As I was being “tortured” by a unstoppable crying fit of our three-year old, I was thinking (that can really be a problem). I was thinking of how things might have been different. Here I am, 59 years old, and I having to deal with this kind of situation. Just as I was about to go further into this trail of thought, I recognized what was happening. I was allowing myself to forget my choices.
When my wife and I were considering whether we wanted to have children (we each had two children by previous marriages), we were very deliberate. We felt that we were called to be parents together. For myself, I knew that I wanted to learn again what it was to be a parent (when my older children were growing up, I was busy with my career and work was a greater priority than family). I also knew I would learn so much about myself and being human from witnessing these beings as they developed.
I knew when we made this choice that there would be days when it would be easy and days when it would seem challenging. That was a small price to pay for the amazing reward I would receive. As I was remembering my choice, I once again felt the joy of being with my son. I appreciated how it must feel for him when his world seems out of control. I could identity with the desire to just cry.
As I started to write this Blog, I recognized the applicability of this lesson to so much of my life and the lives of the leaders I work with. How often, when things aren’t going the way that I would like, do I turn grumpy and lash out at other people? It is then that I forget the choice that I made to be a leader. I knew when I made that choice the kinds of days I would have and the challenges I would find.
Perhaps the most important experience I could never have when I am not remembering my choices is the feeling of gratitude. Sit for a moment and remember someone who has made a great contribution to your life. When you have a clear picture of them, feel your appreciation of them for whatever they have given you. As this feeling expands silently thank them for their gifts to you.
I find that when I remember this simple exercise at the end of the day, my sleep is much sounder and I wake up feeling rather cheery.