Episode 4 Tyranny of Choice  

January 9, 2023

This morning as I record this, it’s January 3rd, the day after the launch of Dear Constance. I want to thank those of you who found me and are following along.

I went back and listened to a video that I made. I was out of my comfort zone as I made this thrust on social media.  I’m not particularly adept in that area and as I think I’ve mentioned before I am doing all of this on my own right now.  Anyway, I went back and listened to the video and these words that I use frequently jumped out at me and they are the’ tyranny of choice’.

I was talking about when my friend Susie Moore contacted me and said, “Would you ever consider creating a podcast. I’d love to listen to you?”. My response was kind of explosive and one of the things I said was ”the tyranny of choice in podcasts has shut me down and I’m not even listening anymore.”  And the very next morning in my quiet practice, I examined my reaction. Of course got myself back into listening to podcasts, and I was reminded of why I listen to them as well as the fact that listening to people that inspire me reminds me of who I want to be in the world.

Anyway, that’s not what this is about. It’s about the tyranny of choice, and this morning I was thinking to myself, ‘well, what do I mean by the tyranny of choice?  The analogy is Ikea or the drug store or the grocery store. It’s sort of like when I go into the cereal aisle or go to buy ketchup or toothpaste. I know I often walk away. I don’t have a strong opinion, and there are too many choices and I just get overwhelmed and leave without the actual product.  And I was thinking ‘well, that doesn’t happen to me when I’m in the coffee aisle or when I go to get butter. I go directly for the Columbia Single Origin Coffee, and I buy, the fanciest French butter on the shelf.’  So stay with me here. Really what it is is that I’m often not clear on what I want. Hence the overwhelm.

It got me thinking, too, about all of those years I spent interviewing well over a thousand people when I was a talent scout. That’s my sexy way of saying executive recruiter.  I wasn’t in love with being – or very proud- of being an executive recruiter and talent scout worked well with my company named Scout Talent. People just loved that word, talent and when they would then think of themselves as talent, people would kind of make jokes, Hey, I’m a talent. Do you want to meet me? . Anyway, I digress.

As you know, the job search is fraught for many people. But what I found is that often in the interviews, people would sort of spew negativity about what wasn’t right. They’d focus on the negative aspects of what we were discussing, and I would pull them back into talking about their filters. The question was, ‘so what are your search filters? And it would always cause people to go, what do you mean? And I’d say, well, what are the filters through which you’re evaluating career opportunities? Is it job title, salary, location, size of the business, number of people you’re managing? Like what are your filters through which you’re going to be evaluating job opportunities,

I found that this would really get people to slow down, and it would bring the locus of control back to them. I mean, they were in what feels like a fraught job search situation, and they felt so much was out of control. When I would get the conversation to come back to what they want and what was important to them, it really would bring ease and clarity.

Now, of course, in the world there will always be – in the words of my dear friend Eric – the help-rejecting complainers, and the people that focus on negative things. But when you get people – I’m speaking for myself here as well here – when I’m clear on what I want, I don’t struggle with the tyranny of choice. The noise out there softens, and that applies to toothpaste, cereal, and Ikea, as it does to where I travel, what I read, who I spend time with.  When I’m clear on what I want –  when I’m clear on my filters –  life is smoother, and I feel like I’m attracting more in of what I want because I’m clear on where I’m going and what’s important to me.

One of my primary filters for 2022 was that I wanted to spend time with people in real life. I wanted to get offline, and I wanted to be with my loved ones, and I spent a lot of time and money and energy traveling to create those experiences for myself.This year, my primary filter  or one of my primary filters – is that I want to put myself in the way of interesting people. In fact, I raised my hand to volunteer at a really cool event hosted by my friend Susie Moore. I want to put myself in a room full of leading journalists and editors and writers. I also signed up for the Modern Elder Academy. If you’ve never heard about it, it’s a really cool place in Baja, California that’s focused on the later stages of life. I would say above age 45 when our focus shifts more and more from making money to making meaning.  It’s a very cool international community, and I’ve always decided not to go because I would look on-line and I was always negative about the offerings. I felt they didn’t really fit in with exactly where I am in my life. This time I came to it with fresh eyes –  with that filter of I want to put myself in the way of interesting people. I’ve signed up and I’m going at the end of March and I’m really excited about it because there are chapters and group meetings all over the world of people that have attended this Modern Elder Academy. If you want to know more, look up Chip Conley.

So what are your filters for 2023?  I’m not focusing on goals. I’m focusing on filters and how I want to operate in the world and what’s important to me this year.   I’m curious how are you going to think about who you spend time with, what you read, where you go, and how you share your love and energy and friendships?

That’s all for now, 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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