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You are ONE choice away from turning things around.

A couple  Fridays back, I attended the funeral  of a good friend’s father.  Bill Stokes was clearly a man that will be remembered fondly for what he gave to others.  He has left a legacy of enhancing the lives of his family, friends and the communities he was a part of. When my friend Ian got up to honor his father, his tribute pondered this question: How did I luck out and get such a great Dad?

He acknowledged that so many people haven’t had the benefit of positive role models in their fathers.  He went on to say “I asked myself if it was pure chance or cosmic luck but decided against that.  No, the fact is: My father made the choice to be that kind of Dad”

What a powerful statement.  “He chose to be a great Dad.”

As corporate leaders, community leaders and personal leaders our circumstances today, for the good and the bad, are the  consequence of the choices we made in our yesterdays.  Flip that forward and it also means that our tomorrows will be the consequence of the choices we make today.  That should get us excited.

There are three types of choices we can make in life:  Good Choices, Bad Choices and Running Far Away from Choices.  I’ve done all three.

The best choice is obviously a good choice.  The second best choice is a bad choice if we learn from it.  The worst choice is to run away from making a choice.  It means nothing changes and usually only gets worse.

So what stops us from making choices? The two biggest barriers for me in the past to making choices have been:

a) Perfection

Perfection is a huge weight for any leader in life.  We mull around choices until at last the opportunity passes us by.  We mull over choices endlessly because we’re waiting for the perfect answer.  Yet in my life  the truth has been that rarely have I had  ALL the information up front, rarely could I be guaranteed the exact perfect outcome up front.  If I’m looking for either of these for permission to move forward, life in general will pass me by.  I have missed out on opportunities because the perfectionist in me waited to long.

b) Fear of Failure

I don’t like to fail. I don’t set out to fail. Going back to my experience at Bill’s Stokes  celebration  service, person after person got up and repeated a common theme:  “I could count on Bill Stokes.  In 20 years of working together, he never once let me down.”   I too grew up with a father that was huge on delivering on the promises you make in life.  I respect my father for the integrity he has shown in his life. Those comments towards Bill each hit a deep value chord inside of me.  They also prompted an almost instantaneous sense of guilt within me.  The truth is I’m only 40 something and I’ve already let people down in my life.    As I looked around at many of the faces in attendance  you could almost see the same thought running through their minds.   As I entered into conversations after the service they talked about that very thing.

It was only upon reflection that I found relief from the sense of guilt that was dogging me.

1) Our Failures will only let people down if we fail to confess them, own them and seek to learn from them.  While I hugely admire the man  and the example he gave with his life, I really doubt that Bill Stokes never failed.  Rather, I believe that it was his integrity to confess, own and learn from his failures in life that endeared him to everyone he worked for and around.

In a nutshell, I believe we let people down with how we respond to our failures and not in the fact that we are all human and will fail.

Some leaders never reach their full potential in life because they allow  the weight of failure in the past to  rob  them of the ability to make bold choices today.  I’d encourage each of you to not let that be the case in your life.  When we confess, own and learn from them , your failures can actually take you to new heights of maturity and success.

Many of you have heard of the expression: Hindsight is 20/20.

It is so true.  Our goals and dreams only become reality when we get the courage to make  the decisions today that will give us the power of hindsight if again we choose to learn from it.

What are the choices you face today?

They could come from that excited  sense of opportunity you’ve been feeling for the past while. They certainly should come from any pains/frustrations you’ve had to put up with lately.

The truth is you are one choice away from turning things around. Will you seize this opportunity to take it?   If you want some help, email and I’ll send you a free decision making template that you can use and share with  others to help you in the choice making process.

David Benjatschek is an acclaimed author/speaker with 20 years experience serving Canada’s transport sector.  His passion is to work with leaders and teams to create environments ath succeed.   twitter: #authorenticity  email:


David Benjatschek

David Benjatschek

David Benjatschek is a professional business speaker/trainer, motivating audiences across North America. His 15 year career in Oil & Gas primarily focused on the transportation sector. Also an accredited photographer, David is the driving force behind and the Wowtrucks® Calendar: Canada's Big Rig Calendar.
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