in prior years. However, what I have learned over the years, is that we (I) have the privilege of creating the life we want AND taking the reins to steer our own course. Aren’t we fortunate?!!
Many have yet to embrace this freedom, succumbing to the ‘shoulds’ and ‘ought tos’ which saturate our world. Corporate America executives have their perspective. Those that have found success in one way question the ability of others to find success in another way. And then there are those that have never even gotten into the ring; they just sit on the sidelines and cheer (sometimes), jeer, and cast aspersions. Well, we have a CHOICE to either let those folks hold us back or egg us on! A few thoughts which I firmly believe:
1. We choose how we spend our time, how we wish to contribute in the world, and how we wish to focus our lives and our businesses. As most of you know, I am an ardent believer in the Power of Alignment. Thus, it is ideal when how we spend our time, how we contribute and how we make money and build a business are in alignment. No, they do not have to be in the same profession; yet, I do believe when they are ‘aligned’ we have the power of synergy, passion, and focused energy on our side! For example, my Alignment, Inc. is all about helping others become aligned within themselves (I.e. desires, skills, strengths, etc. are aligned), aligned to the company or profession in which they are contributing, and that the silos and functional units within an organization, company, or team are also aligned and ‘rowing in a common direction’…..so that the individual and the collective can reach their potential. Thus, when I had the opportunity to form my second business, this 100% aligned to my first business as it provides a vehicle for individuals to find alignment, create their own company, and build a residual income which answers many of their needs. Thus, my contributions and energies are congruent and in alignment…..and it just doesn’t get much better than that!
2. We choose how we react to those who question our choices. As I mentioned above, had I allowed the naysayers, the condescending voice of the ‘superiors’, and even those that secretly wanted me to fail, to have power over my choices; my authentic voice and desire would have been ‘shut down’. Everyone must define success on their own terms. Success is Individual. It is aligning who YOU are with how you wish to contribute. There is no one right answer. And it cannot be limited in scope by the mere accumulation of wealth (contrary to what many wish to believe). Nor is success stagnate. It evolves and changes shape and scope as we evolve; and as how we make meaning in the world also evolves. Thus, we all have the opportunity to define success for ourselves AND we have the sacred responsibility to sit in our own authentic seat of power.
3. We choose how we spend our resources….time, money, and relationships. As an entrepreneur, which in one case I have chosen a very saturated field in which to play; I have to be cognizant of how I spend my time and other assets. Regardless of how financially secure we may feel, I believe we all must be prudent about getting a strong ROI from our resources. We must track expenses and overall cash flow. How are we spending our hard earned dollars? Are we getting a return on where/how we are spending those dollars? Is how we are spending our money where we truly want to spend it or are we tied to ‘keeping up with the Jones’ and maintaining ‘face’ with your constituents? Are we being ‘used’ for our contacts with no sense of respect or responsibility for the introductions being made? This seems so very basic; yet, when I am coaching others, I am astounded at folks who have made 7 figure incomes for many years, suddenly find themselves up to their eyeballs in debt and struggling to determine how long they now have to work to afford the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. Thus, we have the opportunity to gauge how we spend our time, money, and relationships….and to what end? It is a direct reflection of our priorities and how we make meaning in our lives and our world.
Net: ultimately, we write our own stories. Each one of us has his own sack of rocks, how we carry the load is what distinguishes us. We own our lives……no one else does. Again, as I highlighted in my second book, Victor Frankl who wrote one of my favorite books (and certainly one that impacted my life at a very early age), “Man’s Search for Meaning”, explored the psychological effects being completely dehumanized in a Nazi concentration camp had on his fellow prisoners. He stated: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” The power to choose NEVER leaves us – regardless of the circumstance in which we find ourselves.
What will you choose today? Is it in alignment with how you wish your life (and business) to be or become? How might my choices change to more authentically represent the life I wish to create?