Whatever happens, take responsibility. Tony Robbins
Your life, your actions, your decisions, your reactions are what are responsible for your success or failures. Sure we can all blame some of our shortcomings on genetics, or a bad boss here or there, or some type of situation out of our control. The reality is that when we take ownership of our life and stop blaming others things change for the better. I can tell you this from personal experience and so can a million people far more successful then myself! It’s your life so OWN IT! Be the captain of your own ship. Life sucks if you are always in the passenger seat; and you don’t get to complain if you don’t take ownership of your life.
There is an expiration date on how long you can blame other people for a situation. Your reaction to a situation is far more important that the actual situation itself. A personal example is that when I was still rising through the ranks of Information Technology I was working for a start up that had very little money. I knew the financial situation but I didn’t think ahead that things might get to a point where layoffs would affect me. I worked incredibly hard so why would they even think about laying me off!
Things got tight for the company and on a sad Friday my boss called me into the office and with a tear in his eye he told me that I no longer had a job. He apologized and assured me that it wasn’t personal – we all know how that helps right!
That said I was mad and hurt, I worked long hours, I constantly read books about software development, I was happy and friendly at work, I jumped at every opportunity to take on more responsibility, I worked weekends, and still I was without a job.
I walked out of that office fuming mad at my boss and the owner of the company feeling like a total victim and in a state of total self pity. I was a father, I was a bread winner, I was dedicated and I was a loyal employee who had worked every week far over the 40 hours that I was paid for. Yet here I was unemployed and without a clue where to go next!
I went home and turned my anger into action because what I knew was that the event happened and now what was important was how I react to the event. I could blame my boss and the owner of the company or I could take the blame for allowing myself to be in a situation like this.
Victim or Victor
So now I owned the results of finding a new job quickly so that I didn’t put my family in jeopardy of financial hardships. The type of hardships that I had experienced as a child from when my father had lost his income and didn’t recover for a few years. This was due to self doubt and depression and not taking ownership of his own life. I desperately didn’t want to fall in that trap in my own life. I was driven by the fear of failure more than the quest for success.
By taking the blame for my situation I changed my mindset from the victim mindset to the mindset of someone determined to overcome this challenge and to create a positive outcome. I found a new job in a week and I had received a 1 month severance so I actually got out of this with 3 weeks extra pay! I could have easily stayed in that victim space for a long time but how does that help anyone?
Ask yourself this: What blame are you holding for someone else that you could really take responsibility for; and in doing that how could your outlook and even your life change? Trust me it will change if you take this step. What steps can YOU take to be more valuable, a degree, a certification, home study, whatever it is. No one owes you anything in this life except you owing it to yourself to make the most of your time here.
Are you mad at a parent? Are you mad at a boss? A friend? An ex-lover? Let it go! Take responsibility for your own success, your own happiness, your own life. Everything gets easier when you just accept your life for what it is – your journey – you’re the captain – you’re the pilot – you take the blame/credit and that works for success as well!
You are where you are because of the decisions that you have made to get here. If you are successful take some credit for the steps that you took along the way. Even mild success means that you are doing something right. If you can’t take credit for your success you might want to look up Imposter Syndrome to make sure that this isn’t something that you are suffering from. Many successful people suffer from this syndrome and it causes many people to feel fear of being found out as a fraud.
Ask yourself some tough questions:
- If you want to be more successful what small steps can YOU take to get there? Don’t focus on how other people could stop you or should be helping you.
- If you want more happiness what small steps can YOU take to get there? Don’t worry about what other people think or do.
- If you are unhappy in a relationship what small steps can YOU take to fix it?
- If you are unhealthy what small steps can YOU take to correct it? Don’t look to your doctor to proscribe you to better health – doctors don’t make you healthy; they make you a customer.
This doesn’t mean that you have to do everything alone. You can ask for help, the most successful people are self aware enough to understand that you can’t do everything. Sometimes we all need to ask for help but asking for help is a step in a positive direction; instead of sitting around feeling sorry for yourself because no one is offering to help you.
As a life coach and I can tell you that when things get more painful people take action. You have to find the fulcrum where pain outweighs pleasure – like a finger in the ribs. When people come to me they are looking for help in making a better life for themselves. They own their success, and in the process are asking for some help to get there. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know anything except what you have done so far; and understand that others can help you. Get out of your head and into your heart by asking yourself if this is how you want to continue to live, or if you want to only have yourself to blame for your failures and your massive successes.
Failure is EASY – just stop trying! Whereas; success is challenging and takes time and you will take lumps and the Universe will test you time and time again to see if you are truly committed to own your experience or if you will fall back into old ways and look for others to blame.
I know people who in their adult life still blame their parents for the life, and then as they grow older they begin to blame everyone else for their problems. Take ownership for your current situation and if you can’t do that then get some help.
If it helps then mentally start a new chapter of your life; the chapter where YOU take control. Literally think that the past chapters of your life were the chapters that other people controlled and the next chapters are where you are in control. You can even title this chapter of your life as something that makes you feel empowered.
As president Truman said “The buck stops here”.