Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath oh Fresh Air

Cracking Circumstance: Are you the Master or the Puppet?

on July 28, 2017

“You can’t control what happened, but what you can control what happens next.”

(said [something like this] by Tom Selleck during an episode of Blue Bloods. Really!)

I love, love, love this re-frame, and I use it all the time in all things coaching; this approach / understanding is also an integral part of what fuels my mission to be better than by day before. It pushes perspective forward towards the power of positive change, instead of tempting us to try to turn back time. Sure, there are lessons to be learned by rewinding our minds, and time should be taken for that; but no matter how much replaying we do, there are no do overs, so our next steps must be forward, from what was to what’s next.

This is the case whether we made the bed we are lying in, and is still the case even if the bed just fell on us.

All things that happen to us, or because of us, present an opportunity to make a choice. We either choose to play the role of the victim and become a product of our circumstances, or we choose to be the champion, and own being a product of our decisions (some Stephen Covey, some me). But when this is happening, it often feels like we are being controlled instead of being presented with choices. This is a real feeling, but it is it important to realize this feeling is actually temporary. It (always…) goes back to perspective, which is sometimes buried beneath the collapsed feeling that circumstances can carry. But slowly as we dig out from this initial blast, we can start to see our choices more clearly. This clarity doesn’t mean we acknowledge these choices right away; we might stay stung for a while depending on how deep we went down, and that’s okay. Healing isn’t harmful, and it is a process, not an event. But that process begins AND it ends; and at that end are our choices, and those choices are packed with our power (our choice!) to persevere.

Exerting this power to persevere unleashes our inner super-hero. It establishes our accountability and results in our owning and celebrating our ability to control our choices. That’s right – (each and every day) we get to choose our attitude and approach; to decide to see the glass half-full or half-empty. When we choose to think “This sucks!”, then by default, it sure as shit will. When instead we choose that it is (we are!), going to be okay, we get the ball back and start to rebound. And our choosing determines that we are in charge and in control; when we choose we are saying F-U to circumstances.


Our choices can make us the master or the puppet (part Metallica, part me). Our super-hero power to persevere lies in our choice to live in our next instead of in our what happened.

So next time there is an opportunity – what will you choose?

Do you (are you?) want to be a product of your circumstances, or a product of your decisions?


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