Have you ever stopped to think about where you’re giving power away in your life? If not, you’re not alone. Most of us don’t even realize we’re doing it.
When we blame a colleague for our bad day or we talk about how we can’t get things done because of all the pressure we’re under, we’re giving our power away without even noticing. Trusting we have ownership of our personal power is important because it brings courage, confidence, and capacity to chase our goals and create the life that we know we deserve.
And the first step to having more power is to take responsibility for our actions.
Responsibility = Power, which = Freedom.
When we take responsibility for our actions, we are claiming a stake in power. When we blame others, we’re giving our power away, it’s that simple.
When you blame your colleague for your terrible day, you’ve put them on a pedestal, you’ve made them a major player in your life – you’ve given them the power to dictate how you feel. When we do this, we put ourselves in the position of a victim. In that moment there’s a subconscious belief that one of two things is happening.
That by being a victim, we’re either:
1. Going to garner sympathy, or
2. It’s going to excuse us from bad behavior.
Our subconscious believes we’re either going to receive sympathy and others will feel bad for us because we’re complaining about all of the terrible things that are happening in our lives or, we believe it’s going to excuse behaviors like drinking or eating too much or not getting our work done. But the truth is, getting sympathy from others and hoping to have our bad behavior excused is not helping us in at all… it’s actually hurting us.
This doesn’t mean that everything bad in our lives is our fault! There is a difference, however, between accepting blame and taking responsibility. Look at the difference between these two statements:
1. “It’s not my fault that the systems at work are so archaic that I can’t do my job.” OR
2. “It’s my job, it’s my responsibility.”
Which one of these phrases inspires action? Which one inspires excellence and living life as an example of ideals and principles? Conversely, which of these phrases inspires lethargy, procrastination, and doing less than you’re capable of?
Shoving off responsibility and blaming others creates a feeling of stagnation, of not moving forward. It can even elicit fear because you have no say – it happened to you.
While you may be free of the responsibility of the situation, you have zero power. Which is actually better?
Maybe your systems at work ARE terrible and yet you have a choice to give away your power by saying so repeatedly or to become more powerful by taking responsibility. It’s entirely up to you.
And then you have to consider – how does this energy and this habit carry over into the rest of your life? We often practice giving our power away for 40 hours or more every week and then we wonder why we can’t lose 20 pounds – these experiences are not mutually exclusive.
Let me explain.
Let’s say for example, we practice giving our power away all week at work. We complain about others and we don’t take responsibility for anything outside of our limited job description. At the same time we want to overcome a challenging habit or we want to develop excellency somewhere in our lives. Well… we need power to change!
The reality is that our habit has been to give our power away and so our brain defaults to the habit we’ve been cultivating – a habit where everyone else has more power than we do.
So the choice is this:
Do you want to cultivate a habit where you’re powerful and you’re in control of your life or do you want to cultivate a habit where everyone else is?
Taking responsibility for our actions is just the first step to breaking free and when we take responsibility, we realize we’re the only ones responsible for the way our life unfolds.
As a result, something wonderful happens! Waiting for someone to discover us is no longer an option, blaming others and hoping they’ll fix the world’s mess goes away, and procrastination ceases to be an option. Because there’s no one to blame, there’s so much less to complain about and so, instead, we have room think about how grateful we are. We spend our time, instead, cultivating joy, happiness and fulfillment.
Now you might be saying, this all sounds great Grace but I have been blaming everyone my whole life and my mind is riddled with negative thoughts – how do I go about changing this?
Part of the work I do is help people to make this exact shift in their lives. Taking responsibility for our actions is the first step to mental and emotional freedom and I want you to help you find more power and freedom in your life.