Sometimes it’s easy for us to say “I have no choice…”which (according to Robert Fritz, author of ‘The Path of Least Resistance’) is one of the ways that people avoid or undermine effective choice by losing the potential power of choice – yet choices abound. Even if you don’t SEE the choice – it’s there.
What we call choices though, is what everyone else has done already. We’ve looked to this person, company or that business’s best practices to guide us. Like the investor who wants to be like Warren Buffett, the airline that wants to grow like Southwest, the innovator who wants to be like Steve Jobs. Sure we can learn from others but when it comes to our choices – it’s not about copying – it’s about truly wanting whatever it is you’re choosing.
Which brings us to creating: most of us don’t associate making choices as part of our creative process. In fact most of us don’t think we’re creative. The world to us is divided up into two large groups: the ‘creatives’ and the rest of us. Sir Ken Robinson actually suggests that it is schools that kill our creativity. “We’re all born with deep natural capacities for creativity and systems of mass education tend to suppress them,” he says. According to Fritz, (whose book I mentioned earlier) – this is largely because choice is not the centrepiece of our education. He says that when the subject of choice becomes a centrepiece of education, then and only then will be begin to prepare our children to create their own futures rather than futures that grow out of how they react or respond to circumstances.
Whenever we’re asked what we WANT to create, we almost always come up with a list of what we DON’T want! In performance reviews when asked what we’d like to do in the future – how we see ourselves growing and evolving – we’re stuck – limited primarily by choices we feel are available/on the table.
The first step when deciding on what we want is to not limit our choices to only what SEEMS possible or reasonable. When we do this we disconnect from what we truly want and settle for compromise.
Next forget EVERYTHING that you KNOW. Stop Workplace Drama Coach Marlene Chism teaches that the three words that put the lid on possibility are “I already know.”
“I already know it’s not possible”
“I already know what he’ll say”
“I already know what she’s teaching in this workshop”
“This won’t work. I already know why…”
“I already know it’s not a good idea”
“I already know the facts”
“I already know that nothing is going to come out of this”
I would also call those three words the ultimate formula to kill any creative seed.
Instead of assuming that you know ask yourself instead “what results do I want to create in my business or life?” Be as clear as you can be because if that vision is not clear you will have little chance of creating what you desire. Don’t let impatience or the underlying belief that it won’t happen anyway prevent you from plugging in details. Again remember that you’re choosing what you WANT not what you think you SHOULD want or what others have at your age etc.
Next you put together the strategic choices that you must make along the way – choices about the actions you need to take, your values and the priorities that will guide you and support your efforts.
But the choice that is going to determine whether you create what you want or not is the choice I want to focus on here because it is THAT important: it is called ‘Fundamental Choice.’ Robert Fritz says that primary choice – is the concrete result that we desire whereas a fundamental choice is about life orientation or a state of being.
Why some people are successful or not, has a lot to do with their fundamental choice. Ever tried to stop smoking for example? If you have never made the fundamental choice to be a non smoker then no matter what system you try to help you quit smoking, it will not succeed. I recently saw an episode of ‘Iyanla Fix My Life’ on the OWN network where Iyanla Vanzant was trying to help DMX establish a better relationship with his son. Xavier – DMX’s son – was clear about what results he wanted. He wanted a relationship with his father that was healthy and CLEAN. By CLEAN he meant that DMX could not use any drugs or else it would contaminate their relating. DMX, who admitted that he was a coke addict, was not prepared to make the fundamental choice to live a clean life.
Those of us who never exercise our power to choose…to create… live in a reactive-responsive world. We have never stopped to think about making an authentic fundamental choice about our own lives.
Decide today to be the creative force in your own life. This will lay the foundation for everything else. Decide to be true to yourself. Decide to live a healthy lifestyle. Every time you’re at a junction of choice-making – see how the decisions you want to make align with the fundamental choices you have made. You may have to rearrange your life, leave the job you’re in, realize that the position you were after was just a SHOULD and not what you wanted but it will all fall into place.
This journey is improvisational. There are no rule books. You will create forward but create you will.
Making choices will take practice but if you develop your ability then you will make choices that would lead you toward those results you want. Choice is a vital part of your creative process. You are the creative force in your life. You improve your creative abilities by using them. Practice making choices and feel the power of your creative self in action.