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I found myself into a Twitter conversation the other day about the conundrum of what we choose to fight over.  We can’t very well reTweet every tweet from @YesYoureRacist although we want to.  Similarly, it’s not practical to boycott every brick and mortar store that participates in a practice that we don’t like. Learning how to pick our battles is as essential as learning how to turn off the internet so you can do some real work.  So, how do we do it?

We must pick our battles based on two things that must live in tandem:

  1. Our personal values.  We must be crystal clear on what our values are in order to make life choices that make us happy. As most of my coaching clients know, I’m big into values. ImageYour values are specific, two-word phrases that resonate with you. Here are a few examples: Italian-style contentment; fearless adventurer; passionate faith; spontaneous generosity.  You get the idea. 
  2. Where you can add value (expertise, insight, wisdom, tips, whatever you want to call it) . The “you” piece is key.  I may feel strongly about voting rights for example but I don’t know the struggle from any perspective: survivor, volunteer, educator, activist, poll worker, etc.  so the value that I can add to this conversation is pretty minimal.

Let’s explore this a bit, shall we?

Me adding value to a conversation about voting rights is pretty unlikely.  Even though one of my personal values is, for example, “equality for all”. But I can add value to a topic about intimate partner violence since one of my personal values is “equality for all” and the topic is women killed by their partner with a handgun.  In order to pick your battles successfully, both of these two pieces MUST sync together.  And by successfully, I don’t mean “winning”.  I mean success in terms of not feeling overwhelmed, frustrated or burnt out.

In her endlessly amazing book, The Story of Telling, author and brand strategist Bernadette Jiwa advises us to write for one person. The idea is that if you market yourself to the world, try to cater to everyone, you will end up resonating with no one.  True. So this theory is the same as ours, right? You pick your battles for YOU….not because everyone is doing it, it’s a good idea or it makes sense. Pick YOUR battles.

What do you think, Dear One?  How do you pick your battles? Leave a comment below.