Julia Fourie | Life Coach Cape Town

Life Coaching Tip: I Only Have Two Choices, How Do I Choose?

Julia Fourie, Life Coach, Cape Town

April 08 2018
As a Life Coach I have found that there are fundamental questions that we all ponder on. One particular constant struggle that comes to mind is how to choose when we only see two options and how this impacts how you show up in the world, how you see the world and how you relate and what you expect from others. Lets explore this fundamental question on “How to make the right choice”? I recently came across this Masai proverb that could start a conversation on this topic.

He who is unable to dance says that the yard is stony. — Masai proverb

Often we remain stuck and unable to change outcomes because we are simply unable to see more options but two. These two options are normally extremes, the one being what we are currently doing and the other the opposite. We tend to then vehemently defend our position by using the extreme as a reason for not being able to change anything. Indeed this argument keeps us stuck in our current behaviour as our only other option tends to be something that just doesn’t seem plausible. Sound extreme 😉 Well lets use an example to see how this happens far more often that we realise.

Scenario: You don’t enjoy conflict and avoid it at any cost. One of your employees doesn’t take no for an answer and you are frustrated because they are constantly implementing actions you have not agreed to. The result is that you see two options: (1) You continue to be frustrated with them but keep the peace and say nothing or (2) You discuss this with them resulting in conflict and them going over your head to your superiors (and more conflict).

Depending on how important a conflict free environment is for you will depend how much you are only able to see these two options above. The more relaxed you are about having conflict the more you will be able to see that there are many more options than the two above.

This brings us back to the “two choices” concept. This for me as a life coach is a beautiful opportunity to engage in with you. Whenever you are, no matter what context, find yourself believing you are stuck with two choices, remember our conversation and pause and realise that you have far more options and a lot more power to decide what you want to do. Now while it sounds simple its not going to be easy to immediately see these other options but it is possible.

Try out this simple technique to help you uncover what they are:

1. Firstly and most importantly, just believe for a moment that there are more than two options. See it as a fun challenge to find them.

2. Take the two options you currently have and see them as representing the two ends of the spectrum.

3. Now that you have the two ends, lets start to find the in between bits. Can you think of anything? Here are some ideas:

a. Are you able to understand the other person’s point of view?
b. Are you able to compromise on what you are looking for?
c. Are you able to be less attached to the outcome?
d. Are you able to let go of the attachment to the outcome? How would things be different?

Let me use the above example I gave and work through the technique above.

• On the one side of the spectrum is the need for peace and the other side is conflict.

• Merging (a) and (b) above, a thought is how do we know that the actions we are intending will create conflict? Or how could we deliver the message (No) in a way that will not be seen as conflict?

• On (c) what if we become less concerned how they will react to the No or to possibly complaining about us and we look towards ourselves and our decision and imparting that to them. So said differently what if we don’t just respond with a No – but rather walk them through our decision making – the pro’s and con’s that we thought of and what made us choose a particular outcome. We could even with them work on the pro’s and con’s and get them involved in getting to the answer.

• On (d) you could take (c) even further and for instance not even decide on the answer before the conversation. You could workshop a request they have with you and together come to an answer – you might find they even change your mind and you agree with them 😉

Let’s discuss your goals