Work-Life 11/19/2015

Gratitude: Exercising Accounting & Accountability In The Power of Choice by Leslie Juvin-Acker

Gratitude is an energy that flows and permeates in all aspects of our lives, because it’s a choice; a choice to see, feel, and experience the opportunity in the world around us. Gratitude is an act of taking stock of the choice we provide ourselves and the direct consequence of our choices in our lives and in the lives of others.

Respond Or React: Choosing Our Paradigms To Influence The World

Surely, we’ve all experienced moments in our lives and careers in which there seemed very little to be thankful for: overbearing bosses, trying economic environments, wasted talent, conflict, and the general discomfort of the situations occurring around us. Taking a moment to think about these types of negative experiences, feel the discomfort in your body. It’s easy to go to a place where anger, helplessness, and hopelessness live. Now, going to a place, a place where it seems that we have to put effort into actually thinking about (and taking into account) all of the things we have to be grateful for, feel and experience from this point of view. From both places, what we have left is choice. The question is What kind of choices do these paradigms offer us?

And from here, what choices will we select to best respond? Because, after all, our choices reflect how we see ourselves - not the situations unfolding around us. For, reaction is simply doing what was done to us by doing the same to somebody else. Response, however, is answering the problem; not giving back the same thought (or thoughtlessness) from where the problem came.

Hidden Wisdom: Gratitude Gives Us Opportunities To Exercise More Choice

Gratitude is the choice to see the problems around us as opportunities to exercise more choice. Clients come to me with problems and they’re often angry - they just want to get rid of their problems, stop them, and get past them. Fair enough. For me, as a coach, I see opportunity and hidden wisdom within the problems. Whether through coaching or hypnosis, I ask, What is the wisdom to be gained from a self-sabotaging behavior or an unwanted situation?

Consciously, one might not be aware of that wisdom, but given time to reflect and go deeper, problems and struggles reveal a hidden wisdom that is trying to come to the surface. Once acknowledged and thanked, the newly integrated wisdom seems to transform personal and professional difficulties into opportunities to act on. Thereby, providing more opportunities to choose.

Accounting & Accountability: Gratitude Takes Back Our Power To Choose

Reflecting on the recent tragedies in France and in the other parts of the world, as a French citizen I was initially angry and sad. For two days, I mourned the loss of my people, the youth, and the life gone. At first, I wanted to get to the bottom of things and finger who to blame. But then, I realized… and then what? What would I do then? What about my own accountability? What about my choices now? Whoa. This horrible situation put the spotlight back on me, my choices, and my paradigm of France, the world, and ultimately my own power.

Suddenly, I had a lot to be grateful for, to recognize, and take into account. This spirit of gratitude once again reminded me of my ability to choose… and to choose differently from the perpetrators. Maybe, the individuals involved in these terrorist attacks believed they didn’t have choice, power, and much to be grateful for… Maybe, their sense of power came from exercising a choice - maybe the only choice they believed they had. But, at the end of the day, these are stories we fabricate to take the responsibility and power out of our own hands to justify the behaviors and situations we believe are not of our choosing. The truth is, we all have a choice - even when we believe we don’t.

Gratitude, on the other hand, takes power, choice, and potential for change and puts them back into our own hands. Gratitude is the act of recognizing our power to choose, to select from the inventory of resources and wisdom available to us, and gives us a platform to act in accord with our authentic selves.

So, when you’re enjoying the company of your colleagues, friends, and family (and even perfect strangers) this holiday season, reflect upon the power of choice. Take stock of what your choices have provided you (maybe freedom, abundance, love, fulfillment) and recognize the direct influence you have on the world around you. Just knowing that gives us a lot to be grateful for.

Coach Leslie’s Questions To Ask Ourselves

1.    When looking at a chain of choices that I have made, what have these choices given me? What do they tell me about myself, my beliefs, and my behaviors?

2.    What stories do I create that takes my power to choose out of my hands? What situations and self-sabotaging behaviors keep cropping up that make me feel powerless?

3.    When I am faced with difficult situations, do I choose to look at them from an cynical point of view? What choices do I give myself when I do so?

4.     When I make choices, are they out of reaction (feeding back what I got) or responding (giving a solution to a problem)? Why?

5.    Do I actively take into account my accountability and what resources I have to make a direct impact on the situations around me? Why/why not? How can I hold myself more accountable?