Bravery is Choice

Written on:December 17, 2012
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We can always choose. Snow Day

It’s our first decent snow up here in northern Massachusetts, and I have my kids with me, lots to do, and I need to get them to school. My car isn’t all that effective in the snow (Camaro: all power, no traction). But for some reason, what washes over me is the realization that I have some choices I can make.

The seeds of larger wisdom are often planted in the soil of simple moments. (click to tweet)

Choices Come Thousands of Times a Day

In all areas of our lives, including business, we have to remember to build in the time to choose. What does it take to succeed? A commitment to making better choices is a core element. Where we tend to go wrong is when we feel we have no choice, or when we make an easy choice, or when we push hard for a bad choice. True? Do you feel that?

There’s a local Subway restaurant nearby and the owners are apparently stressed about their finances. As I was buying my kids lunch there, I heard one owner yell at the staff for turning on the heat. They said, “But the customers were complaining that they were cold.” More yelling from the owners. Standing there, I wondered, “Which will cost this owner more?” Moments later, I went to get a refill for my soda pop while my kids finished devouring their meals. The same owner gave me the stink eye, evidently for getting the refill (no signs said I shouldn’t do this, and it’s fairly common practice). So what impression did she leave in me? What choice did she make?

Bravery Is a Choice

I talk to Rob Hatch often about business decisions, and he likes to tell me about a concept called “choice architecture.” It’s some kind of psychology-based thinking that shows how people can be influenced to make certain buying choices. There’s a lot of that at play in what we’ve been calling “business design,” which means the end-to-end crafting of a business to take the guest/customer/client’s experience to heart all the way through their lifecycle with your organization. There’s a lot of bravery required in those choices.

I choose to not offer a search function at []. Some of you ask about this every week. Why? Because I’m curating. My goal is to give you the posts I feel will best serve your experience now. Museums curate their possessions such that only about 18% of what they have is on display at any one time. And not that my work is art, but I want you to have at hand what is helpful, not just the abundance of my years of writing.

This Extends Further

How we conduct ourselves is a choice. I’m frustrated by all the judgmental and righteous people who believe they can tell others what is right and wrong in using social networks and social media. Last night, I chose to argue about it a little. But then I stopped. Why? Because my choice is to use my time for better matters, and to dedicate it to you. The person who wanted to complain about how I tweet or don’t tweet has his or her opinion. That’s not my concern. You are. That’s my choice.

Choosing to do the work to eat healthier and exercise so I can regain my health and fitness is brave. Choosing to work harder and make my business succeed requires bravery. Sometimes, even making a bad choice is making a choice and is also a matter of personal bravery. Don’t limit yourself to thinking that only good choices are brave.

The opposite of bravery isn’t fear. The opposite of bravery is surrender.

So the question, to you, is this: what choices will you be brave enough to make today?

We talk a lot about bravery and choice in Brave New Year. If you want to join a group of supportive peers in planning a huge and successful 2013, here’s your chance to make one more choice that counts.

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