I caught the opening of the Dr. Phil show on New Year’s Day. He asks the crowd, “Are you smart? Don’t be shy,” he says. Again, he asks, “Are you smart people?” Of course, many heads in the audience nod “yes.” Then he hammers home, “If you are so smart, why do you make such bad choices?”
Ouch. That hurts. Come on, Dr. Phil, you kind of set me up for that one, didn’t you? Then, I thought to myself, “Wait one minute. It’s okay to make bad choices; we do choose the wrong door from time-to-time. However, failing the first time is not the problem. We only fall short when we refuse to learn and make better choices the next time around.” Remember this saying: Shame me once; shame on you. Shame me twice; shame on me.
So, “choice” is my critical word for 2013. What choices will I make this coming year? And how have I learned from my past choices?
David Cottrell, in his book, 12 Choices that Lead to Your Success, shares some of my favorite ones on Character and might be worth considering as good choices in 2013:
1. The No-Victim Choice: Expect problems, failures, tough issues, happenings outside of your control – bad luck. Respond to life’s challenges by looking for solutions, not excuses and finding the right path out of the labyrinth. Don’t believe you are a victim of anything; it rids you of all your power to succeed.
2. The Commitment Choice: According to a study by the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 50% of people make New Year’s resolutions each year. However, by year’s end, only 8% are successful. Choosing to commit involves staying passionate about your goal, writing it down with a roadmap for achievement, and surrounding yourself with people who are equally committed to achieving goals.
3. The Values Choice: Know what you value and be sure your actions are consistent with those values. Furthermore, surround yourself with others who hold those same values. Going one step further, learn to recognize your allies from your enemies. When confronted with enemies (and if you are outspoken about your values, you’ll have them), figure out why they have become enemies. If you have wronged them, surface what has occurred and make amends. If they are enemies because of value differences or jealousies, keep them close and stay alert. I flashed back to a scene from Princess Diaries 2 when Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) was appalled that the man who was trying to steal her crown, Nicholas, (Chris Pine) had been invited to stay at the castle and remarks, “I can’t believe that Parliament would invite him to stay here at the Palace.” To which Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews) quickly replied, “Parliament didn’t invite him, I did. ……. If there’s any mischief going on, I’d prefer it right under my nose.”
4. The Integrity Choice: Cottrell comments, “Many times, the loss of integrity has been the difference between failure and success, between sorrow and happiness. The integrity choice – doing the right thing regardless of who is watching – is one of the most important choices you will ever make, personally or professionally.” So, choose to be a person of integrity in 2013 by (1) establishing integrity as your highest priority, (2) deciding on clear, uncompromised values and clearly communicating them to others, (3) doing what is right and ethical, regardless of circumstances, (4) never compromising those values – respecting these boundaries on your behavior for all situations, (5) never letting success or achieving what you want overshadow how you get what you want, and lastly, (6) doing what you say you will do. Remember to stay focused – because your integrity will be tested, particularly if you become successful.
So, as you reflect, what choices will you make in the coming year? Will you see and recognize the many choices you have daily before you and consider each one seriously? As Dr. Phil pointed out, when you’ve made a bad choice, will you learn from it and make better choices in the future? As a manager, supervisor or coach, how will you help others to see choices?