You may recall the film ‘Sliding Doors’ which followed the two outcomes for Gwyneth Paltrow’s character based on whether she got on a London tube train and where she missed the connection as the doors closed.
Even though life serendipitously offers us these moments of choice I often notice that we can exercise that choice more purposefully and more often. We are either evolving or repeating.
Over time you will have become used to your way of thinking; your commercial situation and procedures; your colleagues’ ways of thinking and working, perhaps even to the point of predictability. The familiarity of your circumstance leads to patterns of behaviour, responses, habits and lessening of purposeful, deliberate choice.
Your choice-muscle could be rejuvenated by exercise and strengthening.
In working with coaching clients and leadership teams often my role is to encourage them to break patterns, step back from the chaos, find clarity and activate choices. I act as the pattern-interrupter, raising awareness of habitual reactions and what gets triggered, opening discussion on alternatives.
In the week ahead I challenge you to use the Sliding Door filter. Perhaps pick one or two decisions or moments per day and reflect on them before setting off home. Take just a moment to revisit them and whether there was an instinctive reaction rather than a considered choice.
Notice your first response- your habitual reaction- following a co-worker, client or business occurrence (particularly those responses that don’t feel great in the immediate aftermath) and consider an alternate.
What are you immediately driven to think, say or do? What else could you think, say or do?
You could react and set in motion a series of events linked to your reaction – and the ensuing changes in behaviour and dialogue in your sphere of influence. Or you could choose a different response, more positive, more thoughtful, more creative, more supportive, more collaborative and initiate an entirely different sequence of events.
By the end of the week, initiate a pause in your responses of self-awareness, a breath to just settle the habitual reaction and to try a different door.
Your impact is indisputable, you influence so many things and are actively part of your own and many other story lines. This power can be overwhelming, so perhaps it is understandable that most people revert to pattern and perpetuate the original storyline.
In experimenting with your Sliding Door-choice you will notice your role much more. In installing the gaps you will be able to bring your inner-wisdom, aspirations and intentions to the fore – they have the space to shape your new choice.
Keep it simple and good luck with your choices.