Patnaude Coaching

Living with Choices

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All around us every day, there are examples of how we live with choices. I see it in my 14-year old son, as he continues learning consequences of his words and actions (or lack thereof). I see it in the executive I advise, as she navigates her new role and moves from the more technical side of business to managing and developing her team. I see it in our horses, as they are reminded of the boundaries of the fence and get a small zap when they get too close to the wire.

There are a thousand nice, neat sayings about this kind of stuff. I just wrote three of them before realizing how sound-bite-y and unhelpful they sounded. The rough reality is we all make choices, every day. It is simple truth. Those choices all have consequences—some unintended, some joyful and great, and some that really suck. A friend and business colleague shared this photo of a passage from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Master and Vietnamese monk. It hit me in the gut.

Why is it that we are more willing to recognize our own poor choices when they involve non-human things? I am the first to admit I am terrible at keeping house plants alive. It’s a running joke in my family. (For the record, it’s not me who takes care of the plants featured above.) But I never blame the plants… I sometimes blame the people who give them to me, knowing they are sentencing the poor plant to death by placing it in my care. And I readily admit to not having whatever it takes to keep plants alive. But do I always accept responsibility for my choices as they pertain to impacting the people around me? Nope.

None of what I write about or publish is rocket science. These concepts are simple. And that’s why they are so freakin’ hard to implement consistently. It’s almost as if their simplicity causing us to overlook them because they can’t possibly be effective. But they are.

Living out any principle you find important is an intentional choice, every day. We can choose to live in fear and scarcity, or we can choose to live in hope and abundance. We can choose empathy, or we can choose blaming others. We can choose responsibility for our actions, or we can choose victimhood. You can also choose to not choose, and wander through without any intention. That, too, is absolutely a choice, and has consequences. You get the idea.

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays upon us, you can choose to be very busy and constantly on the go, or you can choose to carve out some time for yourself and for your immediate family to relax and reconnect. We hope you do the latter. We’d love to hear how it goes.

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