Posts Tagged ‘Choice’

Most afternoons when the weather is nice, I will either go for a walk or a bike ride. One day in early April, after a few days of abnormally warm temperatures, a cold front was moving through the area.
storm 12By the end of my walk that day, the cold front was only about a ½ mile from my house. The sky was strikingly dark, with swirling greenish clouds mixed in for dramatic effect. I had never seen anything like it in all my years of weather-watching here in New Jersey, but it looked like the kind of sky people talk about before a tornado strikes. My thinking was proved right moments later by a neighbor from Texas (part of Tornado Alley) who confirmed that the sky does indeed look like this prior to a tornado.
The conditions were so threatening and foreign to me that I was a little concerned. I felt a pang of fear in my gut as I focused on the ever darkening skies approaching from the northwest that were filled with frequent flashes of lightning. I hurried my pace to get home before the storm hit.

As I walked up the last hill, I turned around and faced the southeast. There the skies were still bright, with patches of blue and white puffy clouds. Just looking in that direction calmed the nervousness and fear I felt in my gut and my whole body seemed to relax.

I still needed to get out of the impending storm, but the two drastically different views of the sky had me realize something much bigger about how we go through life.

What you focus on determines the reality of your day . . . and your life.


Do you focus on fear and the impending storm that might come your way, or do you focus on the bright skies that exist if you simply turn around and change your view? It is amazing how simply changing your focus can completely change the way life shows up for you.

If you go through life focusing on the storm, your life will more likely always be in turmoil. If you focus on the clear skies, you will more likely have a peaceful, lighter life.

So ask yourself, “What is your focus in life?” Do you like the circumstances that focus creates for you . . . or is it time to look in another direction and focus on brighter skies?

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.

– John Lubbock

The truth of the matter is that we get to decide what our life looks like and how it gets created. It is up to us and is our responsibility. Consciously or not, we choose what we focus on and create. Do you want that creation to be filled with the dark, swirling clouds of a storm, or do you want it to be filled with the bright light of the sun? The choice is yours .

And while you are bathing in the warm rays of the sun, why not listen to a fun, hopeful song from days gone by. At a minimum, ya just gotta dig this guy’s clothes! 🙂

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I wish I could say that as a coach I always set goals, develop a plan, work the plan and achieve the success I desire. The truth is that is not the case. As the age-old saying goes, the cobbler’s kids have no shoes. I guess I could beat myself up about it, but I imagine this fact only makes me more human and has me better understand the challenges my clients face.

However, during the past 14 years that I have been coaching, I have found something that is more frustrating, more crushing, more defeating than not successfully accomplishing a goal . . . . . . . living your life in purgatory.

In my work, I consider purgatory a state of being where there is no commitment. It is a place where the client cannot commit to either A or B, and as a result, they just float somewhere in the middle, making little or no progress in their life. There is no doubt that this state of being is the most frustrating state that exists. It is more frustrating than committing to a certain path and finding it is the wrong direction or choosing a path and failing to achieve the desired goal. At least in the latter two, a choice was made and something was learned.

A life spent in purgatory gets stale very quickly, which is why I often encourage clients who are stuck there to make a decision – ANY decision – and not worry about whether it is right or wrong. When stuck in purgatory, the first and most important step is to break free of inertia. Once that is done and momentum exists, then you can adjust the course.

If you are stuck in purgatory in any area of your life, don’t let the fear of making a wrong decision keep you there. The important action is to take a step. Any step. And then adjust your course from there. The freedom you will feel in the movement will be invigorating!

Don’t be afraid to backtrack in life. It gives you the opportunity to see what you missed while you had your back to the world.

                                                               – Rich Largman

We were not meant to live in purgatory. Those moments in life are simply tests to help us determine what we truly desire in our lives. The trick to getting out of purgatory and any suffering we may experience is to make a choice. And do not let the fear of making a choice stop you. A “wrong” choice gets you closer to what you desire than no choice at all.

And to help inspire you, here is a clip of one of the coolest choices ever made in movies.

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A few weeks ago I was following the long range computer models of a summer hurricane when I realized something interesting. Human behavior is not that much different from the behavior of these powerful storms. 

Meteorologists have compiled decades worth of data on hundreds of storms in order to build models to calculate the likely path a hurricane will follow.  Rarely is there a major deviation from forecasted paths.  Similarly, humans follow predictable paths and behaviors in life based on years of living and habits.  And these predictable paths of ours tend to lead to the same predictable outcomes. 

So I wondered, while hurricanes rarely make a dramatic change in their course, what does it take to change the behavior of humans, especially if we want to alter our course in order to do or be something different.   

Not surprisingly, I found that the steps to initiate human change are simple, but not necessarily easy.

1) Set a new course. Clearly understand and define the change you want to create.  The key to establishing a new course you will successfully travel is to deeply understand the “why” behind the change you desire.

2) Draw from a large energy source that continually feeds the storm. Set your intention, declare it, and post it somewhere you can see it regularly.  Doing so makes it come alive everyday and has it serve as the engine that drives your daily actions. 

3) Establish a well-developed eye.  The key to a strong and vital storm is a well-developed eye, which is often a reflection of the strength and power of the winds swirling around it.  The hardest part of any change is breaking free of inertia. Get into action to get your winds swirling.  Do at least 1 thing every day that moves you toward your intention and keeps you on course!

4) Stay focused on those things that contribute to your energy and goal. Whenever a storm travels over land or hits a high pressure system, its energy diminishes greatly and eventually the storm dissipates.  Consciously choose how you are going to spend your energy everyday.  Steer clear of known obstacles or activities that distract you or diminish your energy.

5) Absorb the energy around you to power you forward.  Once a storm gets going, it starts to suck in the energy of all that is around it, making it stronger.  Once you get going, you will notice small things that support you and nudge you along your path.  Welcome and expect those.  They are confirmation that you have chosen the right course.  Things will get easier and the velocity of your movement will increase. 


If you keep doing what you’ve always been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always been getting.
                                                                                – Anonymous

The chance to change the course of your life is much greater than that of a hurricane changing its course due to one key element – the power of choice.  The fact that we can consciously choose how we interact with our surroundings and any events that swirl around us dramatically impacts the effect we have on how our lives look and turn out.

What change do you want to make in your life?  What benefits will that change provide?  Chances are, there is a reason why you want to make that change that serves your future.  Go for it!

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