I had an epiphany the other day. Confession: I don’t get them often, but when I have one, I need to write about it.  When you read this, you may think that I’m preaching to the choir, or that my self-proclaimed flash of brilliancy is not very brilliant. Fair enough. I’m going to share anyway.

I told myself that I had the power of choice. I could choose to accept a situation or change it. I could choose to confront someone or let it slide. I could choose to spend or save. I could choose to dive in or hide. The point is, I have the power. And that power is empowering.

How many choices do you think you make in a single day?  What to wear, what to eat, what to do first, second, or last?  We probably make a hundred choices or more every single day without ever giving much thought to the power we have.  Obviously, our power scale moves in proportion to the weight of what we’re choosing, so I’m not talking here about whether to get onions on your burger or pepperoni on your pizza.  (Although both are important decisions.)

Instead, I’d like to address those potentially life-changing decisions, such as ending a relationship or quitting a job.  Are you paralyzed by indecision or immersed in regret after you’ve made one?

Channeling the power we have in our own choices starts with the ever-so-important evaluation.  When I’m evaluating, I like to make a list of pros and cons, and I also like to ask one (just one) person whose opinion and intelligence I value to weigh in.   If you have friends who give unsolicited advice (which I have been known to do from time to time), be sure to listen.  Not necessarily to heed the advice, but always to take others’ opinions into consideration.  While doing so,  I urge you to allow yourself sufficient thinking time.

After you’ve done your evaluation and made your choice (feeling your own power, hopefully), the next step is equally important:  follow through with it.  Give that two weeks’ notice to your employer, have that difficult conversation with your partner, or make that appointment with the plastic surgeon.  Holding ourselves accountable for our own choices is another expression of power.  I know for sure that you’ll feel empowered (and likely relieved) when it’s off your to-do list.

The final step in the power of choice is to be comfortable with it. Self-empowerment leaves no room for second-guessing.  It leaves no room for regret.  If you find yourself heading in that direction, please, please make a u-turn.  Ask yourself what you’ve learned along the way and then make the choice to move forward.

I think that looking ahead rather than behind is how we turn our choices into our powers.  Do you agree?  What sorts of empowering choices have you made?  Please share your own example.  You may be helping someone else move forward.