If you have read the last few blogs (see below if you haven’t) you will hopefully have been inspired to think through your version of a perfect life; considered the steps you need to take to get there and identified the daily actions (and the streaks of consecutive actions) that will realise your dreams.
Of course, this assumes that you are able to choose that path – that you are not constrained by lack of resources or by commitments and constraints that hem you in. For 30 years I have been moving towards being better able to make those choices, and for at least 15 years I have had the explicit awareness that life is better if we are “at choice”.
For me, that has meant building the financial resources to be able to choose a range of directions in life, but also passing on commitments to free up options. What would enable you to be “at choice”?
You may need to have certain things – for many this is having reserves (often money) that give you greater flexibility. If your petrol tank is full, you have far more options for a day out than if it is running on fumes. If you have cash in the bank, in life or business, you can take bigger risks, make investments or opt out of relationships more easily. You may also need other sorts of resources – training, staff, business processes, emotional or physical security, or simply the road map to show the way forward. What do you need to create choice?
You may need NOT to have certain things – there may be commitments, contracts, physical items or relationships that tie you to your current situation and hamper your ability to move forwards. Choosing not to have children freed me of some major issues in this area! If your plan to achieve the perfect life is a long-term vision, you can dismantle these walls brick by brick by pulling out of contracts graciously, dealing with relationships that hem you in and by letting go of physical items that hold you to the wrong place. I have an inspirational friend who is currently volunteering in the Philippines. To make that happen, she needed NOT to have a regular job, and she needed NOT to be attached to many of the home comforts of Berkshire. Being free of things like that has allowed her to choose to follow her dream. What do you NOT need to create choice?
You may need greater awareness about your choices – knowing what impacts your desires and choices – what influences you react to, what your emotional hot buttons are – helps you make more intelligent choices. If you come to realise that your desire for fast cars and even faster women is driven by your idolisation of George Best, you might reflect that you’re not a 1970s football icon, and choose something less consumptive for yourself. If you come to realise that providing for your family is a core value of yours, you might prioritise your business or working life as you build a career that affords you the lifestyle you and they want. What influences your choices, for good and bad?
You may need to reflect on the choices you are making – so many of us have arrived where we are in life by accident. We had no plan, no map, not even a clear idea of a destination. We don’t take time to stop and reflect on the choices we want to make, and whether we are making them. Far too many cat videos on Facebook to watch instead… The alternative route is to deliberately create time, individually, as a team or as a business to ask and answer the hard questions – why are we here, what do we want to achieve, what choices will take us there? When will you create that time for yourself?
We may not always make wise choices (the eighth pint at the weekend, for example), but we can be better by at least giving ourselves the ability to choose.
Please do not underestimate the significance of being “at choice”. Like many aspirations in life it can seem unattainable, but by knowing where you are heading and taking daily actions to build your reserves, shed the ties that bind and develop your awareness of the why and how you are making choices, you can get there. I can help if you want to choose that path.