Personal Responsibility is one of my most favorite topics. EVER. I admit it. I definitely write about it a lot, and talk about it even more. I’m so passionate about this principle because I truly believe it is the key to all empowerment.
If you want JOY, BALANCE, and SUCCESS in your life, then taking responsibility for everything that you experience in your life is a definite requirement. Many experts call this process “taking 100% responsibility.”
This stance of “I created everything that I am experiencing“ is not an easy one to take, because we would admit having created everything unpleasant that has ever occurred in our lives.
Like the philosopher Sophocles once said: “It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.”
When you look at your income, your bank account, your health reports, the level of joy, energy, and excitement in your life, the quality of your relationships (with God, yourself, and others), your state (body, mind, spirit), you must look at all of it as if you created it all.
Are you really 100% responsible for your life?
The 100% figure throws many people off, because there are some events that may or not have been under our control. However, we will be looking outside of technicalities, and looking at this principle as a tool to empower ourselves to design the life we desire.
Eleanor Roosevelt put it this way:
“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
We are certainly 100% responsible for our choices.
Rather than blaming, making excuses, or complaining, we can take a position of power to know that we can always exercise our agency, our power to choose, to create the results we want.
One of my mentors, New York Times bestselling author andco-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield, uses a simple formula that illustrates this concept perfectly:
E is for the events that occur in our lives
R stands for our response to each of those events
O is for the outcomes we experience as a result of our responses
Two people can experience the same event, and because they choose to respond differently, their outcomes are significantly different, sometimes opposite!
You are creating your experiences, relationships, and overall results based on three major responses:
- your thoughts (self talk) and beliefs (conscious and unconscious)
- your behavior (including your words – what you say and how you say it)
- your visual imagery (or the visual images you focus on, including those of the future)
If you take a closer look to the life you are living right now, I guarantee you that you will start to see patterns that will help you understand how your choices created your circumstances (that’s one of my mottos!).
Albert Einstein warned us:
“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility.”
Knowing that even Einstein recognized this issue makes me feel a little better. We humans have the tendency to look outside ourselves for the culprit. We are all conditioned to blame someone, to make excuses (blaming a circumstance), or to complain when something does not go the way we would hope. We blame the country we live in, the economy, the weather, our parents, our spouse, or even our kids!
Blaming the event, shaming ourselves for the event, and complaining about the event, are all choices. Taking personal responsibility is a more empowering choice that can create a different outcome of the event, one that would be more favorable, and that will ultimately lead to our happiness.
There lies the catch. In order to live the life you want, you are required to lay down the sword and forever give up the right to:
- make up “reasons,” excuses or alibis
- complain (focusing on what is wrong with no plan to fix it)
- play the victim (acting as if you are powerless in the situation)
When something happens (or doesn’t happen) in life, it’s healthy to ask empowering questions to get back on track and regain our personal power.
When I went through UPW with Tony Robbins (where I did the firewalk), he said something really powerful about this:
“the quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask on a daily basis.“
5 Questions To Help You Reclaim Your Personal Power
- How did I create this situation? How did I encourage it? How did I allow it?
- What thoughts/beliefs got me here?
- What did I say or not say that led me to this outcome?
- What did I do or not do to create this result?
- What do I need to do differently next time to get the result I want?
By asking yourself the right questions, you give yourself permission to move past the emotions you may be feeling (anger, powerlessness, guilt, resentment, frustration, etc.) to consciously and deliberately design the results you experience in your life. I always say that “progress is success” because it’s all about taking each step that’s required to move forward.
My first face-to-face encounter with personal responsibility happened when I found myself a single mom after a dysfunctional three-and-a-half-year marriage. After an intense victimized, blaming, shaming session, I decided to work on myself and transform my present (and future) life, rather than focusing on what was now my past.
And to quote Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology, even if you used to define yourself by a victim story, you can now declare: “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
Mastering the lost art of taking personal responsibility is so liberating. It removes many triggers, stressors, and drainers that create imbalance, misery, and undue failure. It also increases trust, respect, and confidence from others – and yourself.
I invite you to accept and take full responsibility everything in your life, including your successes and failures. I encourage you to act as if you can really change the outcome of every single event in your life, based on your reaction.
Repeat after me: “every outcome I experience is a result of my response to my life events.”
With this incredible awareness, are you willing to take full responsibility for your current internal and external experiences and take charge of your life to create something different in each area of your life? That’s true empowerment – and that’s what I wish for you, my darling!