Do you have a dream or goal that you’ve always wanted to accomplish? Would you like your business to be better or more profitable? Are you unhappy with where you are right now? Is there something you want to change—maybe your weight, your home, your income or your career? I have good news for you: You can change. You always have a choice.
The power of choice is a wonderful gift we have all been blessed with. You can choose to change or not to change. Either way, the choice is yours.
Sometimes people say, “I’ve tried new sales incentive programs and my results didn’t change,” or, “No matter what I do, I can’t get ahead.” They complain that they can’t find good people to hire or don’t have the correct inventory. You feel stuck, but you are not stuck. None of us are. No one else is choosing for you. You create your own life every day with the choices you make.
A lot of people don’t realize it, but with each statement we make about who we are, where we are, and what we want to do, we’re making a choice. Whether it’s about success, wealth, a home or lack thereof, we make statements that reinforce our choices. .
Think of it this way. If every time you try to play golf, you say to yourself, “I can never seem to hit the ball,” then you’re right. You never will be able to play golf the way you may have hoped. But if you say, “One of these days, I’m going to be able to hit that little white ball,” you’ll be right about that too. It’s the same way with the bigger things in your life. There are only two things you can be doing in your life. You are either getting the results you want or you are making excuses for not getting those results.
You see, God has blessed us with a wonderful gift called the power of choice. We have this ability to make choices in our lives. The challenge is how to become accountable and responsible for our choices, instead of finding reasons why we're not achieving them.
Making Action Maps
Each thing we do is just an experience. Going to the dentist is just an experience. Making a sales call is just an experience. Giving a job interview is just an experience. Getting financing is just an experience.
But when an experience occurs, we respond to it, and then we respond to that response and follow the whole thing in our heads—keeping track of what happens, how we respond to it, what happens next and so on. We are charting our "Action Map." Then we use that map to navigate our way through life.
The first thing we do when we get thrown into an experience is try to find out where we are on the map. So we start associating. We say something like, "Have I been here before? Do I recognize this scene? Where is this leading me?" Then, based upon our Action Maps, we make our decisions. "I like this and I'm going to keep moving in this direction," or, "I don't like this and it's going to lead me toward something I don't want."
We develop our Action Maps based upon our history and our interpretation of what happens in our lives, so that every time we have an experience, we keep track of the data and use it to chart our Action Maps. It's kind of like the hard drive on your computer. You store the data and it affects the way you respond. If your experience brings you to a place you've been before, based upon that map, you'll respond a certain way.
Following Your Action Map
The trouble is, our Action Maps are based on our assumptions, opinions, reactions, interpretations and, sometimes, misunderstandings about what has happened in the past. So our reasons for doing something or not doing it are not always well-founded.
Our minds are designed to protect us by warding off danger. Something bad happens and we remember it, so we can try to avoid it the next time. If the first dog you ever see tries to bite you, you’ll have a very bad impression of dogs. You might be scared of dogs for years – until you learn to correct your expectations later. Maybe you meet a few nice dogs and adjust your Action Map to include the idea that not all dogs bite. However, for a while, you have a map based on incomplete information and you don’t know it. And, if our map is based on inaccurate data, we will have faulty navigation and head off in the wrong direction.
Getting Results or Making Excuses?
Are you accountable for your choices, or are you making excuses? Are you spending more energy on looking for the reasons you're not accountable than you are on getting things done? It's easy to blame somebody else. But here's what I want you to say to yourself, "I am right where I want to be right now." No matter what the situation is, you can say, "Hey, I choose to be this way. I'm getting exactly the results that match my Action Map.” That’s all well and good, if you’re getting the results you want. But what if you’re not? What if you say, "But this is not what I want"?
You may not like where you are, but you choose to be where you are. That’s the best news yet because if you had the power to get yourself here, you have the power to get yourself out. You can go wherever your Action Map can take you.
You always have a choice. You have the absolute power of choice. Change your Action Map before you change your behavior. If you don’t know how to change your map, then seek a guide. Join a 20 group or get a board of directors who will challenge your map.