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Making a choice can be very difficult, especially if you have been used to choose only within a safe framework growing up. How do you make the journey to being empowered?
It is often said that women who have the power of choice are lucky. I wonder! Of course a famous cliché immediately comes to our minds “With great power comes great responsibility”; but there’s so much more to it. The power of choice completely exposes us. It bares our soul and leaves us out there with nothing more than our own reality. It is far easier to take orders, follow rules, and meet expectations than being unchecked with abundant choices to make.
Things were so easy for me ten years back when all my personal decisions were taken by my parents and professional decisions by the bosses. And even when I was encouraged to make my own choices, they were disguised with planned schemes, control, care and confines. I became so complacent with my life’s auto mode, that I completely mistook the vacuum in my life for a power cloud.
I thought I could handle life pretty well, when in reality, I couldn’t even wash my own clothes in the hostel, while everyone else did. Instead, I waited to go home every month and give them all together for a wash since my house was just 50 kilometers away from college. I took no crucial decisions for myself and whenever I did, I ended up making them messy. And when I failed and bumped my head into the wall of reality, nothing came to my rescue, not even good intention.
This reality hit me twice. First, when I quit my job to start my own consultancy and second, when I got married and shifted to a new city. Both these changes were brand new in my life. I had no prior experience of dealing with either of them. And surprisingly, both career and marriage whispered the same thing in my ear, “Make your own choice, I’m there with you”. That’s when I realized that making one’s own choices is not only a huge responsibility but a true test of one’s character.
Starting my own work and working from home was not half as easy as I thought. I followed my passion and made a decent home office, but couldn’t pull myself to sit on that office chair the whole day and be productive. You see the bedroom was just a few steps away. I could quickly snuggle in the blanket and pretend to work on the laptop or I could make a concerned visit to the kitchen to check what ingredients I had for dinner or just go on Facebook whenever I wanted to. No one could see, none at all.
For the first few days, I sat in different rooms, took afternoon naps, phoned friends and family; all during the ‘work hours’ because I didn’t have any defined work hours so everything was okay. But my love for my craft didn’t seem enough to discipline me.
I had to sit myself down and indulge in serious self-talk about how it was an absolute necessity for me to plan my day, schedule my work, prioritize tasks and still make it all look like my art & craft. So I made choices. Choices not very easy but damn effective for my professional growth. Things like defining my office hours (I still struggle at this one), starting my day early, turning my internet data off on the days I am preparing for big projects, not making any personal calls during my office hours, indulging in all forms of learning, whether from books and research papers or from youtube videos and television.
I faced a similar choice struggle after getting married and moving into a new city. I always thought having a dominating life partner was challenging, but never realized how hard it could get if your partner encouraged you to make your own choices for everything- big, small or tiny. My husband just leaves my things to me. Each time I’m left to make a choice to plan our next vacation, select a movie to watch or decide the food menu, I’m left exposed. I used to feel uncomfortable initially (I still do at times) because I hated accountability. But now I feel the privilege, the power, the contentment and above all, a huge sense of self-esteem that comes with making my own choices.
I personally feel every woman should try to make her own choices. They don’t have to be good or bad. The idea is to first get into the practice of making choices. If you are aware and wise, you’ll learn and rise!
Image source: making a choice by Shutterstock.