You are free to make choices. You are not free to escape the consequences.

I first heard the late Howard Hendricks share this wisdom nearly 30 years ago and it remains one of my favorites quotes to this day.

Related: If You Want a Better Outcome, Take Better Actions

I taught it to my children. In fact, I forced them to memorize it when they were young. As adults, every one of them can recite it back from memory (not kidding!).

As a life philosophy, Hendricks’ quote points to the imperative of personal responsibility. It speaks to self-accountability (or, sometimes, to a lack thereof). Viewing the world through this lens provides powerful context for deciding between delayed gratification or the instant variety.

In essence, your daily choices become the very foundation of success or failure in business and in life.

Entrepreneurs will also find a profound lesson in this quote:

You determine your own consequences in life by your choices ... both positive and negative.

Related: How You Can Stop Making Bad Decisions -- Now

Here's how you can apply these lessons to business:

  • Are you particularly pleased with your customer satisfaction scores? Examine your best practices and appreciate the choices that led to the positive consequences. Go do more of it!
  • Wondering why you are behind on your revenue goals? Consider how diligently you have worked to fill your sales pipeline. What choices need to change on a daily basis to achieve better consequences?
  • Wishing you had more referrals? Ask yourself how willing you are to get out of your comfort zone and strike up those key conversations. What choices can you make this week to deliver more referrals next month?
  • Feeling good about your own personal growth and development? Awesome! Think back on the countless hours you invested in arriving in the place where you stand today. Celebrate those choices -- keep moving onward and upward.

Evaluate your choices, build great consequences and go change the world.

Related: The 4 Factors to Making the Best Decisions for You