by Beth Williams, Vice President of Human Resources at Hilldrup
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.” Jim Rohn
I have great news!! It turns out we are responsible for everything in our lives, the good, the bad and even the ugly, isn’t that fantastic? I realize this proclamation may be met with a furrowed brow and perhaps a touch of skepticism, however I assure you, this really is great. It’s great because the moment we accept responsibility for our lives is the moment we cease to be a victim, giving our power away to others.
I’ve had people say to me “my life is terrible right now, and you’re telling me I’m responsible, how is that a good thing?”. Because it means if you had the power to make it terrible, you also have the power to make it wonderful. Still skeptical? It may help to think of it in the reverse: if we aren’t responsible for our behavior and our results, then someone or something else is, which means we have no power or freedom to change – ugh, that’s a depressing thought.
Not only is this concept of personal responsibility empowering, it’s absolutely necessary for true success and happiness. In my 20+ years as a Human Resources professional, and seven years as a certified life and leadership coach, I have seen chronic blaming, complaining and excuse-making derail many careers and cause much personal turmoil.
So how can a person begin to take personal responsibility? It just takes a few small first steps that are simple and very powerful:
- Look at the situation and ask, “how am I causing this or allowing this to happen?”. Do this without self-judgement or self-blame, be curious, kind and honest with yourself.
- Focus your attention on the result you would prefer and the choices you could make in order to achieve your desired result. These choices may require that you change your behavior – including what you say and how you say it and your thoughts about the situation.
- If the choice doesn’t give the results you want, you can look to understand what happened and what action you can take next.
I have one more piece of good news: much of this is simply awareness, so the next time you hear yourself complaining, stop and consider what it is that you would prefer. Then think about one step you could take toward creating what you want. Best wishes, and more power to you!