What is it to dare to choose? This is an inquiry I’ve been thinking about as I develop my leadership and coaching business. (By the way, thinking about an inquiry is a great way to productively spend time during solitude)
Certainly, to be able to choose whom I want to work with and serve, is a great privilege and opportunity.
When I think of choose, here are the meanings that come to my mind:
To have freedom and independence
To honor preference
To commit to
To single out
To say “no” to everything I’m not choosing
Okay, so now that I have a clearer understanding of what it means to choose, do I dare to choose – in this case, my customers and clients?
To choose is not something I take lightly. To make a choice is to decide and to commit, and to do so is, in itself, important.
To dare means to take a risk, to be courageous and to do something that is not safe.
Choosing is empowering, but it also is scary. After all, in my choosing, I’m not only choosing the customers/clients I will serve, but as importantly, I’m choosing the customers/clients I will not serve.
This is where it gets uncomfortable.
To dare is to do something that is noncompliant and bold, which – fortunately – makes it also thrilling and adventurous.
So the question really is, do I have the guts to choose the customers/clients I want to serve?
I think I do. I just need to dare to do so.
I asked a bunch of friends and colleagues to weigh in. Their responses – which add much to this post – are below. (Thanks to all of you who shared with me!)
WHAT IS IT TO DARE TO CHOOSE?
Robert Richman, a friend, coach and visionary who worked for Tony Robbins and now heads Zappos Insights: “Daring to choose means fully knowing that all options lead to learning, which gets you wherever you need to go.”
Bill Sniffin, my father and go-to consultant for almost everything: “To me, a person lives his life either acting or reacting; to me, “dare to choose” means choosing to act so you control your own life and your destiny, rather than having your life dictated to you, bit-by-bit, through the actions of others.”
Kate Roeske, certified life, executive and leadership coach: “Daring to choose: it means willing to risk not getting what I want but also not living with regretting that I didn’t try!”
Holly Copeland, a friend and spatial ecologist for The Nature Conservancy: “To dare to choose is to find your real priorities – the things that bring true happiness to your daily life – and align your daily activities with those priorities. Then, let guiltlessly the rest drop away. Reminds me of a favorite Shakespeare quote that I discovered as a teenager: To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Jared Kail, a friend and consultant/business owner: “One of the hardest — possibly THE hardest — decision one makes in life is to embrace greatness. That ability to be great, to use our natural gifts of energy, brilliance and creativity to become exceptional dwells within us all. Yet, to accept that greatness, to dare to choose to be something more than we are today, takes a kind of courage that escapes most of us. ‘Daring to choose’ means summoning all of our courage, from our bootstraps to our top hats, to take that simple but terrifying step into our own, personal, unknown greatness.”
John Smithbaker, a friend, founder of Fathers in The Field and President of Brunton Outdoor Group :
“Daring to choose is daring to make a commitment. Once the commitment is made, daring to keep your commitment is at the heart of the decision to choose and if your choice really will make a difference.”
Mei Ratz, friend and woman who aspires to be “an honest photographer, a soul-filled friend, a bold advocate, and a ripple in the surf of humanity”: “Daring to choose is to stand in the midst of all the ‘I should…’ or ‘What will they think?…’ or ‘What if I fail?’…. and holding your energy and your soul close and listening. You grow when YOU choose, you become art when YOU choose, you become the best version of yourself when you slow down, stand still, and jump off the side that no one else even chose to see.”
Beth Harte, a friend, marketer, blogger, speaker, communicator, thinker, connector (people & dots), adjunct professor, says: “Daring to choose means commitment to being a specialist (over a generalist) and accepting all of the hard work, passion and success that come with it.”
Mike Lilygren, a friend and one of the owners of Bridge Outdoors: “Dare to take a risk; choose the challenging paths in life as they will push you to grow and enliven you.”
Fabian Lobera, friend and director of business development for PitchEngine: “To dare to choose is a challenge to openly take a controversial position that knowingly will require justification through difficult and courageous future action.”
George Deriso, friend and entrepreneur in Boulder, CO., says: “We are faced everyday with choices, nearly all of which are simple decisions to make. What you have for breakfast today is a choice that likely will have little consequence. However, at one time or another everyone has to make a choice that may have dire consequences, and the way forward seems obscured or treacherous in some way. Nonetheless, a choice must be made as no action (which is a choice in and of itself) would cause even greater consequences. Thus, you are in a position where you must dare to choose. In this event, the key personality trait is courage. To make a choice and move past the decision point requires courageousness you may have thought you did not have.”
Doug Peck, a friend, fabulous chef, executive coach, and a ‘change agent’ for business cultures that want to use the power of coaching in management: “Daring to choose is having the courage to confront your real values, and confessing them to yourself and to the world.”
John Scott Stevens, a friend and RKC instructor, in Omaha, NE.: “To dare to choose is to be presented with a choice to be tested; how you choose reveals your true character and shapes your destiny.”
Kyle Redinger, friend, entrepreneur, management consultant and CrossFit gym owner: “Daring to choose means exploring options above and beyond what’s socially, physically and professionally acceptable.”
Joel Krieger, friend and group creative director at IQ Interactive: “Rather than passively sleepwalking your way through life (which is much easier, but far less interesting or rewarding), it’s a fearless, conscious and active existence that embraces the positive or negative consequences of your decisions.”
Kathy Browning, a close friend who works at The Nature Conservancy: “Dare to choose: I choose to embrace life with abandon because it’s the things I didn’t/don’t do that I regret. (Usually.) We only go around once.”
Sharon Terhune, a close friend and elementary school teacher: “Daring to choose essentially means that you are brave enough to honor your true self.”
Shannon Kaminsky, a friend and engineering tech: “When you don’t choose, you are choosing not to choose, so therefore you are still choosing; choosing to be driven by everything but your OWN goals, dreams and aspirations.”
Jonni Fargo, a friend and director of account development for American Express: “Having the courage to make one choice from multiple options when there are risks by either decision you make.”
I would love to hear from others… What is it to you to dare to choose?