Personal Responsibility: Your Untapped Power To Change
I preach about personal responsibility to my clients alot, because I firmly believe that the person most in control of your ability to create positive life change (or not) is YOU.
Because when you accept full responsibility for your behaviors and actions (or lack thereof) you are putting the most important person in the driver’s seat — yourself.
Yet you'd be surprised how often I get checkins from my clients in which they openly surrender the power of their own personal responsibility, relinquishing it to other people or circumstances.
“I didn’t want cookies, but my mom baked them so I had to eat them. It would have been rude not to, but now I feel like crap.”
“My daughter wanted me to stay up late and watch a movie with her, and then I was tired the next day so I skipped the gym."
In each of these scenarios, the most important aspect is the I: I chose to eat cookies. I chose to stay up late watching a movie. Sure, mom baked cookies, but she didn’t force them down your throat. Yes, your daughter may have wanted to stay up late, but she didn’t handcuff you to the couch.
While we can’t control outside circumstances, we always have a decision in how we choose to act.
Try re-framing the above scenarios, but this time, accepting personal responsibility:
“My mom baked cookies for me, and I chose to eat a bunch of them.”
“I chose to stay up too late with my daughter watching a movie."
I am an adult who is privileged to be in control over my body and what I choose to do with it.
If I want to eat cookies, skip a workout, or stay up late it’s fine, but I must take personal responsibility for my choice and be willing to own the subsequent consequences.
Because the fact of the matter is that you, and only you, are solely responsible for your part in any situation.
When you own up to your part, and focus on that and only that, you will open up the doors for real success. Honestly. Owning your choices places YOU in a position of power. When you stop blaming others, you free yourself to really be in control of your own life and THAT is a position of power, power to create real life change.
Personal Responsibility 101
Accepting personal responsibility can be really challenging in some situations. I do understand that.This is especially true in circumstances that we can’t possibly control, such as how another person acts or what they say. It can also be challenging if you tend to be a people pleaser or worry about offending and upsetting someone else.
But remember, when you blame other people or outside circumstances for your behavior, you are essentially turning your power over to them.
If you say, "Well I don't want to offend my mom by not eating cookies", you're STILL passing personal responsibility.
"Well that's just the way I am, I am a people pleaser." Again- not owning responsibility. You may very well be a people please, but what are you going to do about that? How are you going to work to OVERCOME that? What can you do to take steps to be a little more assertive? Remember- just because that's how you are, doesn't mean that's how you need to be. People can change!
Here are a few reminders to stay fully in your power:
1. Start by focusing on what you can control, which is always going to be your words and actions. In any situation, under any circumstance, this is ALL you have power over. So focus there.
2. In any situation, resist the urge to push responsibility onto someone else. Yes, your mom baked cookies. That was HER ACTION. But, remember you are in charge of you — you, and only you, decide what you say and how you behave. So what will YOUR ACTION be?
3. Start experimenting with powerful words of ownership such as “I chose”. See how GOOD it makes you feel. I chose to not have the cookies. I chose to go to the gym. When you use the words “I chose”, it’s a powerful reminder that you are in charge of you. When your mom bakes cookies and you find yourself reaching for one out of a sense of obligation, STOP and ask yourself "What do I chose? What is MY choice?" I, me, my, these are important words. Yes, your daughter may want to stay up late, but that's her choice. WHAT IS YOURS?
Remember: your words, your actions, and your reactions are your responsibility.