I Choose

By Lynne Levy

If there is one word that has changed my life over the past year it has been CHOOSE. As a cancer survivor, reclaimer of her life, and former perfectionist, choose is a word that helped me get to all three places.

The formal definition of the word ‘choose’ is “to select freely after consideration.” The key word in this definition is consideration. Choosing means thinking. It means pausing for a few moments. In order to start choosing my actions and my decisions, I had to stop using words such as should, could, and need to.

For example.

  • I should go to the gym
  • I should really start to coach
  • I need to lose weight
  • I could have done that differently

I would ruminate over these “should have” or “could have.” Talk about a waste of emotional energy.

Then cancer struck. The shoulds and coulds were irrelevant. Every action I took, every decision I made, became one of choice. When we come from a place of choosing, it connects us emotionally to our values, beliefs, and what is really important. It forces us to identify what we really want-in-the-moment. We can no longer use the excuse of “I should have done this” or “I should have done that.” It helps us live without regrets because we are consciously choosing.

Some of the choices I made today were:

  1. To take a walk in silence over lunch and enjoy the sun and the sounds outside.
  2. To not push back on a decision I disagreed with. This particular decision was not worth the emotional energy.
  3. To not get frustrated at the traffic driving home and instead put on a podcast.
  4. To not worry about my Mom, who has Alzheimer’s, since the reality is she is still happy.

I had to pause and the make the choice for each one of these items.

These were all small choices. However, the same holds true for the big choices. Over the past year, I have had to make lots of big decisions. But they had to come from a place of choice where they connected with me emotionally based on what was important. Otherwise, I would be consumed with what ifs and regrets. Some of the items I chose over the past year included:

  • How much chemo should I get as part of my cancer treatment? Can I handle 8 rounds of chemo?
  • Do I want to continue to work while in treatment?
  • Should I continue with my master’s degree while in treatment?
  • Do I stay positive during cancer treatment or should I curl up into a ball every day?
  • Do I let the fear of dying take away my joy each and every day? Even today, I consciously choose joy each morning.

By visiting the place of choice first, I was able to have the confidence in each of my decisions. By understanding the difference between choosing and making automatic decisions, we can all avoid having regrets about what we have done or not done in life.

Love what you do. Live without regrets.

#leadership

#joy

#engagement

#coaching

#regrets

 


Lynne is director of product management at Globoforce.

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