Who Is Responsible for Your Success?

June 30, 2010

By Jack Canfield

This isn’t a trick question.

Certainly you know the answer—the person who has been responsible for the life you live right now: YOU.

Everything about you is a result of your doing or not doing… Your income. Debt. Relationships. Health. Fitness level. Attitudes and behaviors.

I think everyone knows this in their hearts, but often times people convince themselves into thinking that external factors are the source of their failure, disappointment, and unhappiness.

External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life.

When I hear people complain about the state of their life (be it their problems with personal finances, weight, their jobs, or general dissatisfaction) I like to help them see things differently.

If they feel “stuck” and unable to move forward for whatever reason, I ask them to scrutinize both what is working well and what isn’t working well in their life and see how they’ve arrived at where they currently are.

For example, if a woman tells me she’s unhappy with her weight—she travels frequently, and has no to time to exercise or seek healthy foods—I point out that her weight is not a result of her travels and schedule. It’s an outcome of what she chooses to eat and how she chooses to move, regardless of her daily agenda. Why not make a conscious effort to pre-plan healthy meals and snacks, even if it’s on the go, and sneak in 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there to be physically active (hey, I know some frequent flyers who make it a habit of running through airports!).

If you’re frustrated with any area in your life, then it’s time to take a little inventory. Certainly there are wonderful things happening, whether it’s your job, your romantic relationship, your children, your friends, or your income level. Your accomplishments are just as important as your missteps.

First, congratulate yourself on your successes; and then take a look at what isn’t working out so well. What are you doing or not doing to create those experiences?

Watch out! If you find yourself beginning to complain about everything but the choices you’ve made, then you need to take a step back. See if you can stop blaming outside factors for your unhappiness.

When you realize that you—and only you—create your experiences, you’ll realize that you can un-create them and forge new experiences whenever you want.

How empowering is that!

You must take responsibility for your happiness and your unhappiness, your successes and your failures, your good times and your bad times.

All too often we choose to claim the successes and blame the failures on others or other circumstances. When you stop blaming, however, you can take that energy and redirect it to focus on shaping a better situation for yourself. Blaming only ties up your energy. Imagine roping all the energy into a positive effort.

Some ideas to make this happen:

Believe, Believe, Believe! Have unwavering faith in yourself, for good and bad. Make the decision to accept the fact that you create all your experiences. You will experience successes thanks to you, and you will experience pain, struggle, and strife thanks to you. Sounds a little strange, but accepting this level of responsibility is uniquely empowering. It means you can do, change, and be anything. Stumbling blocks become just that—little hills to hop over.

Take no less than 100% responsibility . Successful people take full responsibility for the thoughts they think, the images they visualize, and the actions they take. They don’t waste their time and energy blaming and complaining. They evaluate their experiences and decide if they need to change them or not. They face the uncomfortable and take risks in order to create the life they want to live.

Stop complaining . Look at what you are complaining about. I’m fat. I’m tired. I can’t get out of debt. I won’t ever get a better job. I can’t stand the relationship I have with my sister. I’ll never find a soulmate in life. Really examine your complaints. More than likely you can do something about them. They are not about other people, other things, or other events. They are about YOU.

Make an immediate change. Are you unhappy about something that is happening right now? Make requests that will make it more desirable to you, or take the steps to change it yourself. Making a change might be uncomfortable for you. It might mean you have to put in more time, money, and effort. It might mean that someone gets upset about it, or makes you feel bad about your decision. It might be difficult to change or leave a situation, but staying put is your choice so why continue to complain?

You can either do something about it or not. It is your choice and you have responsibility for your choices.

Pay attention. Looking to others for help and guidance is helpful, but don’t forget to stay tuned in to yourself—your behavior, attitude, and life experiences. Identify what’s working and what isn’t. If you need to, write it all down. Then…

Face the truth and take action for the long term . You have to be willing to change your behavior if you want a different outcome. You have to be willing to take the risks necessary to get what you want. If you’ve already taken an initial step in the right direction, now’s the time to plan additional steps to keep moving you forward, faster.

Isn’t it a great relief to know that you can make your life what you want it to be? Isn’t it wonderful that your successes do not depend on someone else?

So if you need just one thing to do different today than you did yesterday, make it this:

Commit to taking 100% responsibility for every aspect of your life. Decide to make changes, one step at a time. Once you start the process you’ll discover it’s much easier to get what you want by taking control of your thoughts, your visualizations, and your actions!

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Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com


Three Ways to Avoid Relationship Drama

September 1, 2009

Before you know it you get sucked in. You were misunderstood. It wasn’t even your issue and now because you got involved, you are the bad guy. If you want to avoid getting sucked into workplace drama here are three easy tips to keep you drama free.

1. Stand on the Bridge
2. Keep your two cents
3. Get curious

Stand on the bridge
This is one of my favorite exercises to help clients to detach from the heat of the moment. I wish I could claim it as my own, but it comes from author Gary Zukav.  Gary says that when you are pulled in by your emotions it is as if you are in the midst of a raging river. The water (representing your emotions) slap at your face and you feel as though you might get swept away. The next time you are aware enough to feel the heavy emotion threatening to suck you into the current, say to yourself,  “Stand on the bridge…stand on the bridge.”

Keep your two cents
You’ve heard the saying, “a penny saved is a penny earned.”  Earn your peace by saving your two cents. The next time someone invites you to give your opinion about some drama they are involved in, simply say, “I’m keeping my two cents to myself.”  It takes wisdom to realize that 90 percent of the time anyone who is venting and asking for your advice really just wants your support. You can lend support by acknowledging their feelings without offering council or playing referee.

Get curious
Instead of getting drawn into an argument, keep these questions in your back pocket:
1. What are your choices?
2. What if that wasn’t the case?
When you ask, “what are your choices,” the victim response is, “I don’t have any choices.”
If this is what you hear, just nod sympathetically. No advice and no getting sucked into a heavy current of emotion.
If you ask, “what if that wasn’t the case,” and they start an argument,  you know the drill. No advising or getting sucked in.

The reality is this: Awareness is the first step. Without awareness, a person cannot really choose, because responsibility is the RECOGNITION of choice. Until one recognizes his choices he is stuck into patterned responses driven by the subconscious mind.  If you continue to be drawn into any dysfunction including workplace or relationship drama, use these three methods to increase your own awareness and a more healthy relationships.


Four Ways To Stop the Drama at Work

June 18, 2009

Have you ever felt taken advantage of in the workplace? Your co-workers manipulate situations, do underhanded petty things, gossip and leave you out of conversations?  How do you get them to stop? There are four areas where you have a measure of control. To illustrate, read this true story about Miriam.

For several years Miriam, 52, has worked for a large corporation that has gone from a word processing department to a desktop publishing unit.  Although her coworkers are younger and have more seniority, Miriam has a degree in art and extensive graphic experience.  Miriam wants to retire with the company in six years but lately she feels like an outsider at work and she perceives this as a threat to her career.In her view, three of her coworkers are competitive and do underhanded things to get the “fun” jobs or the jobs that make them noticeable to management.  They withhold information, manipulate situations, steal ideas, or act helpless so that others will come to their aid and give them extra help. Miriam resents their skills at self-promotion and she finds it hard to sell herself, or to be taken seriously. She wants recognition for her work yet she finds it difficult to accept a compliment for fear of being perceived as haughty or ‘too proud.’ Miriam has tried on occasion to fit in with her coworkers by joking around but they act disgusted and make Miriam feel as though she has been inappropriate. When Miriam has tried to participate in the conversation she gets ignored and interrupted even to the point to where she has had to ask them to let her finish.  Miriam came to me for advice. She wanted to know how she could take charge of this situation.

There are four areas where Miriam has a measure of control: By exercising her choices, taking responsibility for her own career, changing her communication and becoming aware of the message she is sending.

CHOICES

None of us can control how coworkers act, but we can choose our reaction. Miriam must decide who she is (in the context of this situation) and continue to choose reactions that reflect confidence and centeredness.  When coworkers brag on themselves, rather than being envious or discounting them, she can agree with what is true and follow up with a question, “How did you do that?”   When we put ourselves in the position of believing we have all the confidence in the world, we’re not so hungry for the approval of others.  With this attitude and belief system in place, Miriam has more choices: to be come interested rather than envious, to become curious instead of competitive. With new choices comes the freedom to compliment her coworkers without discounting herself.

RESPONSIBILITY

It is your responsibility to take charge of your own promotion at work. Waiting for others to notice our attributes and talents is a poor way to gain personal power.  You can be ‘good’ in a closet and no one will ever know it.   Miriam can emphasize her background in graphic design and art by going to the library and brushing up on trends, and reporting the findings to her boss in an attitude of sharing knowledge. Instead of trying to compete with her coworkers and continue the cycle, Miriam can take credit for her ideas by telling the boss she would be glad to hold a session to teach some of her techniques and skills to her coworkers.  She might offer to train new hires or those that lag behind. She will be communicating that she is a team player and a leader.

COMMUNICATION

Communication is tricky-it’s more than mere words. Since Miriam feels rejected and distant it is most likely her communication is reflecting these emotions and perceptions, if not in her words or her tone, then perhaps in her body language.  One reason Miriam doesn’t receive support is because she communicates to her coworkers that she is uncomfortable with praise and doesn’t know how to react.  It’s best to acknowledge appreciation with a smile and a “thank you,” instead of arguing the point.  Rather than begging coworkers to let her finish her sentences, she can show her interest by asking open-ended questions. Miriam can monitor her communication to insure that the message received was the message intended.

AWARENESS

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Without making assumptions it’s likely that there is a reason Miriam is being received the ways she is.  Let’s look at the reactions from her joking:  My question to Miriam:  “Are you interjecting sarcastic comments or trying to be subtle in letting them know you feel like an outsider? Are you rolling your eyes when you disagree with your coworkers?”  Miriam admitted she was a big eye-roller and it was an ah-ha moment. We can’t cure or change what we are unaware of.  Without self-awareness it’s difficult to choose differently, or change our communication. Self-awareness is the key that unlocks the door to taking charge.

To get more information about how to identify the drama, sign up for The Drama Stops Here.


Two Words Open the Field of Possibilities

January 30, 2009

I had a HUGE insight that I couldn’t wait to share with you.

Two words that hold amazing power are the words “what if?”

“What if,” when said in fear produces more fear and worry.

  • What if I look stupid?
  • What if I fail?
  • What if I don’t make enough money?
  • What if she/he rejects my idea?

“What if,” when said in a state of curiosity and hope

opens the door to infinite possibilities and you become a creator.

  • What if this is the best idea yet?
  • What if I double my financial goals?
  • What if I’m wildly successful?
  • What if others think I’m brilliant?

Almost every act of creation starts with considering

a “what if.”

Using the “What if” question is part 8 of my Stop Your Drama Methodology, also called The 8 Steps of Empowerment.  If you want to get a short overview go to  http://www.stopyourdrama.com and sign up for the free Clarity Gift and the mini-lesson.