Way back when I was working in a corporate job (a million years ago), my first boss made a special and highly emphasized point of bringing attention to a common occurrence within the company – the response of a slight shrug and the words, “it is what it is.”
She stressed that this was an unacceptable response in all situations. That there would never be a time when you couldn’t affect change within your sphere, and ultimately within the organization. And certainly, that you shouldn’t settle for default mode and status quo, that you could do better. I happen to agree with her, and whenever I hear someone say, “it is what it is” with a little shrug, my gears start to grind.
It’s probably a big part of what has shaped my root belief: I believe it’s time to place yourself back into your own hands.
“It is what it is.” How many times have you said this phrase? Can you even count? Probably not, because you may not even notice when the words come out of your mouth. But it’s everywhere. It’s a default for plenty of employees, for many partners, for countless family members. And it creeps into nearly all situations too – work, school, health, relationships.
This seemingly harmless phrase that so many of us rely on in times of confrontation, change, or challenge, is slowly, silently taking away our power to choose. And that is the thing that is completely unacceptable to me in all ways.
In my experience, surrendering our power to choose is what leads to a life that feels hollow. It doesn’t feel like your own anymore, because it’s not. You’ve defaulted so many times in so many ways, giving up control of your choices, that nothing feels like it’s yours. It feels like life is just happening to you. And in my experience, that’s no way to live.
Personally, my take is that “it is what it is” is just not true. It may be what it is right now, but it doesn’t have to be. And I have questions – How did it get this way? Why did that happen? Who made it what it is? Why can’t we change it? What’s going to happen if we do?
Ultimately, that’s how Choice Discovery has come about over the years. I got curious. I started asking questions. Most importantly and most often, I questioned the status quo and whether a certain thing had to be a certain way. And frequently, I found that it didn’t, and that I had the power to choose for myself. I didn’t have to let anyone else, and especially not social conditioning, dictate how I was going to live my life.
Now, in my work that is distinctly not corporate, I still see a great deal of people struggling through various aspects of their lives, shrugging and saying, “it is what it is,” and feeling at the mercy of others, powerless in a lot of ways. Settling for default mode, status quo. Forgetting that there are options for choice, for change, at the very least for curiosity. And that’s where this root belief comes in.
Often, when I say to someone, I believe it’s time for you to place yourself back into your own hands, they let out a soft, but deep, breath they didn’t even know they were holding. Because they do know that they haven’t been holding themselves, their hearts. They’ve been giving it all up. And it’s a relief to be confronted with this realization, because it means awareness, and awareness is a gift. Many times, these people are nearly instantly more apt to take steps toward reconnecting with themselves and their lives, purposefully. It doesn’t take long at all to eradicate, “it is what it is” from a person’s vocabulary.
And that’s what I’m here to do.
So, again, I believe it’s time to place yourself back into your own hands. Deep breath. Release. What’s next?
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