Reality Check: The Paths We Select Through Our Choices

One of the benefits of writing is that people sometimes tell me their stories. I appreciate getting them, especially stories about choices.
Recently, a young woman I’ll call Rebecca emailed me. We are acquainted, so the contact wasn’t completely unexpected. However, much of what she revealed was new to me. With her permission, I’m sharing some of it with you.
Rebecca had an “ah-hah” moment as she prepares to begin a new job. This significant event got her thinking about the progress she’s made and how that came about.
Rebecca’s background included hard times. She was raised in a single-parent home; mom worked diligently but at low wages. Money was tight. Rebecca grew up being aware that one needs to make do and keep expectations low. As an adult, Rebecca’s own work—perceived to be somewhat unskilled—didn’t pay well either, even though she was a conscientious worker.
The loss of a job forced Rebecca to make a change. She examined her options and learned that if she planned carefully, she would be able to take a training program. This would bring the opportunity for skilled work in a field she loves. It would require hard work, study, and careful budgeting. There was the possibility that she could fail. It was a risk.
Rebecca made her choice. She invested considerable time and effort and she succeeded. After being hired by a highly-regarded company, she continued to build her skills, experience and reputation.
Now Rebecca is beginning a new phase; an even better job, more money, more benefits, work that provides a service to others and corresponds to her values.
Over recent columns, I’ve been examining basic needs in Dr. Glasser’s Choice Theory. Perhaps that’s why I noticed specifically how the change Rebecca described has so many need-fulfilling aspects to it.
For example, one notable perk of her new position is that Rebecca can now include her mother (who is ill) on her medical plan (love & belonging need.)
Another example: Rebecca had a long-held assumption that she must save everything possible for her old age. Now, she has a pension matching benefit (security & survival need). Another example: enhanced vacation and personal days (freedom and fun needs).
Finally, there’s Rebecca’s realization that she—by herself—was able to negotiate successfully with a prospective employer. This profoundly changed how she sees herself; she’s sought after for her valuable skills (power need).
By now you may be thinking, “That’s nice for Rebecca. But everyone doesn’t get those opportunities. What about the rest of us?”
That’s true, of course. People are different, with different skills, interests, opportunities. We are exposed to different information. We may not have much control over those factors.
However, we do have some control, just like Rebecca did. We can choose what information we look for. We can choose how we respond to it. We can choose our work ethic and our attitudes. We can weigh the risks and difficulties. That’s what Rebecca did as she made her choices.
I’m grateful to “Rebecca” for telling me her story and for giving me permission to share it with you. I’ve done this with the hope that it may be helpful to know that people—possibly people much like us—have overcome challenges and emerged to create a satisfying life. It’s possible. It can be done.
Do you have challenges that you want to overcome? Do you think it’s possible to do so?

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