You always have a choice—the power of reframing

A friend of mine was bemoaning the fact that he HAD to attend a wedding in Florida with his wife.

He did not want to go but felt he had no choice.

I asked: “What would happen if you CHOSE not to go?” He replied that his wife would be very upset and it would harm their relationship.

Next, I asked: “How do you think your current attitude will impact the quality of your time together at this wedding?” He pondered this for a minute and admitted that he would have a miserable time and that would have a negative impact on his wife’s experience – not too much different than if he stayed home.

Finally, I asked: “Knowing that you really DO have a choice, what would happen if you looked at your options and CHOSE to attend the wedding and make this a great experience for your wife?” He admitted things would probably be better and he made the choice to attend.

When he came back from his trip, I asked him how it went. He hit me in the arm and then said “I hate it when you’re right. We both had a wonderful time.”

Exercise choice

There is power in the words we tell ourselves and others. Think about the last meeting you feel you HAD to attend – you felt like you had no choice. How did you act during that meeting? What was your attitude? What did you get out of the meeting? What would happen if you made the CHOICE to attend instead? You looked at your alternatives – go or not go – and decided it was worth attending. (NOTE: You may want to contact the meeting organizer and have a discussion about your attendance before making a final decision!)

Think about these examples and how reframing your words can impact the quality of your experience:

Instead of                     Consider

I have to…                              I choose to…

They made me…                    I’ve decided to…

It can’t be done…                  There has to be another way…


As you go through the rest of the week, notice your language and the impact it has on your attitude. See if you can reframe your experience by changing your language. Let me know how it goes.


“Change your language and you change your thoughts.” ~ Karl Albrecht 


About the author:

John Hester is a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies.  You can read John’s posts on the second Thursday of every month.

14 thoughts on “You always have a choice—the power of reframing

  1. Great post. I often forget the power of reframing my thoughts, but it’s powerful. I think once one starts practicing it regularly it becomes almost automatic. The story about your friend and the wedding really resonated with me. Wise advice and something I can add to my personal repertoire. – Craig

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  4. Great post. I read a book once that stated our thoughts are investments and being in business this really resinated with me. It is all a matter of choice. To some that may sound cliche but it is the true. If there is one thing I have learned it is as the poet William Ernest Henley stated in his poem Invictus I am the master of my fate and I am the captain of my soul. There is great power in those words especially when the fact is personally realized.

  5. I believe so strongly in the power of our self talk. Great article John. We ARE in charge of what we think!!!

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  7. Great thoughts here, John. Really love the idea of how “changing” our thoughts impacts our quality of life. Also, altering our thinking is one key to success that I have found opens the doors of opportunity!

  8. Thanks for writing this post! I couldn’t agree more with the idea that we can and do influence our feels and attitudes with a simple thought or choice. My days are always better when I make that choice.
    Keep up the great work you are doing!
    Hope you and Paula can make it back east sometime soon. It would be awesome to see both of you.

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