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When was the last time you made a deliberate choice and pursued it, either at work or in your business, or in your personal life? Are you inadvertently allowing others to make the choices that form your world?

I’ve been working with a business coach since the pandemic started to help plan and prepare for the transformations that need to take place, and we’ve begun working with a larger circle of entrepreneurs to help create the specific strategies that will allow us to sustain our business in the new world.

During a recent conversation with the group, it hit me – an ‘Aha’ moment that reached into every single corner of my life, starting with business but extending into personal, too.

Am I truly making the decisions in my life? Or are others making them for me?

One of the other participants was talking about making hard choices and creating the business that she wants to have—nothing that seems earth-shattering, maybe, but it sank into my bones. I realized in a flash that, by default, I have accepted what was offered to me and been grateful for the work without considering whether it’s what I truly wanted; simply being chosen was  often enough.

But did I choose? The trouble is, if you often respond, as I have, to what other people want you to do—whether it’s because you used to do it, have a reputation for being good at it, or if people just like you and want you to address all their problems—then a successful business certainly does arise. But it’s not your business. It’s everyone else’s idea of what your business should be!

The deliberate action would be choosing my area of focus, choosing the clients that can provide me with a good living doing what I’ve chosen, and taking steps to get there. With my recent decision to move into mental wellness and empowerment in the workplace, I’ve certainly begun the process, but I had not thought about it in terms of this radical choosing.

The same can be said for friendships, your home-life, your professional career – how many of us have turned down an assignment, even if it wasn’t exactly the direction we wanted our careers to go in? Probably not many!

So why do we let others do the choosing for us? I think for many of us, myself included, it’s engrained. We want to respond to the needs of others and make others happy. But when we attend to the needs of others and not our own, we risk burning out (read my last blog on overserving others and undeserving ourselves for more on that).

But there’s also a risk in doing the choosing. There’s a risk of rejection, of course, and that’s true across personal and professional relationships. But it goes deeper. By choosing, by allowing yourself to choose, you’re acknowledging that you deserve to pursue your own needs, to create your own criteria and principles, values and intentions, and vision. You’re honouring your own essence by making your own choices.

I love what I do, and I want to do it in conditions that are more advantageous to me, and that means choosing more often than being chosen. It means checking in to see whose needs I’m meeting, and whether it’s reflexive or whether I’ve left room for my own choice, my own needs.

Am I settling for what other people tell me I should have, or what other people give me, or am I deciding the direction and the type of life I want to have?

The choice is—and always has been—mine. The choice is yours, too. What are you choosing?

If you’re stuck on this and need help figuring out the right questions to guide your next phase in life, reach out and let’s see if we’re a good fit for each other. If not, I’ll point you in the right direction.