Are You a Rhino, Elephant, Ostrich or Rabbit?

Are You a Rhino, Elephant, Ostrich or Rabbit?

What Would Your 5 Key Choices Say About You?

What Would Your 5 Key Choices Say About You

Exploring the Significance of Your Choices

Your choices tell you who you are. Every single day you make choices, some big, some small, but certain choices are deeply meaningful because they demonstrate who you are, what you value, where you’ve been and where you’re going.

The Value of Examining Past Choices

People often ask me, what’s the value in looking closely at my choices from the past? Shouldn’t I focus more on my present or future choices? Looking back and exploring what emanated from your intentional choices allows you to take 100% ownership of those choices and your subsequent actions. Imagine how that will feel, to own all the ramifications of your choices.

Unearthing the Impact of Small Choices

Some intentional choices will stand out clearly in your mind, these are the BIG ONES—the ones you can easily recount—whether you married, what you chose to study in college, what job you took, where you moved, whether or not you chose to have kids. Then, there are your smaller, seemingly less life-altering choices, often not on your radar, that may require delving deeper into the recesses of your thoughts to excavate and uncover. Very often with your smaller choices, it’s only upon reflection as you retrace your steps and look for connections that you can appreciate that your small choice had a great impact on your life.

Moving Beyond Good or Bad Judgment

It’s possible you’ve already spent countless hours ruminating on whether your big choices were right or wrong and how they affected you along the way. You may wonder what could have been had you chosen a different path, causing you to feel self-doubt. It’s natural, when thinking about past choices, to focus on a simple binary question: was that choice good or bad? This kind of thinking is tied to judgment, shame, and doubt, and it distracts us from the abundant information that’s concealed in each choice. There’s more to gain in approaching choice from a place of deeper exploration and inquiry, seeking to understand, what can your choices teach you about yourself?

Becoming an Investigator of Your Life

Becoming an investigator of your life, excavating your past for answers and clues, allows you to view yourself with kinder, more soul-seeking eyes. When perched on your own shoulder as an observer, you’re creating emotional distance. This space enables you to sit with your questions and let your answers present themselves. At this time, you don’t need a plan of action for what you’ll uncover—keep asking and listening. There’s great value to letting your answers flow without any attachment or worry as to what you’ll do with them. Trust that as you gather the answers to your challenging questions you can handle whatever arises.

Personal Journey of Mapping Choices

During my first mapping year, which coincided with healing from my post-divorce relationship, I was incredibly introspective and reflective. I put my life under a microscope to truly understand what motivated me, what got in my way, what mattered to me, and how I wanted to show up as I moved into the next phase of my life. I used guiding questions to interrogate my key choices so I could better understand who I was and how I’d gotten to this place in my life.

Questions to Uncover the Path of Your Journey

In asking these questions, I sought to understand details about my past actions to see the path of my journey. I used my new tools of inquiry and mapping, plus my deep desire for answers, to explore the lessons I’d learned because of my big choices. Putting my life, questions, and choices under deep scrutiny allowed me to see what’s possible when you look closely at yourself. My questions illuminated that part of my life’s purpose is to develop and hone this process and share it with you so you can apply it to your own life in a way that works best for you.

Looking Back with Compassion and Empathy

You have a choice in how you reflect upon the past. You can look back from a place of judgment, assessing what you did wrong and beating yourself up for all you wish you’d done differently, or you can mine your past for your key choices, made in a moment of strength, that set the tone and inform who you are today. These choices will stand out as lighthouses, each guiding the way to the next.

Discovering Your Five Key Choices

Over a decade ago, I began inviting a group of women to meet at my home based on a singular criterion—they each made me happy. This became my Great Women’s Gathering. At a recent gathering, with choice very much on my mind (as it often is), I asked everyone to share five key choices that define who they are and how those choices set the foundation upon which they’re proud to stand.

Stories of Courage and Resilience

A handful of women made a meaningful choice related to being a parent. At 22, one woman chose to have her boyfriend’s baby against her parent’s wishes, knowing she’d be disowned. A married woman, with one child, consciously chose not to have a second baby, a decision that bucked the desires of her close friends and family. A 50-year old grandmother, educated at an all-girls Catholic high school, chose not to have an abortion at 16 and insisted she get tutored.

Many of the women walked away from a seemingly stable life. Some spoke about leaving their corporate professions to write a book, launch a start-up, and pursue an entrepreneurial venture to learn new skills. They chose to leave relationships, take a stand for themselves, and be alone rather than settling. Many shared personal stories that involved taking a leap to move to a new city, having an intuitive sense they needed to move to shake up their lives.

Commonalities of Strength and Determination

While there was great disparity in the choices the women shared, there were interesting commonalities: a deep inner strength, a desire to take courageous risks, and a willingness to make a big life change, even when it contradicted other people’s wishes for them.

Your Personal Journey of Five Key Choices

I invite you to take yourself on a similar journey. Consider looking back over your life to identify and focus on five intentional choices that led you to where you are. (See mine, here). As you begin, you may find this process challenging because your life has been full of choices, big and small. How do you best sift through the multitude of choices to determine the important ones that best illuminate who you are?

Reflecting with Kindness and Empathy

My best advice is to consider only those choices you made consciously and those you see without judgment. See yourself at your younger age weighing the options that allow you to make your choice. Look at yourself with kindness and empathy, knowing you made the best choice with who you were at the time. This exercise allows you to recollect your past from a place of strength, knowing that certain choices made you who you are today. These are the choices that show you who you are and what you stand for.

The Two Components of Thought Process

There are two components to this thought process: first, gathering your choices, and second, exploring them through greater inquiry. In my book, The Book of Choice: Mapping the Life You Want by Understanding the Life You Have, I share examples on how to determine your five choices and choose how deeply you’d like to explore them. Please download the first chapter, as my gift to you.

Begin Your Journey of Self-Exploration

Take a moment to reflect on your life and the choices that have shaped it. Embrace the power of examining your intentional choices and uncovering the lessons they hold. By understanding the significance of these choices, you gain a deeper understanding of yourself, your values, and the path you’ve taken.

Through the process of exploring your key choices, you tap into your inner strength and resilience. You discover the courage and determination that have guided you through life’s challenges. By embracing your past choices with kindness and empathy, you empower yourself to move forward with clarity and purpose.

As you embark on this journey of self-exploration, remember that each choice has led you to this moment. Embrace the power of your choices and let them serve as lighthouses, guiding you to the next chapter of your life. Trust in your ability to make thoughtful decisions and shape a future aligned with your true desires and aspirations.

Download the first chapter of The Book of Choice and begin your transformative journey today. Discover the richness of your past choices and unlock the potential for a more fulfilling and purposeful life. Embrace the power of mapping and let it be your guide to self-discovery and personal growth.