“Deciding what not to do, is as important as deciding what to do.”

I came across this quote on my LinkedIn timeline this morning. At first, I scrolled past, but something about it intruiged me, and I scrolled back to have another look.

It’s a timely quote as the summer holidays in Europe come to an end and companies kick off full steam again. At first glance, the quote is all about what we decide to do: in our jobs, in the business decisions we make, or in our personal lives. What do we say yes to, and what do we say no to?

But the quote kept circling in my mind, as if there was something more, just below the surface of the obvious, that wanted to get my attention. It stayed with me all morning, and at some point my mind replaced the word “do” in the quote with the word “be”:

That’s what it was! It’s not only about what we decide to DO,  but also about who we decide to BE.

It made me think of a tool I was taught on a course at the Center for Transformational Presence and which is included in the book “Creating a World that Works” by Alan Seale. The tool is called “DISCO” and refers to the four levels of engagement we can choose from to engage with a issue, situation, person or decision we have to make in our daily lives.

You’ll find the model below. As a small exercise, I invite you to think of a topic that is on your mind right now and then consider it by using each of the four levels of the model below.

Drama: Can you believe this happened? Whose fault is this? Who can you blame?

Situation: What can you do to fix this, and fast?

Choice: Who do you choose to be in this situation? What relationship do you choose to have toward this topic/situation?

Opportunity: What’s the opportunity for you here? What wants to happen? What is new for you to explore?

When we are caught in Drama and Situation, we tend to get stuck in blaming, struggling and problem solving. But there’s not much clarity or possibility in blaming or trying to fix things.

If we move to Choice and Opportunity, and we ask ourselves “What becomes possible if I choose to engage with this topic from the best possible version of myself?”, that’s when the magic happens. That’s when the weight falls off our shoulders, that’s when we can again take deep breaths and see the possibilities available to us. We’re never completely stuck. We always have choices!

As we dive back into the busyness of life after the summer holidays, it reminds me to choose wisely. Who do I choose to be, in all that I do, in the projects I commit to and the people I engage with in the coming weeks and months?

Who will you choose to be in the situations and relationships in your life over the coming period?

One Comment

  1. Alexander Vinokurov

    To see an opportunity in a ‘drama’ is a positive trick and a rather useful one! Sometimes I managed other times not. Now reading about the theory aspect of it makes me feel that there is no excuses to stay positive. Doesn’t matter how big the drama seems to be. And over time it typically is all ‘relative’ anyway 🙂 … so stay positive is the game!!

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