We make choices every minute of our lives, most of which are done unconsciously, and we don’t even notice a choice has been made. For some of the mundane and non-essential tasks and activities, it is perfectly fine to outsource our choice making to our subconscious mind. But when it comes to choices that can change the trajectory of our thinking, our actions, or the impact we make in our lives and life of others, it is important to make a conscious choice. This is a key step toward conscious leadership.
Choosing one’s own way
The first and foremost realization is that we are always in a position of making a choice, irrespective of the outside circumstances. A great example to illustrate this is Victor Frankl’s statement. He was an Austrian neurologist, psychotherapist, and holocaust survivor. He lost his whole family and was in Nazi concentration camps for three years under severe conditions. Here is what he had to say:
“Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”.
This is conscious choice. It is the realization that in spite of our circumstances, challenges and limitations, we always have the freedom to make a choice, to choose our own way.
Creative versus reactive
Most of our choices are reactive, not creative. We react to someone else’s behaviors. We label someone out there as inconsiderate, selfish, rude, etc. and just like the sound of thunder follows the lightning, we respond to them with like energy, with our ego’s fully present and erected. And the spiral continues on its own, and we just follow. There is an alternative and that requires making a conscious choice that is creative in nature. It requires us to raise our awareness and perspective. It requires us to be open and stay in our zone of curiosity and understanding. It requires us to suspend our judgment, and mindfully and consciously choose a response to the person or situation that is more creative and constructive.
This is counter intuitive, but somehow, the more we know the less open and flexible we are to possibilities. The famous Zen master, Shunrya Suzuki, says it beautifully:
‘In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are a few”.
We have all been programmed by our parents, schools, colleagues, and communities and we take certain things for granted as facts and that will narrow and limit our playground for making decisions. We need to raise our awareness to this programming, and consciously question and challenge our answers to be able to take an unfamiliar route, to operate from a beginner’s mind.
Nader is an Executive Coach, entrepreneur, and author based in Silicon Valley, California. His mission is to transform and elevate the lives of business leaders and high achievers to live on purpose and make a positive impact in the world. Nader was the founder and CEO of AuroraNetics which was acquired by Cisco, and has over 35 years of experience in executive roles in public and private companies. He served as an adjunct professor at Palo Alto University, Business Psychology program. He is an author, speaker, workshop leader, musician, and energy medicine practitioner. His approach emphasizes conscious leadership principles and a holistic view of leading a life of joy, impact, and abundance.
To learn more, or to help integrate these practices into your life, please contact Nader or visit https://cnergist.com/