You often hear people say that good choices result in good outcomes and bad choices in bad outcomes. But we know that this is not always the case. Often one might approach something with the best of intentions, but experience the worst of results! For example: I have been very privileged to be given airplane tickets to Scotland for the whole family as a gift. In fact, I am sitting at Amsterdam airport typing this post. At about 2am this morning, I really felt it was time for my over excited 8-year-old to sleep. I looked at the floor and decided that it would make the perfect sleeping place for me, and allow me to give up my seat for my daughter and wife to sleep more comfortably. Great idea, with the best of intentions!
When I finally got myself on the floor, wedged in between row 24 & 25, I discovered that there were a few metal bars that pressed into my back. I had to keep my legs curled up which resulted in some crazy cramps and when I finally decided to get up, I realized I was stuck! In my struggle to get out of my death grip, my glasses fell off and in my effort to pick them up, I rolled onto them and broke them! I finally got myself out of this situation, but then chose not to wake my daughter and wife, which resulted in me standing for two hours! Great intentions, good choices, and yet I experienced the worst personal outcomes.
Throughout the years that I have worked with many people in different contexts, I have come to the discovery, that when we consider the choices we make, it is not so much about right or wrong or even good or bad…but about owning it! We so quickly shift blame when things do not go our way, and tend naturally to lean away from owning our decisions. For instance, the rest of this trip could’ve gone down with me harboring a lot of resentment towards my family due to the lack of sleep I got compared to them.
However, in the moments when we consciously look at all the decisions we have made (in business, marriage, children or just life in general) and we decide to own it, it often leads to clarity in messy times, a sense of control and even forgiveness. I have made some very good decisions in my life…and also a few detrimental ones that caused a great amount of hurt to others. But they, and last night’s choice, were my decisions…and I am owning them!
What choices do you need to own?
By Cobus Oosthuizen