by Paul Kaye
May 15, 2018
Doing the right thing even when it’s hard
Recently, I found myself quite unexpectedly faced with a difficult decision. I was stuck between a preverbal rock and hard place with a choice to be made. If I did what I felt was right that would mean letting people down. Making this choice would mean stepping away from a commitment I had already made, which I always despise having to do. Making this choice would no doubt reflect poorly on me, as people would only see the impact of my choice and not the circumstances that had propelled me to make the decision. When faced with this uncomfortable crossroad the easier thing would have been to do nothing and carry on, but the problem with doing nothing is that nothing will ever change. I could simply do nothing and keep harmony but I’d know that I had opted to be weak. Choosing to do what I thought was right, however it would be perceived, might hopefully influence positive change; change that could equal a better experience for many others in the future. The old adage seemed prevalent; “Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.”
We could spend time dissecting exactly what happened and who was at fault but that will serve no purpose, and I’m not even sure we’d come to consensus. As a past coach used to recite to me with great gusto, “You can only be responsible for your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. You can’t control the situation, you can only control how you show up and deal with that situation.” While we can’t be accountable for the thoughts and actions of others, we can – and should – be accountable for our own.
I made my choice and withdrew from a public appearance. Was it the right decision? As I reflect on it I can’t say for sure. But I made a choice that I felt was in alignment with my personal values and goals. I believe passionately in setting people up for success. I believe in giving people the opportunity to grow together in a positive and deliberate environment. I believe that if you ask people for their time that you in return should respect that time. I believe that if you promise people an opportunity to learn that every best effort must be taken to deliver that. To continue with the appearance would have required me to do something that undermined my personal beliefs. How could I feel good about myself if I chose to continue to do something that didn’t align with what I believe in? How could I look myself in the mirror? Isn’t that the very definition of selling out, when you do something because of what it gets you versus it being true to who you are and what you believe?
Making a choice isn’t easy because every time we decide to do something, we are in tandem choosing to not do something. Saying yes to something means you’re saying no to something. Sometimes choices may seem easy on the surface but there is always a hidden depth. Actions always cause ripples and that means our choices come with potential consequences. Good or bad. One of the reasons that making the right choice can be hard is that it can conjure up difficult emotions such as anxiety, guilt or fear. You start to doubt yourself with negative thoughts liked “What if I am wrong?” “What will people think of me?” It is because of these inner thoughts and feelings that we often choose the easiest option. We opt for the path of least resistance. Yet every time we make a choice to do something that is in direct conflict with the beliefs we hold most dear we lose a piece of our self identity. We weaken our internal self-portrait.
The truth is that it takes courage to make a choice that you feel is right that others may not. Choosing to do what may be unpopular because it aligns with the values, beliefs and goals that shape you, as a person is the hardest thing any of us face. We can’t control the outcome of our choices but we can control the reasons we make them. We should all feel compelled to move in a direction that is congruent to our personal values. After all it is our choices that define who we are.
Paul Kaye is Vice President, Product and Talent Development for Rogers in Canada. Paul spends his days working with stations and talent across all formats with a sole focus on helping improve performance and growing the business. Prior to being at Rogers Paul held the role of National Talent Development Director for Newcap Radio and also a Group Programming role in England. Paul is a certified coach and is passionate about helping individuals, teams and organizations reach their greatest potential, which is the fuel behind his other project The Talent Lab. Paul lives in Toronto with his wife, 2 dogs and a cat – life is never quiet! You can reach Paul at [email protected]