Accumulation of Consequences of Choices

dreamstime_xs_71641025We are where we are in life because of the choices we have made.  All our choices have consequences.  It is not just a matter of each choice having a consequence (or consequences), however.  Our choices, and the consequences, accumulate and can have a domino effect.

For example, choosing to eat a piece of dessert for a special occasion will not make anyone gain weight.  However, choosing to consume more calories than what one needs, day after day, week after week, year after year, will cause weight gain and can lead to obesity and other health problems.  This is, of course, an example of a series of choices leading to negative consequences.

Choices can also lead to positive consequences.  Exercising for 30 minutes for 1 day is not going to impact anyone’s health.  Exercising for 30 minutes 3 times a week, over the course of months and years, however, will have a positive impact on a person’s health.

I know, and I’m sure you do as well, people who lie.  The more they lie, the more people don’t trust them.  The more they are dishonest, the more people believe they are always dishonest, even on the occasions when they are telling the truth.  On the other hand, people who choose to be honest build trust with other people.  People believe what they say.  Both the dishonest and honest people have built reputations—not because of one choice, but because of the series of choices that they have made.

People who continue to make responsible choices gain more of what they want out of life.  Those that continue to make irresponsible choices spend time and resources trying to repair the negative consequences of those choices.  That is time and resources that are not available to create the life they want.  More is spent on damage control than on creating.

This same concept applies to all aspects of our lives, and all the choices we make.  The consequences, good and bad, of our choices over years becomes significant.  If we want a different life, we need to make different choices, not just today, but always.

Don’t be a Princess

dreamstime_xs_57704287, resizedI really dislike all the princess “stuff” that surrounds us.  Maybe it is just me and the way I interpret things.  To me, a “princess” is someone without power, someone who is dependent upon others, someone who waits around to be rescued.  Ugh!

I think what we should work toward is to be a queen (or empress, monarch, tsarina, whatever term you like) and rule our life.

We have power over our life, we have control over our life, so long as we accept that we are responsible for ourselves and our life.  No one can take our power away from us, but we can give it away.  And too often we do.

Which do you want to be?  A princess or a queen?  How do you live your life, as a princess or a queen?  And what do you promote with your daughters, granddaughters, nieces and other girls in your life?

Greatest Risk

hGreatest Risk (Video)

I think the greatest risk we can take in our lives is not taking responsibility for ourselves, for our lives.

Unfortunately, I know too many people who do not want to take responsibility for themselves, for their choices, for their actions.  They expect other people to bail them out of trouble, to take care of them, to provide for them, to just give them what they want.

I know others who do not really expect other people to take responsibility, but they seem to think that if they sit around and wish for what they want, it will magically happen.

The only sure way to get what we want out of life is to take responsibility for making it happen.  Other people might give us what we want.  Or they might not.  The only way to make sure we do get what we want is to make it happen ourselves.  And that means hard work and dedication.

Are you taking full responsibility for your life?

Here is a simple test.  When something goes wrong, do you take responsibility for it or do you try to blame someone else?  When you try to blame someone else, you are trying to pass on your responsibility.  When you analyze what went wrong and what you could have done differently, you are taking responsibility.

Whatever you want out of life, it is your responsibility to make it happen.

Keep Your Word

hKeep Your Word (Video)

It is imperative that we keep our word, no matter what.

When we keep our word, people learn that they can trust us.  When we do not keep our word, people quickly learn that we cannot be trusted.  It can take years to correct that reputation.

We must, of course, keep our promises.  The surest way to do this is to not make promises unless we are sure we can keep them.  A small promise fulfilled is much more valuable than a large promise left uncompleted.  As we keep our promises, people learn that they can trust us.

We must also follow through on our threats.  The surest way to do this is to never make a threat unless we are willing and able to carry it out.  As soon as we make a threat and then do not carry it out, people learn that they do not need to respect us.

Keeping your word applies to both our professional and personal relationships.  Stop and think what your employer, employees, customers, and suppliers will think of you if you make promises and do not keep them.  It does not take much imagination to see how damaging this will be to you and your success.

The same applies to threats.  If you threaten to dismiss an employee, you have to be willing to do so or you send a message to all your employees that they do not need to listen to you.  The same applies to suppliers.  If you threaten to drop a supplier if they do not meet certain criteria, you have to move to another supplier if they do not meet the criteria.

Not keeping your word can be just as damaging in personal relationships.  What will your spouse/partner, children, relatives, friends, and neighbors think of you if you do not keep your word?  Soon you will have taught them that they cannot trust you, that they cannot count on you.

I think the most damage comes when parents do not keep their word with their children.  If children cannot trust their parents to keep their promises, who can they trust?  Also, if parents do not follow through on their threats, children learn very quickly that there are not any negative consequences to their negative actions.  This will not help the child succeed in life.

Before you make a promise, or a threat, determine how you are going to complete it.  If you cannot, then do not make it.

No Magic Pill

hNo Magic Pill (Video)

Sorry, but there is no magic pill.  There is nothing that we can take that will make us healthy, wealthy, or wise.  There is no magic potion or spell that will give us the life we want.

All we can do is to learn everything we can, implement as much as we can, and work as hard as we can for the life we want.

 

Battling Boxes

hBattling Boxes (Video)

Do you have trouble with people wanting to put you in a box and label it with who they think you should be?  I do.  I always have.

I am one of those women who never wanted children.  I just did not.  I remember as a very small girl getting a baby doll from my grandma.  It was one of the first ones that you could feed a bottle of water to and in a little while it would “wet” its diaper.  I dressed it, fed it a bottle, pretended to feed it food, changed the diaper, changed the other clothes because they were wet, and put the doll to bed.  I remember thinking, “That was boring!”  And yet I could play with other toys for hours.

I hoped that my brothers would have children, because I thought being an aunt would be really cool.  (It is!)  I also thought being a grandma would be fun, as long as I did not have to go through the mother step first.  That worked, too, because it just happened that my husband had children that were almost grown when we married.  And being a grandma is fun.  And I am still glad I did not go through the mother step.

When we are very certain about what we want, or do not want, it is important that we stick to that even if family, friends, and society think that they know what is best for us.  (There are exceptions, of course.  We cannot harm others.  We cannot expect others to take responsibility for us; we are responsible for ourselves.)

If someone is trying to put you in a “box” that does not fit you, say something.  Do something.  Do not calmly enter the box and let others tape you in and label you.  It is your life.  It is your responsibility to decide who you are and live accordingly.

Clean House or Change Oil?

hClean House or Change Oil? (Video)

In a previous blog I discussed work, hobbies, and required responsibilities.  Required responsibilities are those things that we are responsible to do for ourselves.  If we own a business or are self-employed, we have professional required responsibilities as well.  These are things that we need to do, but no one is going to pay us directly for them.  For example, we need to have a website, but no one is going to pay us directly for our website.  We need to work our costs into our selling price to cover our business expenses.

With required responsibilities, we can either do them ourselves or we can pay someone else to do them for us.  It is my responsibility to clean my house.  I have decided not to pay someone else to do it.  I am capable of doing it myself and it does not take that long to do.  It is also my responsibility to change the oil in my car.  I could learn how to do it, buy the necessary equipment, and determine where to dispose of the oil.  I have decided that it is a better use of my time to pay someone else to change the oil.

When I am trying to determine the best use of my time and money related to business, I often ask myself if it is similar to cleaning the house or changing the oil.  Some things, like writing and posting blogs, is similar to cleaning the house.  I have the capability to do it and can make the time to do it.  I also enjoy it.  (I enjoy writing; I hate cleaning house.  I just want to be clear on that.)

Other things, like designing a website, are similar to changing the oil.  I might be able to learn how to do it, but it will never be as good as if a professional did it and it will take me much longer to do it.  If I am designing a website that is time that I cannot spend elsewhere.  The money I would save doing it myself would probably be small compared to lost revenue.  And I would still have an inferior website.

In business, we have to decide what we can and should do for ourselves and what we need to hire someone else to do.  Too often I think people see only the business “expense” and try to do it themselves.  Many of these expenses are also investments in our business.  If we are going to make an investment, it should be the best we can afford.  This may mean contracting with someone else who can do it better and faster than we can.

Are there tasks you are doing that would be better contracted to someone else?

Business, Hobby, or Required Responsibility?

Business, Hobby, or Required Responsibility? (Video)

hWe do many things.  Most, perhaps all, can be divided into three areas:  business, hobby, or required responsibility.

The business area includes everything that we do for others that they are willing to pay us to do.  If we have a job, we get a paycheck in return for what we do.  The work we do has value to our supervisor or the company where we are employed.  If we are self-employed, our customers pay us to provide goods or services because these goods and services are valuable to them.  In my case, people pay me to speak at their conferences and they pay me for my book.

The hobby area includes those items that we do because we enjoy them, but no one is going to pay us to do it.  Or, they will not pay us very much.  Something to keep in mind is:  “Businesses are in business to make money.  If it does not make money, it is a hobby, not a business.”  (This is the best piece of information I learned at the University of Louisville when I got an MBA.)  I love to hike, but no one is going to pay me to go hiking.

Required responsibilities are those things that we are responsible to do for ourselves.  This includes everything from feeding ourselves to cleaning our homes to taking care of our pets and/or children.  No one will ever pay me to clean my own house; it is my responsibility.  And I will never pay someone to clean their own house; that is their responsibility.

With required responsibilities, it is our responsibility to see that they are done.  We can do them ourselves, or we can hire someone to do it for us.  We can clean our house, or hire a housekeeper.  We can mow our lawn, or hire a lawn service.  It does not matter which, so long as it is done.

How would you divide what you do?  What tasks are business, what are hobbies, and what are required responsibilities?

Great Success Requires Great Risk

Success and Risk (Video)

Risk comes in many forms.  Sometimes it is financial risk such as leaving a good paying job to become self-employed.  Sometimes it is a time risk such as investing the time in an education or new venture which takes time away from family.  Sometimes it is a relationship risk by saying something to someone about an issue that bothers you.

If we never take risks, however, we will never move beyond where we are.  Everyone has a different comfort level for risk.  This is understandable.  It is also important to understand, though, that if we only take small risks, we will only achieve small successes.  If this is acceptable to you, then there is no problem.  If, however, you want great success the only way to achieve it is to take great risks.

Taking a risk is, of course, risky.  If we take a big risk we may achieve big success.  Or we may fail and lose big.  If we take small risks and it does not work, then we only lose small.

There is no right or wrong.  If your comfort level for risk is low and you do not want to take big risks because you do not want the possibility of big losses, that is your decision.  But then accept that one reason you do not have big success is that you are not willing to take big risks.

Again, there is no right or wrong.  Only you can decide what is right for you.  Just accept responsibility for the consequences of your decisions.

 

Try!

Try! (Video)

I am not an avid baseball fan, but I do know a little about the game.  Something that fascinates me is that if a player has a batting average of .300 it is considered good.  This means that the player gets a hit 30% of the time.  This also means that 70% of the time he does not get a hit!  In other words, he succeeds 30% of the time and fails 70% of the time.

How many of us consider ourselves failures if we are not “batting” .500?  .900?  How many of us consider ourselves failures if we do not hit a home run every time we go to bat?

Sometimes I think we are too hard on ourselves and need to step back and put things into perspective.  We are not going to hit a home run every time.  We are not even going to get a hit every time.

But if we continue to go to the plate and try our best, we will do better than those sitting on the bench.  At least at the plate we have a possibility of getting a hit, and maybe even a home run.  We do not have any chance as long as we sit on the bench.

Give yourself credit for going to the plate and trying.  You are automatically more successful than those who continue to sit on the bench.