– William Stafford, from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems
I have to choose my freedom. It is not given to me by role or position. It is not taken from me by oppression or circumstance. My freedom is exercised in the present moment when I choose how to respond to what’s happening rather than to let’s what’s happening make the choice for me.
I am reminded of a quote of unknown origin: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
I imagine what would be different if I learned to take the pause in that space…to consider the options before me and to then make the most positive, constructive choice possible. I imagine that because so many days…so many times per day…I cannot see the space and so I cannot make the choice. I just react.
I am called – as all leaders, all parents, all spouses, all colleagues – are called, to dedicate and rededicate myself to personal responsibility; the responsibility to remember that my freedom is a choice.
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.