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The ‘People’s Choice’ rewards

The ?People?s Choice? rewards

It never occurred to me I could be a general manager. In my early experience, GMs were 6’5”, male and were from very serious European countries. Also, it was the late 1980s and I was having too much fun at life’s smorgasbord and thought working was just a good way to meet Mr. Right (or at least Mr. Maybe).

Besides, I didn’t color inside the lines and freely spoke what was on my mind. Even, so I was put into a hotel professional development program with one of the larger hotel companies on the planet. I thought they made a mistake, as I wasn’t the blue-suit-wearing type. In fact, they used to send me memos to lower my hem. What did they see in me? I didn’t fit the mold, and this was a mold-fitting company. But it only took one person with insight. We had just opened a new wave of resort inspired airport hotels. I dared to be different — not for its own sake — and one GM had the guts to say, “Yes (well, he actually said sí) we could use some new thinking around here.” I think my breakthrough event was to create a coffee break involving manatees.

One day, kind of like the onset of puberty, it just showed up. Life’s concerns were no longer thinking about what concerts were coming up but how we could reset the ballroom in less than an hour to accommodate a general session AND a wedding.

To this day I cannot tell you if I chose this path or if it was chosen for me. Whether it was coincidence or synchronicity, once life calls you to the next stage of your development and contribution, I have learned there are two approaches: choosing and deciding.

Choice is empowering, is rooted in freedom and implies accountability. Decisions tend to leave you dealing with what’s left and feels more like responsibility.

Choice creates opportunity. However subtle, to decide is to kill off options. Think genocide, suicide, patricide.  

Choosing your path is a powerful way to live, and we can choose to see leadership as a gift, as difficult, as rewarding, or a burden — always our choice, and we get to re-choose daily how we love, how we lead, who we are.

Learning to trust our choices is a life-affirming way to live. Deep inside I believe we always know. It’s just the speaking of it that is sometimes the most difficult.

May we all choose wisely and follow with all our heart.

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