Episode 108 What You Don’t Change You Choose

September 8, 2023

Good morning from New York City. What’s on my mind this morning is this little sticky I used to have on my mirror. I think I’ve posted it on social media before. It says what you don’t change you choose. Let me say that again: what you don’t change you choose.

The reason I’m sharing that is because I was thinking about something that happened a couple of weeks ago. I was invited to a lovely Spanish cooking class with a new friend, and I got to meet her son and his girlfriend for the first time. As we were sitting around enjoying our meal and having sangria, the conversation turned to the kids. Well, they’re not kids. They’re young adults. I started asking about what they do, where they work, if they like what they do –  the usual things. If you’ve stumbled upon this show and don’t know much about me, I was a headhunter for many years, so I’m always intrigued by what people do. I can’t contain myself and I ask a lot of questions.

Anyway, so I’m peppering them with questions and before we got into the details of what they do professionally, the son was telling me about his vision for a venue where people can come together – there’s food and drink but also open mic nights and music. Then we got onto the details of his job and what he does and how he got the job and who he works for and the interview process, et cetera. Then he goes into all the things that aren’t right about his job – how his colleagues are flat, and he’s imitating their faces on the zoom screen. He’s telling me about how the ideas he has are not well received, and overall how he’s dimming his light.

I think in his mind he was sharing a lot of his strengths with me. His enthusiasm and positivity, his good energy, et cetera. Without even thinking about it, I looked at him and point blank I said – I don’t remember the exact words I used but I said, “you need to stop thinking about all the things you don’t like about your job You’re clearly done with that job. So shift your focus to thinking about what you want next, what might be next for you.”

To be honest with you, I kind of surprised myself. This is someone I don’t know very well. We had literally met for the first time two hours before, so I had no context whatsoever about – I don’t know –  his personal situation, his mental health, whatever. It just came out of me. He looked at me and he said, “you’re absolutely right.” I think he felt my heart. He knew I wasn’t reprimanding him because he was complaining. It was more about ‘hey, you’re done, so what’s next? … and in that very moment, I saw him light up. I saw his wheels begin to turn.

I think really what it comes down to is sometimes we don’t hear ourselves. This exact same thing happened to me in 2009. My father had passed away. It was tragic. I was upset. I’d had this major upheaval in my life – and when I got back and settled into work, I complained incessantly about my boss. Honestly speaking, I usually catch myself. I’m not saying I never complain, but really, I’m not that person that complains and criticizes. I’d like to think I usually at some point catch myself and stop.

I will never forget when my colleague did the exact same thing for me. She looked at me and she said, “Constance, you need to get therapy or stop.” – or something to that effect.  I can’t remember exactly, but I remember whatever it was she said kind of surprised me. Then what happened to me is over a couple of months, I got clarity on exactly what I told this friend’s son last week. I was done and it was time to pack up my desk and move on. But I couldn’t see it yet, so my focus was all on what wasn’t right and how I was being done wrong and everything I was unhappy about with my boss.

I guess it all comes down to that quote that I started with:  what you don’t change you choose. Another way we used to say it when I was in the executive search business and I was waiting for a candidate to accept an offer  – and they would sometimes dance around it or leave us waiting with bated breath – what we used to say to each other is not deciding is deciding. It’s the same thing.

There’s a part of me that feels that those two sayings – what you don’t change you choose and not deciding is deciding – they have a little bit of a negative bent.  I much prefer the positive thinking around you always have a choice and what I say to myself is choose, choose again. You can change your mind, but don’t forget the beautiful and important power of choice.

I’ll leave you with that thought today. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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“Speaking with Constance helped me to see myself  – and my experience –with fresh perspective.  I got great clarity and completely shifted gears. She totally got it. The experience fully re-energized me.”

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