Supposed to Do vs. Choose to Do Has asking that question ever amounted to anything worthwhile, life-changing or awe-inspiring?  Just thinking about it makes me want to climb back into bed with a piping-hot deep-dish crumble-topped homemade apple pie a la mode and binge watch Mad Men or House of Cards (T.V. is so much better than it used to be!  But I digress…)

And speaking of digression, when we digress our little “supposed to” voices start chirping away.  We all have one.  She’s a little “supposed to” sitting on your shoulder.    She’s adorable and perfect and always does the “right” thing.

But have you noticed that her suggestions never sound like a TV Show worth watching – never mind a life worth living.  She can sugar coat it – but whenever she’s selling something – there’s something else up her party pooper sleeves – and you just want to change the channel. 

It’s important to know that it’s not you – it’s her.  She’s working from an old TV Guide.  She has yet to figure out “The Google.”  And to be fair, she hasn’t had to update her methods until now.

When you were younger, you bought a lot of what she was selling.  You were a good girl and did what you were supposed to do.  Your little “supposed to,” had it easy.  Dealing with you was a piece of cake.  She could make a series of simple suggestions, put her feet up and watch you execute all of her whims and fancies, like a pro.

Now the job is getting harder because you have developed your “choose to.”

“Choose to,” is also good and perfect, but unlike “supposed to,” “choose to” is live-streaming your intuition about what is right for you and the people you love.  “Supposed to” is getting her information from old TV reruns.

“Choose to” is letting you download on the fly, integrating what you learn into each and every option.  “Supposed to” is way behind.  She is still working through old episodes of Family Ties and ER, hoping to give you some direction but working off of a “you” that doesn’t exist anymore.

“Choose to” is you in the now.  You don’t need to be told that you are supposed to be doing something based on some old idea of you.  All you need is to be present and trust your ability to “choose to” in the moment.

Coach Me Quick Tips on Choosing:

  1. When we can find a way to choose in the moment, we have ultimate flexibility and ability.  Think about what you do because you are “supposed to.”  For example, we know that it is wonderful for our children if we read to them when they are little.  All the experts have told us that this is important.  We are supposed to do this.
  2. Do you notice that if you are doing something because you are “supposed to,” even the most wonderful activity like snuggling up to your little one to read a story, can feel like a chore?
  3. What if you had a choice in every moment? At bed time, you may not feel like reading a story and that’s O.K.  Maybe the two of you want to look out the window and count the stars.  Or perhaps you want to make up a story together.  Maybe you are exhausted after a long day, but you can lay down with your little one and hold her hand as she falls asleep?
  4. Tomorrow you may choose to read her the signs along the highway, or the labels in your refrigerator. You’ll read a story from the newspaper or a book at the breakfast table.
  5. The important part is that you’ll choose. You have information about the value of reading to your children – information is power.  Now choose to use that information in all of the creative ways that suit you perfectly.

You can trust yourself to choose in the moment.  And, the great news is that if you are unhappy with a choice, you simply choose again.

Binge-watching Scandal in L.A.,


Photo credit: Classic Film via Compfight