Challenge: If I had a choice...
Think about the last time you were bumming hard about something. Life wasn't going your way, you were a victim of the circumstance, everything felt like you were walking around with a sign that said "kick me". --- got your situation picked out? Good.
Using that for inspiration, what would you have done differently if you had a choice? In reality, maybe you had absolutely no choices, but let's play a game where we pretend you did. What would you have chosen to do?
Here is real situation going on in my life right now for us to use as an example:
Near the end of 2017, I got to the point where I felt like it was time for a new car. My original car has been a sore subject for a few different reasons lately and I was ready to put the effort into choosing a new car, trading in my old one, and thus dissolving my irritation.
[CHOICE #1: My original choice began at this point. I was choosing to pick out a new car and to trade in my old one. I was not experiencing any issues that would prohibit me from driving. I made a choice to go down this path. There were many other ways I could have chosen to handle this situation.
For example, I could have chosen to sell my car and not get a replacement as I don't use my car to commute to work and could reasonably argue I don't even need a car. I could have chosen to wait and see what types of resolutions my old car company had for the issues I was reporting. I could have looked on Craigslist for a new car, or researched pre-owned vehicles in the area. I chose to research new cars and trade in my old one.]
After searching online and using the recommendations from my father and Consumer Reports. I determined that I thought the best car for me would be a 2017 Kia Forte.
[CHOICE #2: I chose that car based on several factors. The point being, I made choices. I made decisions based on my priorities and I chose that specific car. I had a plethora of other cars to choose from but based on what is important to me, I chose that car.]
Once I picked out the dealership who had the best combination for my situation, I test drove the car and talked to the sales person about their pricing breakdown, my trade value etc. Going to the dealership that night, I was 75% prepared to make a deal that night. When he told me their prices, I was blown away. It was no where near where I was in my mind and seemed like he didn't understand my goals. I was feeling pressured and confused and I just wasn't sure. Also, it was already 7:45PM and I was hungry.
[CHOICE #3: Here, I had another big choice. It was the car I wanted and it was the last 2017 they had in stock. I was talking to a person who was very confidently telling me information that sounded like it was coming from a trustworthy source but what do I know? I chose to write down what they said their final offer was and said I would think about it and get back to them.]
Some more number crunching went on, more researching etc. and I got to a place where I was comfortable with "my final offer" and I e-mailed them to see if we could make that work. To my delight, he said that was great and I could come in the next day to sign the paperwork etc. HORRAY! MY NEW CAR!
Except it didn't work out like that.
I went to the crowded dealership on a Saturday afternoon to sign the paperwork. I am not kidding, this guy hands me a piece of paper to sign showing the STICKER PRICE OF THE CAR. So, confused, I said "what is that?" and he said that was the deal we agreed on and that was the price I was buying the car for. I said no, no, no.... Here is the e-mail, we agreed on a much lower price and all these other terms. "Oh well (insert babbling about discounts and this and that and another thing..)" Basically we still weren't on the same page.
I looked at him and I said, "Okay, I won't be buying this car, thank you for your time" and walked out. Across a crowded show room. With this guy literally yelling my name across it.
[CHOICE #4: I had every intention of buying that car. I was there to sign the paperwork. I got to a place where I wasn't comfortable and my instincts took over and I made the choice to walk away. I felt like I didn't have a choice. I felt like that was the only car in the world, I felt like that was the only price in the world, I felt like this was the only sales person in the world. I know that isn't true, but it felt that way to me. I did not feel like I was at choice. But the second I walked out, I gained back my choice. In a split second, I realized, no one is forcing me to buy this car. I can do whatever I want. I have a choice. And I chose to walk out.]
One thing that often escapes us is the idea that we are always at choice. Sometimes it doesn't feel like it, I know. All too often, we build a box around ourselves and then complain that we are inside of it. My point being, sometimes it just takes a little bit of extra effort and creativity to find where those choices are. Next time you feel like you really have 0 choice, pretend like someone offered to pay you a million dollars to give them just one example of a choice you do have and see if you could do it. Maybe that will be the extra push you need to figure out something more creative.
*** The manager of the store ended up literally running outside yelling my name (I was mortified) and asked me what they could do to earn my business. Since I was not playing a game and was really ready to leave, I told him. He brought me back to his office and helped me work out a deal that was comparable to the original deal I went there to make and I left with my brand new, 2017 Kia Forte.