We’re living through a time full of choices, ranging from radical to small. You may be familiar with the motivational phrases “Attitudes are contagious! Is yours worth catching?”
You can choose your attitude. You can choose to celebrate the little things that go well, you can choose to enjoy your work, even if it’s not your dream job. You can choose to be happy about your life, and you can make choices that help you achieve your goals.
You can make choices about where you live, work, learn and play. Sometimes there are external constraints that are beyond our control. For example, you can’t choose to make the sun come out on a rainy day. You can choose to celebrate the gift of life that gentle rain brings while you shelter in what I hope is a safe home.
I grew up learning not to waste my energy on trying to change things that are completely out of my control. I was also taught to choose to make decisions that would help me reach my goals, and that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. These may seem like contradictory teachings. Here’s a story about a life altering decision that I made.
While on my second maternity leave, a colleague that I’d worked with prior to having my first child became a veteran. We got together regularly to go on walks in the woods, taking along my infant, who enjoyed peering out at nature from a robust stroller. One day I asked her why she’d retired, while she was still relatively young, and doing so well in her career. She said something that stuck with me over the years. She said she chose to retire while she was still having fun. She told me of people who’d overstayed their time in the military. People who left feeling bitter and angry and whose negative attitudes had been contagious in their workplaces. She said she chose to leave on her terms, when she was ready.
I thought about that teaching over the years. Until it became my time to choose to become a veteran, while I was still relatively young, and still doing well in my career. The military made a choice about what they wanted me to do next. Once I realized that I would not be able to change their decision, which didn’t suit my long-term goals, I knew it was time to leave.
The time between making the decision to become a veteran, and figuring out what I would do next, caused me some anxiety. Even when I wasn’t sure what the future would hold, I chose to enjoy my military career right up until my last day in uniform, staying late to finish off a few more things. I also chose to seize opportunities to do things I loved, like speaking at conferences, and setting up a speaking engagement on embracing diversity shortly after I officially become a veteran.
I’ve enjoyed the learning experience of becoming an entrepreneur, and figuring out ways to get paid for doing what I’m good at and love doing, all the while helping others learn ways that they can thrive.
In the past few years, as a Thought Partner helping people figure out new career paths and/or how to grow their dream business, the power of people making the choices that are right for them has been illustrated over and over again.
You too can choose to make decisions that will help you achieve your goals. You can consciously choose to find joy in the little things at the place you are in now. You can look at your options, and make small and large decisions to help you achieve your long-term goals. You can choose a timeline to achieve your goals, and then you can choose to roll with the unexpected that will appear in your life in both good and seemingly bad ways. Taking ownership of your choices allows you to be more open to unexpected opportunities which may help you achieve your goals faster than you planned. Sometimes roadblocks appear which may at first seem to be insurmountable. You can choose to look at those roadblocks as obstacles or as opportunities. They may point the way to a different path, one that will bring you more joy along the way to your long-term goals.
I choose to celebrate the things in life that I find inspiring, that bring me joy. This choice helps me stay positive, even during turbulent circumstances. A choice can be as simple as loving a social media post because it is inspiring. I choose to be happy!
I hope that you choose joy, in the life you’re leading right now, until you choose to make changes to help you achieve your dreams!