I have been thinking and coaching a lot around the area of responsibility this month. I think I was inspired by a fantastic coach called Steve Chandler (and his idea of the OWNER VS VICTIM mentality) and many other thinkers I have been listening to and reading.
Basically no one can make you feel anyway you do not want to. You are in control of how you react. Always. If you are sad, angry or confused it is down to you to own it fully as a choice you are making. Owning your life.
If I was to leave a shoe in the middle of the floor, and 9 people walk past, notice the shoe and don’t care about it and carry on with their day. However person number 10 walks past and has had problems at home with their partner leaving things around the floor. In fact they once tripped over a shoe on the floor and broke a finger when they were younger. Their mind goes back to these events and now they fly into a rage! They scream, they shout and they attack.
Now it had nothing to do with the shoe, 9 other people walked past the same shoe and nothing! So it isn’t about the shoe, but rather that person brought all of their history, views, opinions and beliefs and they chose to react in this way.
This is what happens every single time we have an interaction or a strong emotion, we approach with our own lens, made from all our old baggage, views, opinions and beliefs and from that we decide how we react.
But in that lies the point. We all DECIDE! The great myth is that we are powerless and it’s all fate blah blah blah. No, in each moment we make a choice on how to react.
It was a particularly tough pill for me to swallow, accepting this theory.
I was raised in the Church of England and went to a catholic school, with a catholic mother and Gran so I have been well versed in smothering myself with guilt. So if I were to actually sit down and truly accept responsibility for everything that has happened in my life, the good and more terrifyingly….the bad, then I would surely go to some kind of emotional Guantanamo bay!
Maybe a tad dramatic but still, I had been living under a toxic tar of shame. I hope I am a good man now but in the past I was someone I am not proud of. I had a list of sins that if written down would need one of those big comedy scrolls that keeps rolling and is super long, except instead of a funny joke it's just loads of horrid things I wish I hadn’t done.
Now I live a far less religious life but let me tell you that guilt doesn't leave easily.
However, I was committed to this. I have been on a journey for years of mastering the self and my relationship with me and I felt in my stomach that this was a key part.
So I took responsibility. I sat and I acknowledged that I, Phil Airson, am responsible for all of my past, current and future deeds, actions and responses.
…..I waited… I don’t know what I expected. Truthfully I thought I would either burst into flames or some kind of mind police would drag me away at my ‘guilty’ claim.
It didn’t happen, but what did was just as unbelievable.
I felt the shame, this toxic waste that I had been slugging around with me for 15 plus years started to melt away.
By taking true ownership of my actions, responses and everything, I had powerfully said to the world “this is me, all of it”
When I started showing up to conversations I had a powerful new confidence, I had stopped worrying what other people thought, because this was me and I accepted that. Whatever their judgements I didn’t care because I knew me, I accepted and owned who I was.
Yeah I own that I have done a lot of stuff I am not proud of but I did it, it happened, I was emotionally immature and making bad choices but no excuses, I did it, I am sorry, I own it.
What matters now is learning from that litany of trash mistakes and living a life trying to be a better man each and every day and hopefully helping others too.
Are you ready to take ownership of your life today? I mean REALLY take responsibility for all the things you have done. All the ways you can react in your day?
If you own it, you can make the choice right now to go into every interaction you have today knowing the outcome is you walking away content, happy and peaceful OR you can choose to know each one will end in screaming, hurt and heartache.
Either way as long as you acknowledge that you CHOSE it to be this way. You can start living a really powerful life.