When we feel stuck, we always have a choice. It is easier said than done, but regardless we have the ability to choose what is right for us. I am inspired to write about choice after reading a terrific book by Dr Edith Eger. Dr Eger is a psychologist with a life story so terrible, hopeful and incredibly inspiring. She was one of the few survivors of the Nazi concentration camps. I won’t spoil the book by telling her story, instead I am going to focus on one of her core messages:
“If you give up the authority of your own choices, then you are agreeing to be a victim – and a prisoner.”
Looking at my own life, there are times when this describes what I did. During a particularly rough time in my career, I completely disregarded the option of leaving the company. It was my fear of the unknown and my own limiting story that removed that choice. For a while I played the victim role. Until, with the help of my coach, I was able to make a shift and regain my personal responsibility.
Making a choice
This also reminds me of another encounter with one of my coaches. He said “As long as I put the company I work for ahead of my own dignity, I would always be subservient to them and not my best self.” He wasn’t telling me to leave. He was telling me to be my own person, to take a stand for what I truly cared about and see what happens. This is the path I took that led me to where I am today, thriving in a career helping others.
De Eger goes on to describe four questions she asks her patients:
What do you want? This is not about expecting someone else to change, what do you want for yourself that you can own?
Who wants it? We often take on the wants of others. For example, our parents desire for us to become their model of success.
What are you going to do about it? Change requires positive action.
When? What will we do now?
These are powerful questions and they require courage to face them. If you feel trapped, this is a good place to start. If you don’t feel trapped, it’s worth considering if you are on the ‘right’ path. We all have the power to choose, nobody can take that away.