My dad, Jamie, he took me to my first swim lesson. We got to the woman’s backyard, and it was one of those above ground pools. I sat along the edge with all of the other kids, my feet dangling in the water. This isn’t so bad – until the instructor tells me, “Colleen, now go ahead and put your face in the water and hold your breath.” That night I am hiding in the front living room, it is pitch black and I am curled up on the couch, dreading for my mom, Kathy, to come home.
She comes into the living room and says, ‘How was your swim lesson?” “I hated it! They are so mean, I am never going back again.” “That’s okay, honey. You don’t ever have to go back to swim lessons.” Seriously. How did this happen? I won! I beat my mom in an argument. She goes on to say, “But if you don’t go back, then you’ll never be able to go to the beach again, or go swimming at your friend’s houses. But it’s your choice. You decide what you would like to do.”
Now what I should share is my mom, Kathy, was a registered nurse at a psychiatric hospital. She had a way of positioning things so that as a child or youth, you felt that you had a choice – but it was steering you into the direction that she knew would be best for you in the long run. Brilliant!
What I want to share with you today is about empowering those people around you with choices. Not quite in that manner, but in your professional and personal world, whether that’s as a parent, as a leader, as a co-worker, but being able to give people the ability to choose really empowers them. So I challenge you today to be looking at your professional life and try to identify different processes or ways that you currently go about things, and see if there are little small places where you could just let people choose what they want to do.
Where it wouldn’t necessarily impact results or the bottom line; where it would actually, potentially increase productivity or those results. Where are those places where you could just pull back and say, “Hey, why don’t we give people a choice?” Personally, maybe as a parent, you start looking at what have been the rules and the way you’ve done things in your home.
Is there a way that you could start to empower your kids to have choices? The more that we can empower people with the ability to choose, the more we create this positive culture of creativity and togetherness. So today, where could you empower other people with choice that’s going to lift them up, and everyone as a whole?