Taking Responsibility: 4 Steps to Owning Your BS and Creating Your Life – Guest blog by Jill Coleman
I was so excited when Rachel asked me to write a guest post for her site about mindset. Mostly because she’s one of my mentors in the fitness industry and as a previous member of the Results Fitness Mastermind, I learned a thing or two about it from her!
Namely this: Take 100% responsibility for everything.
In 2011, I was fumbling a little in both my personal and professional life. Though I had always believed that one can “create” the life they want, I had reached a point of helplessness. I had run out of moves because I believed that I didn’t have any. In other words, I bought the lie that life was happening to me, and I had little power over its direction.
When we feel “done wrong” by our circumstances or feel as though other people are innately cruel or are out to sabotage us, it’s easy to believe that what we do doesn’t matter. We say in business, “Why even bother! So-and-so is already doing that!” or with our diet, “It never works, so I might as well stop trying!” We convince ourselves that what we do makes no difference.
This is the mindset of a victim.
And I was one back in 2011, working from a model where I had no power. And I wanted someone else to do it all for me. I was blaming, complaining and waiting around.
We see this all the time in the fat loss or fitness realm. Clients hire coaches and “experts” to give them a miracle plan to follow and when they inevitably can’t, they have someone to blame. I did it with my first competition coach. Blamed them for “not telling me” about post-show rebounding and complained when I couldn’t help but shove Reese’s Cups down my throat. I was hurting and insecure, so I deflected and defended because I wasn’t able to take responsibility or see my role in any of it.
We do this when we want to play the victim. We get to give over the reigns to someone else and then shirk ownership when it comes to any negative outcomes.
And ironically, this all feels good! Ha!
I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it actually feels good to play the victim, doesn’t it? Because the pity and affirmation about how bad everything is makes us feel justified in our pain. The emotions are high and we get to be the ones done wrong.
But there’s one serious flaw in that approach—going around and gathering up affirmation and pity about how bad it all is, IS NOT A SOLUTION. Emotions are not a solution. Getting angry, sad, annoyed, frustrated, pissed off, upset, are not a solution. They can clue us into a place that deserves some further investigation or navigation, but they don’t pull us out of our place of inaction or defeat.
Assuming responsibility does that. Assuming ALL the responsibility does that.
Assuming responsibility for our own actions, our own words and our choices. And ready for this? We also need to assume responsibility for OTHER PEOPLE’S words and actions too! Why? Because though their actions may have played a role in where we are, focusing on the BLAME associated with that is … ready? … still not a solution!
That doesn’t mean we become a doormat or pushover. We still assert ourselves with others and if we don’t like how we’re being treated, we take it upon ourselves to change that interaction or we move away.
This is not even really about other people. Why? Because people will always do what they do and say what they say, and the idea that we can or should try to control those things is absurd. Because we can’t. Ever.
Byron Katie says, “It only takes one person to end a war.” And I believe that 100%. We don’t ever need to wait on someone else to change in order to change OUR situation. We don’t need anyone else to change so we can finally be happy. We don’t need other people to do it for us.
Because when we hold out hope that someone else can do for us what we want, we’re playing the victim. We’re giving over our power. We are taking away our choices.
So how do you stop playing the victim and start making things happen for yourself?
This can be a tough transition because again, we like playing the victim. It’s easy. It’s humanity’s default. But it’s precisely because we play the victim that we don’t achieve the outcomes we want.
So, making the switch takes some courage and some serious introspection work. Ready?
1) AWARENESS. The first step is awareness. Awareness of those negative emotions. Any time you are feeling angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, etc., you are, in that moment deflecting responsibility. Of course, this is often a kneejerk response, and that’s fine. But to begin, just stay aware of when you are choosing those emotions. Are you someone who goes from catastrophe to catastrophe all day long? Do you stress about every tiny blip in your plan? Do you complain about things constantly? Just watch.
2) RESPONSIBILITY. This is about the recognition that those negative emotions and the complaining you’re doing is actually COMING FROM YOU. This is the tough-love part of the program! This is all about assuming ownership. When you do that, you now have options, moves to make and actions to take. When you shirk responsibility, you give up your power.
3) CHOICE. You may not feel like you have a choice in some situations. You might feel like life is “happening to you” and your resulting emotions (hurt, sadness, anger, whatever) are inevitable. BUT. If you look for it, there is a teeeeeny, tiny amount of TIME between the thought (“This diet is hard”) and the emotion (“I suck at this.”). And during that tiny bit of time, we have a CHOICE. We can choose negative self-talk, which we know doesn’t motivate us, OR we can choose to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and simply move forward the best we can. This is all about perception. If we think we’re stuck, we will be. If we think our actions make a difference, then we’ll take them and see results. Some of my favorite tools here include giving the benefit of the doubt to others (and myself!), using gratitude and finding a single bright spot in any situation and also, ironically, going to worst-case scenario. Mentally going to worst-case scenario is actually a motivational tool that propels us to action because 99% of the time, we see that even the worst-case is something we could handle. Would it be fun? Nope, but we could figure it out. Choose the most applicable tool for each scenario.
4) PRACTICE. Guess what? You don’t just “get this” and then are good to go (I wish!). This is a process where over time, life gives you opportunities to practice. Each day brings a new set of circumstances where you get to choose how you interact with them. Do you kick and scream and fight and say you’ve been done wrong? Or do you take 100% responsibility and find one single action to take to put you back in your power?
The good news? When we take 100% responsibility in every moment, we get to fully create our lives. We feel empowered every single day. We know that what we do matters and the more we take action, the greater our outcomes and sense of accomplishment. It’s a feed-forward cycle, made possible wholly by your own perception. And your perception is your greatest tool.
Your mindset drives your choices.
Your choices drive your actions.
Your actions determine your success.
What mindset do you choose in this moment?
Jill’s 10-Week Mindset Makeover online program is open for registration this week only, through Friday July 25 at midnight PST. If you want to begin feeling more in control of your own life, and managing your interactions with everything from food to your body to those closest to you, and most importantly—yourself!—join the 1000 women who have already experienced this game-changing program. Grab your spot here before it closes up for the year!