Sunday, May 16, 2010

not to choose is NOT an option

Here is a simple exercise.
Write down three things you had to do this week. Examples could be "I had to clean up my apartment", "I had to take my mother-in-law to the hospital" or "I had to poison that old witch". Done? Now draw a line across the words "had to" and write down those three statements substituting "had to" for "chose to". How does it feel now?

How does it feel to be in control?

             How does it feel to be accountable for your own life?

                                What are the situations when you do not have a choice?

Yes, often people say that if you are in prison or on your deathbed, there are not many options and you did not really opt for those things to happen to you. Still, you can always choose your attitude, you can choose how you react to what happens to you, even though you may not have direct control over the situation.

This realization is key in shaping you as a leader. Choice is the key concept when it comes to accountability. Whether you are gaining it or it is sought from you, it is a choice in 100% of situations. "Yeah, but if I don't do what my boss it telling me, I am gonna get fired," you might retort. True --- and it is your choice. Only a fool would argue that it is of no importance, which choice you make. Every single one comes with its consequences! It is up to you to weigh those and make the decision...

Man's Search for Meaning is a must-read. Written by Viktor Frankl, this relatively short book provides an invaluable insight into the choices we are faced throughout our lives. A holocaust victim, Auschwitz prisoner, psychiatrist by profession and a survivor by need, Viktor Frankl proves to us by his personal example that
everything can be taken from a man but one thing:  the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way
Thus, between stimulus and response there is always a freedom to choose. Think about the workplace again (or for less fortunate - your school or university): certain task and expectations are imposed onto you by the supervisor, professor or peers. Alternatively, you might be trying to make others do something. Trust me - one can huff and puff as much as you want, but unless the other party chooses to do what is sought from them, there is little one can do to make them. Accountability cannot be imposed, and this is one of the lessons many managers fail to learn. So next time you are trying to understand why others did not dance to your tune, reflect on the fact that each one of them had a PERSONAL CHOICE.

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