Episode 2 | (00:00):
Hey there! Today we're going to talk about a concept that's crazy important for taking control of your life so you can go after your dreams and your goals without hesitation. It will empower you to live your second half of life to the fullest, and let you truly enjoy this little adventure that we're calling midlife. You ready? Let's do this.
Okay, so before we get started, I wanted to make sure you got your free gift from me. It’s 11 Bucket List Ideas For An Action-Packed Retirement, so whether you're retired or you're just headed for it, you'll get some great ideas for your bucket list. And you know what? Who says our bucket list is just for retirement? This will give you some great ideas, get your imagination going so you can just go start going after that list now. Go to EasyAgingExpert.com, and you will find a link in the show notes today.
I'm going to ask you to think about something. Do you remember when you were little and your mom called you in “that tone?” You know, the tone I'm talking about, the tone that meant you were in trouble with something again? Well, I heard that tone a lot when I was growing up and whenever I heard my mom use that tone, my first response was, of course, “I didn’t do it!”
It didn’t matter what it was. I didn't do it. It was always my first line of defense, and sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't but either way, not taking responsibility seemed to make a lot of sense in my little girl brain.
So as I grew up, I realized I was supposed to be taking responsibility for things in my life. Yep, now you're a grown up, but let me tell you, I didn't like it. I did not like that at all. So I rebelled. I played the blame game as much and as frequently as I could. For many, many years of my life, I did that. I thought that by deflecting and shifting the blame, I would feel more powerful, and I wouldn't be shamed or I wouldn't feel guilty for something that I did or didn't do.
Then one day, I finally realized how accepting responsibility gave me power instead of taking it away from me.
And when I understood that, things in my life started falling into place quite nicely. So this is a really important concept to understand. It's important to understand how empowering taking responsibility can be in your life. And basically we call that personal responsibility. So what is it?
Personal responsibility is how you choose to respond to circumstances and the people around you. It means you're accepting that you have a choice on how to react, and basically it means you're accountable for your actions, any action that is within your control. And that includes the words you say, the way you behave and your emotions, how you're managing your emotions.
The basis of personal responsibility is understanding and accepting that you have a choice. Even if things feel out of control, even if the world's going crazy around you — yes, thank you, pandemic — even when things are all over the place, you still get to choose how you manage your emotions, how you manage your behavior and how you manage your words, and being able to choose puts you in control.
No matter what, personal responsibility also gives you the ability to create your life circumstances. You are a creative being. I know, I can hear you saying, “Well, no, Michelle, I don't have a creative bone in my body.” Alright, even if you think that, I'm here to tell you, you were made to be a creative being. That's why we all have the ability to create our own realities.
Think about this: If you have the ability to create a situation, you also have the ability to change the situation. Let me give you a simple example, okay?
Let's say you only eat fast food, you don't exercise and you spend all your spare time watching TV or playing video games. More than likely you’re setting yourself up for some serious health issues down the road, right? I mean, this isn't the healthiest lifestyle.
But then again, if you're on the opposite end of the spectrum and you eat clean, you're working out regularly and you exercise your brain by reading books and doing crossword puzzles and that type of stuff.
When you do this, you will more than likely set yourself up for good health. Those are two strong examples about the choices you're making. Either way, you have the power to create both situations. You are in control of all of it.
Here is the very best part of this: When you understand that if you created the situation, you can change the situation. Even if you're on the couch-potato track of life, you can decide right now to change your ways and change your life in this very moment. I mean, you can make a 180-degree turn right after this podcast is finished, if that's what you want, because you have the control. And that's the empowering part of personal responsibility. I mean, this was such a huge aha moment for me when I realized, “Well, if I created it, I can change it,” you know. I quit blaming external sources.
I quit playing the victim. I stopped being so defensive and snarky. I was so snarky and sarcastic so I could protect myself. “Hey, if I get to you before you get to me, I win, right?"
When you realize that you're in control of your own response, there's no reason to get into blame or shame or guilt or do any of that stuff anymore, and it gives you the upper hand. With one decision, you can start over so you can create what you really and truly want at this point in your life.
Personal responsibility gives you choice so you can control what is in your realm of control, and it also lets you create your circumstances. If you created them, you can change them, and that's a very empowering idea, right? I'll tell you what personal responsibility is not.
It is not worrying about what “they” think of you. You can't see me now, but I'm doing my little air quote signs, what “they” think of you. What other people think of you is on them, it's not on you. And a lot of times it really doesn't have anything to do with you.
I know that's a hard idea to grasp onto sometimes because when people are close to you, when your family and your friends, the people you love the most, the people you care about the most, when their opinion is, honestly, inflicting itself upon your life, it’s frustrating. It is hard. Let me ask you a question: Are you going to let what other people think of you stop you from doing what you know you should be doing? Let me give you an example.
In 1999, I decided to start my own business.
I mean, honestly, I had had it with being an employee. You know, it has been said that employees don't leave their jobs, they leave their bosses and personally, I can attest to that fact 100%. Because I got so tired of working for people who didn't even seem to have the first clue about how to run a business or how to manage their staff. So I was thinking, “Well, if that's a prerequisite, I can do that.” I mean, I could walk around clueless just as well as the next guy, right? So I went out on my own.
My first order of business was that I went and bought my very first desktop. It was a Gateway. Do you remember Gateway Computers, the ones that look like the cute little black and white cows? Yeah, so that was my very first desktop. I bought that and a fax machine.
I already had my phone — a landline, thank you very much. I had no idea what was going to happen. I had no clue what was supposed to happen, and I didn't even know what shouldn't be happening, I had no idea! I was just so excited about being out on my own.
I didn't care what people thought. I mean, granted my family and my friends, they brought up their concerns and yes, I listened politely, but I knew this was the right move for me. They were experiencing a lot of trepidation, a lot of fear about what was in store for me. I get it. I totally get it. I mean, who would leave a comfortable job with decent benefits and decent pay and a couple of weeks of vacation? What kind of crazy person would do that? And just step out on their own with no security, no net, no place to land and absolutely nothing to fall back on if this didn’t work out.
Where I saw relief from the status quo, they only saw risk. But for me, I felt like staying in the situation would be the riskier choice... to continue being frustrated and annoyed and unhappy and stressed out. That was a bigger risk for me than stepping out. I knew that if it didn't work out, I could always go back and get a regular job.
I made a decision to change my life in that moment, but I had no idea it would be one of the most successful decisions I've ever made in my entire life. Because now I've been in business for over 20 years.
Think about this: If I had been “reasonable,” if I had done the “practical” thing, if I had listened to the opinions and the fears of other people, I would have never discovered that I was really, really good at running a business, at marketing myself, at networking and all that comes along with the business side of things.
I had no idea I was good at that. And knowing that made me strong, it made me confident because I knew I was going to be okay, no matter what.
And now today, risks don’t really scare me that much. Granted, I'm not jumping out in front of moving cars, but sometimes taking a calculated risk is exactly what you need to get out of your slump and get you moving toward something that truly makes your heart sing. You cannot let other people decide what you're going to do in your life for one reason: That's because it's your life, and you get to choose. You decide what works for you, and you take action on that.
Even if you ask someone, “What would you do? If you were in this situation, what would you do if you were in my shoes?” Their answer isn't going to be completely accurate, no matter how hard they try, because they're answering from what they would do.
They're answering from their experience, from their perspective. I'm all for listening to mentors and people you trust and all that and by all means, get those opinions. But just remember in the back of your mind that it's still your final decision. If you're asking that question, it’s to get some general new perspective or something. But know that it's still your life, and you're the one that gets to make the choice.
Okay, so to summarize this: Personal responsibility is how you choose to respond to your circumstances and the people around you. It is crazy empowering because it helps you realize if you have the ability to create a situation, you also have the ability to change it. And personal responsibility is not worrying about what other people think of you.
Oh my goodness, that's such a hard thing. Letting go of what other people think is probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.
This is a huge concept to internalize but it's really important for you to understand it because once you do, you're going to stop playing the victim. You're going to get off that blame, shame and guilt train, and you're going to start taking charge and taking control of your own life.
So how do you go about doing this? Well, think about what you've been doing. Start noticing your own behavior, see where you do and don't take responsibility for what you control.
And I don't mean to alarm you, and I know this might be a news flash to some of you, but you can't control the world. I know it makes me sad too, because I want to control everything and everybody. Well, I used to anyway, but you can only control your own stuff, your own emotions, your own words and your own behavior.
And here's the positive of not trying to control everything and everybody: you're not nearly as exhausted. I mean, seriously, I need fewer naps now than I did when I was younger because I'm not trying to grab on and just drive things through to get the result that I want. So it's a lot easier.
Life is a lot simpler now and a lot more peaceful than ever before. When you start taking personal responsibility for things, you can start taking charge of your life immediately. You can start infusing the powerless parts of your life with a new level of strength and authority. And you can start looking at things in a whole new way. You'll start seeing new possibilities for yourself.
Best of all, you can design the life you want, and you can step into it with great confidence because it's your life and you get to choose what you create.
So that's it for today, don't forget to grab your free gift, 11 Bucket List Ideas. Just go to EasyAgingExpert.com. There is a link for you in the show notes. So thank you for spending some time with me today, and until next time, have a refreshing and peaceful day.