You're stuck. Now what?
The other day, I was struck with a sudden thought experiment:
I'm in a building on a cool, crisp day. I'm ready to leave and push on the exit door onto the busy sidewalk outside. Once outside, I pause, and as the door closes, the corner of my coat gets caught in the closing door.
Now for the thought experiment question...
How would I react if my coat got closed in a door?
I started to go through the scenarios:
- I could think, "why me?" "This always happens to me!" and mope until a good samaritan comes out the same door and releases me from pity prison.
- I could think, "Damn it!" and pull hard on the damn thing until I rip it out of the door's death grasp.
- I could think, "Well, I should try to be a little more careful" and open the door and apologize to the person behind me who is patiently waiting for me to resolve my issue.
- I could think, "I wonder if anyone else has been caught in this door the same way?" I quickly open the door to free my coat and then proceed to hold the door open for all the "exiters" that I can see. It's a joy to watch them walk through and avoid the same pitfall that I experienced.
- I could think, "This is an opportunity to try that cool Jackie Chan move," and deftly slide my body out of the coat, which is sure to leave a smile on the faces of others passing by on the sidewalk. And then free my coat and warn the next person coming out to leave plenty of space for the hungry door.
- I could think, "What purpose does this moment serve?" And perhaps I get an intuitive vision of something I forgot back in the building. And I'm grateful for the door, the coat, and the building for connecting with me.
- I could think, "Sweet! I will create my response based on the 6 previous responses!"
You may be wondering, "which one did he choose?"
Good question. Which one is right, or wrong, good, or bad? Perhaps there isn't a right, wrong, good, or bad choice. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to each response.
But which one?
I want to be the passionate creator of my life and my responses. I will strive for choice number 7 as much as possible.
As a coach, I work with these seven levels* every day to help myself and others consciously choose how to respond to life's circumstances – especially the ones where the reaction seems to have more control than the choice.
So if you find yourself stuck in life and you're not sure how to respond, write down some potential responses and see which one feels right to you.
There's no right or wrong, only choice.
*These seven choices are based on the seven levels of energy which were introduced to my by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching and developed by Bruce D. Schneider.