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I’m about to turn 30. God willing, I’m about a third of the way through, but I’ve already learned some things thus far. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned, about three years ago now, is that everything that is “happening” to you at this moment is absolutely your fault.
I’ve noticed that too few of us are willing to take responsibility for the events and situations that occur in our lives. We’re quick to blame other people or to point out what they could have done better. We’re quick to blame the economy or a lack of opportunity or of time. I’ve even heard some people blame the weather.
Adulthood boot camp.
It’s time to take responsibility for every aspect of our lives and to understand that every decision we’ve made, heretofore, has lead us inexorably to where we are right now.
So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to call out some of the most common issues I come across, and reframe it. Don’t worry; I’m going to use some real-life examples from my own experiences, too, because you’ll never hear me preach something I haven’t practiced myself.
Please note: I understand that there are circumstances and events that an individual cannot control, and I empathize deeply with anyone who’s going through something troubling that is demonstrably outside their control.
Problems at work? It’s probably you.
Let’s say that you’re in some sort of management position and your team isn’t performing well. They’re showing up late, not making enough calls or missing deadlines, and so on. Well, what about you? Are you showing up earlier than the rest of your team everyday? Have you set the correct expectation for your colleagues and taken the time to inform and train them to meet them? When is the last time you asked your team what you could do to help them succeed?
On the other hand, if you’re an employee who hasn’t received that promotion or raise, then when was the last time you asked a manager for an opportunity for more responsibilities? Does your performance in the last six months justify it? What can you do today to elevate the trajectory of your career path?
I’ve been a coffee shop manager; I’ve managed nursing assistants to care for patients; I’ve managed sales teams, and now I have 7twelve. There’s one constant I found in all of those positions: Every success I’ve had was because of my team and every failure I had was due to my inability to lead effectively.
The fix for everything? Take responsibility.
No one is responsible for the outcome of your life but you. There’s no girlfriend or husband, no boss or teammate, no president or influencer that has an impact on your life unless you allow them to do so. You consent to it.
Take the time to learn what you can do better either personally or professionally. Then take action. Every book you’ve ever read, YouTube video you’ve ever watched, or meme you’ve ever shared is worthless unless you back it up with your actions.
The good news is that because everything is “your fault,” your outcomes are completely up to you. That’s daunting for some, but a liberating revelation for others. The more responsibility you take for your life, the more you’ll see the results you want out of it.
I could legitimately rant on this subject for hours, but I’ll spare you. Just remember, the next time you’re faced with a problem, ask yourself: “What might I have done better in the past, what can I do in this moment, and what must I do in the future to make this situation better than it is now?” The answer becomes your to-do list for creating a better future.