My dad loves ice cream. A huge treat for my family was going to Baskin Robbins’ 31 flavors as a child. I was known as the child who wanted a little of everything. My dad, however, would scan through all the luscious, heavenly flavors, and 99.9999999% of the time, choose vanilla. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with vanilla–but for me–when there are so many other choices out there shouldn’t you at least try them? I never asked my dad, but I imagine he just didn’t want to be disappointed in his choice so he relied on his ‘go-to’ flavor.
That is one way of navigating your choices for life. (BTW, I’m not saying my dad advocated this as a choice for life!) There is no one way to make every choice that ensures a positive outcome. However, recognizing what is influencing your choices makes a HUGE difference in your response.
One can make the seemingly ‘safe’ choices all the way through and get through life or one can make more adventurous choices and get from life. Put it this way, either life impacts you or you impact life.
- I believe life was created to be lived.
- I also believe you were created to live life.
- I believe you have gifts and talents that your choices unlock or leave locked–significant contributions you have to offer.
- I also believe this isn’t a burden to bear, but a gift to be celebrated and enjoyed.
How should we make those choices?
Stephen Covey has some pretty good wisdom on the matter: “Begin with the end in mind.”
It’s not really that hard. It takes a little discipline, but ask yourself this question: what’s important for you when you get to the end of your life? Or put it this way, “What do you want written on your tombstone?”
I doubt most of us want “He lived safely” as a final epitaph.
Yet I recognize many don’t want “She lived recklessly” either.
You want to be a great parent? Make your choices based around what you believe to be a great parent.
You want to conquer the business world? Make your choices around what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
You want to be a peacemaker? You get the idea.
I know, I hear you saying, “But…what if I want to be a great parent AND a conqueror of the business world?”
Now you’re catching on. Unintended consequences of intended choices can alter the trajectory of your life’s direction.
“Can I have both?” I hear you ask.
I believe you can–but it takes congruency in your choices.
You can’t make some decisions about business (i.e., always staying late, taking every business call no matter where you are, stepping on anyone and everyone that gets in your way)…
…be that great parent who coaches your kid’s little league teams, is present at every recital, takes your child to church, and volunteers at school.
So, to navigate those legions of choices, you need to make intentional choices that are congruent and positively impact your intended outcomes.
To clarify, there’s nothing wrong with vanilla–however–there are thirty other choices out there!
Here’s the good news: By simply asking the question, “Can I have both?” you open a door. You realize it’s more than just the choices that you make. You’re not captive to your first impulses when conflict arises.
Whether you’re just beginning your life’s journey or even if you’re coming into the autumn years of your life, one of my favorite mentors says: “you can’t change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction.”
You CAN think bigger–and you should! However, even ice cream has an expiration date. You can and you should take action.
Right now, have another cup and I’ll be right back…