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We are surrounded daily by have tos and shoulds.  The more I live my life within the Energy Leadership model I was trained in at iPEC and that I use to work with my clients, the more they sound like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Prior to my coach training, my perfectionist and my need to look good often had me living out of shoulds and have tos.  I often found myself committing to things that I wasn’t really interested in or passionate about.

One of the big lessons I learned from coaching is I actually have a choice and when I come from a place of choosing, I am more likely to complete my goals, be engaged while doing so and feel passionate about what I’m doing and who I am being.  Even if I haven’t chosen a certain circumstance, I get a say in how I handle it.  Certainly, I didn’t choose to become a widow but I discovered I did get to decide what I would make of this situation.

I went from feeling like I was making it through day by day to living my dream.  I will not say it is easy.  There is a lot of effort, energy and dedication to creating your own business and heading into a virtually unknown, undefined field like cancer survivorship coaching.  There is no path to follow.  I am leaving the first footprints in this territory which is as exciting as it is challenging.  Each day, I get to step into my office knowing I am choosing this.  There is incredible freedom and empowerment in that, not to mention a lot of high energy.  I don’t have to drag myself to my desk, count the days until Friday or feel like I’m settling or just paying the bills.

If you are going to create choice as a way of life, you have to own the fact you have a say in the matter before you can actually begin to make conscious choices.  This means taking responsibility and understanding that living by proxy and accepting what comes is, by default, you making a choice.  It’s not the kind of choice that will lead to empowerment or having more in your life that feeds you instead of draining you.  Living by default means you choose to get what you get.

For cancer survivors and caregivers, owning that you have a choice can be daunting.  After all, you didn’t choose to have your life touched by cancer.  But from the moment of diagnosis, you do get to decide who is going to run the show…the cancer, your medical team, an overbearing (and most often well-intentioned) family member or friend…or YOU!

When survivors have a loved one caring for them, it’s about creating a team with like-minded goals, roles and outside support for each party so you can co-create the healing journey together where you both feel empowered.  Speaking from experience, it is easy for caregivers to fall into being over-compassionate.  There were times when I drove my late husband a bit crazy with my diligence over his eating choices.  Even though they were in alignment with the approach we both agreed would be best for his healing, we didn’t always navigate gracefully around how to help him feel like he was choosing instead of being told what he “should” eat.

To truly make changes in your life and live with less stress and internal conflict, you need to own that you have a choice and take responsibility to choose to make decisions that align with what you are really up to…or you can just keep settling for what you get…your choice!

Check back in on Tuesday, November 1st to read about the choice guest blogger Rob Harris made in “Caregiving…Martyrs Need Not Apply”.

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