Power To Choose

In sowing emotional leadership you are choosing to give to others in a way that honors their right to be heard, validated, and respected. – Dr Mike Gosling

Sowing emotional leadership is trusting in your emotional abilities and competencies to make no-lose decisions that will serve you and all those with whom you come into contact. Sowing emotional leadership is behaving with emotional intelligence. In sowing emotional leadership you are choosing to give to others in a way that honors their right to be loved, respected, empowered, and treated with dignity. In respecting others you are giving in to yourself; an action of conscious choice making – the habit of emotional leadership.

Deepak Chopra (1996)[1], in describing the Law of Karma, says;

Karma is both action and the consequences of that action. It is cause and effect simultaneously – because every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind. There is nothing unfamiliar about the Law of Karma. Everyone has heard the expression, ‘what you sow is what you reap’. Obviously, if we want to create happiness in our lives, we must learn to sow the seeds of happiness. Therefore, karma implies the action of conscious choice making.

Whether you like it or not, everything that is happening at this moment is a result of the choices you’ve made in the past. Unfortunately, a lot of us make choices unconsciously, and therefore we don’t think they are choices – and yet, they are.

How often have your unconscious choices led you on the wrong path in your life? The place to begin is to define your path. Laurence (1990) [2] says;

Most of us have had a childhood of some confusion, misconception and insecurity. We either withdrew from, conformed to, or rebelled against life as we saw it. And we carry those patterns of behaviour and thinking into our adult lives. For the most part, we are living as a reaction to our childhood experiences and decisions. Our parents had their childhood influencing them! Round and round it goes unless we are freed from our past so that we can live freely in the present. It is ultimately our choice whether to stand still, or move forward in life. I sense that most people would choose an onward path – if only they knew how.

Conditioning has you entrapped in fixed patterns of thoughts, feelings, and actions. Events – people and circumstances – trigger automatic appraisals (auto-responders) in you that have not served you well. You have been programmed into making choices automatically. You are what you are today because of the choices you have made.

Whether you choose to go skydiving by jumping out of a plane at 10,000 ft, deep sea diving, traveling to exotic or dangerous places, or watch a love-story at the movies, you feel an emotion that has a positive or negative effect on your body. When you appraise something that is said to you as a manipulation, it will generate a different emotion in you than if you choose to accept it as a compliment.

Positive emotions will reduce your stress and help relax you physiologically. Negative emotions raise your stress levels and harm you physiologically. The resulting emotional constipation will stick with you as you hold your emotions in – refusing to experience them and let go. You will hold onto a sense of being stuck and unhappy with your life’s direction.

Power To Choose is about you regaining control over your thoughts and responses. Reframing your current thoughts, memory, values, beliefs, expectations, and predictions, in a way that your appraisal of them produces the response or reaction you want.

Power To Choose is you deciding to fully engage your emotional abilities to perceive, use, understand and manage your emotions intelligently. It’s about you empowering you. You have the power within you to make right choices in life. You choose who you want to be. You get to be whatever you choose to think.

Making no-lose decisions

“Be careful! You may make the wrong decision!”

Ever thought or heard this statement before?

One of your biggest fears is that you have made, or will make, a wrong decision.

Susan Jeffers (1987)[3] says;

The problem is that we have been taught, “Be careful! You might make the wrong decision!” A wrong decision! Just the sound of that can bring terror to our hearts. We are afraid that the wrong decision will deprive us of something – money, friends, lovers, status, or whatever the right decision is supposed to bring us.

Making decisions can be a stressful time for people as they weigh up the reasons “for” and “against” the choice they are about to make. You may even put off making a decision as a way of handling the stress of having to make it. Or to avoid hurting someone in whom you’ve placed your trust, or to whom you’ve made a commitment – especially if your decision now is to break that commitment. Eventually, making a decision is something you will need to do on your own, after taking into consideration all the advice you can gather.

Jeffers tells us that,

… all you have to do to change your world is change the way you think about it.” She presents decision making as a No-Win Model and a No-Lose Model seeing the Choice Point as where your inner voice rules – making it difficult to make a decision. The No-Win Model is where you are constantly reassessing your decision. Each choice seems to be a no-win choice. The multitude of choices that pop into your head, make it difficult to know which is the right choice. “Should I do this or should I do that? What if I go this way and that happens? What if it doesn’t work out the way I plan? What if …

no-lose-decisionsJeffers views the No-Lose Model as the way forward. “If you stand at the No-Lose Choice Point, your ‘fearless’ self takes over.” Making decisions using the No-Lose Model, is assisted by what you feel in your “gut” – in your abdomen. Trust your body in that it will tell you what it needs, to have absolute confidence in your ability to make decisions.

Making ‘right’ choices

Making ‘right’ decisions causes many people anxiety. How often have you weighed up all the ‘for and against’ factors before making a decision, and yet still not be completely sure that you have made the ‘right’ decision. You may ask yourself, “What if I’ve made a mistake? What if I should have chosen Path A instead of Path B”?

You will have heard the cliché, “If you’re not making mistakes now and then, you are not doing anything”. ‘Mistake’ is a label you always apply in retrospect. When you realize you could have done something more reasonable – even though, the decision was right at the time you made it. ‘Mistake’ is a label you apply to your behaviour at a later time, when your awareness has changed. How often have you heard someone say, “I have a gut feeling about this. I just know intuitively that it’s the right choice to make. It feels right.” This is your intuition speaking to you; your mind having an immediate insight to something. But it’s felt in your abdomen. You ‘know’ that you have made the right choice by the feeling inside you.

On making a ‘right’ choice, Chopra says,

When you make a choice – any choice at all – you can ask yourself two things: First of all, “What are the consequences of this choice that I’m making?” In your heart you will immediately know what these are. Secondly, “Will this choice that I’m making now bring happiness to me and to those around me?” If the answer is yes, then go ahead with that choice. If the answer is no, if that choice brings distress either to you or to those around you, then don’t make that choice. It’s as simple as that.

The emotional health challenge is about making healthy choices for your life. Sometimes it’s easier just to do nothing – or choose to do nothing! You get caught in the trap of it all being ‘too hard’. But with every choice you make you can create emotional health. Take action. Don’t wait for someone else to act, to help you. Otherwise, if you wait you will get pushed around. You see, there are two types of people – those who push and those who like to be pushed. Those who push see problems as a blessing. And if you have been blessed, be a blessing to others. Push forward with no lose decisions and exercise your gift of the power to choose.


[2]   Laurence, AM 1990, You’ve got what it takes. A Guide to self-discovery and effective living, Lotus Publishing House, Sydney, p. 4.

[3]   Jeffers, S 1987, Feel the fear and do it anyway, Random House, London. p. 111 – 117.

About Dr. Mike Gosling

Best known for creating The Emotional Leader Program, Mike is a leading Executive Coach, editor of this blog, and Co-Founder of RelationshipsMe.com. Connect with him on Twitter, at Facebook, and LinkedIn.