How many of you feel that you have control over your life? How about those friends you might have that seem to live in chaos, negativity, or believe life is bringing them down? How many people do you know live their life by design, with purpose, and by choice?
You might say that circumstances make it impossible to get out of your own way.
Many of you, like me, were not raised with the concept of conscious choice and the ability to shift your life purposefully into a different direction. I have been fortunate enough to discover that free will means conscious choices are always available. Let’s take a look at a few examples of evidence that you are living by default and what you can choose to do differently.
When you make choices, predominantly, as a reaction to your environment or actions from others, you are responding out of your desire to immediately fix things, to reset a situation, or to regain a feeling of control. You are responding to a feeling of fear, of a threat, and of uncertainty. Your purpose is to restore your sense of safety, balance, and control.
This “knee jerk” response provides you a sense of control or dominance and helps you feel emotionally safe. Although this might seem like it makes sense to be reactive, what is actually happening is you create a behavior that causes you to be vulnerable to every up and down, every change in circumstances, and every non-supportive attitude from someone else in your life.
In reactive mode you are feeling a form of anxiety, so the next step is to move away from that emotional state. Stop, take a deep breath or two, and walk away. Next, remember something recent in your life where you felt in control and safe. Rather than react to what just happened, what are you able to do to actually regain your inner balance and release the tension you are currently in? Find three or more choices available to you to respond to the current situation and choose one that is different than what you would have chosen before, one that moves you toward actual resolution, and supports a positive outcome.
This is when you find yourself regularly the person who is just letting things happen as you go. When you realize you live your life this way and avoid making significant choices, you notice your life unfold randomly. Your life is unpremeditated and fragmented. There are few conscious choices made and life simply happens to you.
Maybe you have no career focus and hop from job to job. Maybe you have no relationship vision and move from partner to partner. Maybe you have no personal development focus and move from training to training.
You are someone who rarely finds satisfaction, you frequently wake up angry or frustrated, and you typically are disorganized in significant areas of your life. You feel that life is passing you by.
When you are in non-planner mode you are expressing a form of apathy about your life and often feel a sense of worthlessness. Moving to another state may feel impossible to you as it is difficult to believe you can feel hope. In fact, hopefulness is an emotional state you can reach.
When have you ever, at any time in your life, had a success, had excitement, or had created something that helped you feel joy? Remember that moment, feel the feeling of happiness and potentiality this presents, and latch on to the hope that you are able to feel this again, right now.
You all, me included, feel failure in your life. Failing means you tried something that didn’t work. It’s when you do not see the way out and when this feeling of failure is frequent that you start to identify with this state and believe this is who you are. Thoughts like:
- I always mess up
- Why bother trying, I can’t do it anyway
- I have always felt like a failure and always will be one
When you hold a negative perception of your Self you feel defeated. Every mistake and every challenge missed seems to validate this perception. You believe that failure is who you are.
When you are in failure mode you wonder why you should even try. The most important thing you can do at this point is identify things you do well. Make a list of your successes in life. Make a list each day of at least 3 things that went well, even if one of them is getting out of bed and the other is making it to the end of the day. Ask a friend to work with you on those attributes you have that are loving and positive. Focus on how these show up each day.
“It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.” —Jim Rohn
In all cases, these major changes are not easy to do on your own. They take practice, they take awareness, and they take purpose. An outside supporter such as a personal empowerment coach is your ally. Seek out a mentor, a supporter who is able to help you make the changes you are seeking.
You have the power to choose how you heal, how you respond. and how you use your energy each day. This is a practice of conscious choice and being present in the uniqueness of the moment. Take control, accept responsibility, and be aware that your perception, response, and results belong to you alone. You know it’s time for even more.
If not now, when?