In October 2007 I was a mess. I had recently resigned my very public position in a large community organisation. I had made some poor choices and was in a world of pain emotionally. My marriage was hanging by a thread and would soon fail. Most of the people in my world were non-supportive or down right opposed to me. I realised later that I was quite burned out and had not been functioning well for some time.

During all this I found a part-time casual job to pay my basic bills. I decided to register for an outdoor exercise class three times per week and to eat nutritious food. No takeaways. I wanted to look after my body and try to look after my soul. I obtained a referral from my local GP for 10 subsidised sessions with a psychologist to help me process my emotional pain. A month or two later I signed up for a personal development course which was related to life coaching training.

It was the worst time of my life.

Instead of spending Christmas Day miserable and alone that year I decided to help with my sister’s church who were putting on Christmas lunch for the poor in their area. It was a very different Christmas, and I was glad to be serving others who were much worse off than me.

Focus was important.

It was tempting to spend time being angry with people who let me down. I know I had let so many people down. Somehow, I managed to take each day as it came and keep my focus on simple things. Work, eating well, and exercise were the main things. If I tried to wrap my head around what had happened and why, I easily became overwhelmed. Thankfully, I was able to compartmentalise my thinking and just focus on the moment, and what was important for each day. Of course, when I saw someone and they were awkward with me, it was harder. With the help of my psychologist and a couple of friends, I was able to get through that period.

Taking 100 percent responsibility for my life

This came up in the Life coaching course. It was not a totally new idea for me. In fact, all the things I had been doing as outlined above were signs that I was naturally good at taking responsibility. This was something my parents had taught me well in my formative years.

The course was encouraging me to believe that I was 100 percent responsible for EVERYTHING that happened to me.

At that time, I did not feel 100 percent responsible for all that was happening in my life. I could see how others were letting me down. Others had contributed to my current miserable situation. So, I did not quickly agree to this idea. In fact, at first this idea made me angry. However, the more I thought about it, the more empowering this idea became.

The most empowering thought EVER

Even if someone did something nasty to me that caused trouble and over which I had no control, the most empowering way to deal with that is to take responsibility for all the consequences and do my best to make it right or good. The alternative is to be angry, focus on the person who hurt you, and feel like a victim. Even act like a victim. Take revenge. Plot their demise. Be bitter and consumed by that person.

I realised that it is always in my best interests to let go of blame. I cannot always control what happens to me, but I can always control the way I respond. The belief that I am 100 percent responsible for whatever happens to me helps me to take full responsibility. It stops me from ever acting like a victim. It stops me from making excuses for poor performance. It forces me to deal with myself, my emotions, and my relationships in a proactive way.

It even enables me to forgive others and not waste my emotional energy on allowing my anger of the moment to fester into a deep-rooted bitterness which poisons everything.

Taking responsibility helps me to let go and move on

Another belief I choose to hold is that people are always trying to do the best they can with what they have. They may be acting very poorly and causing considerable hurt, but I choose to respond according to my beliefs rather than try to work them out and respond in kind. There is no benefit to me if I try to fix them, get back at them, or stay angry with them. It may be a while before I trust them fully again but that is another conversation about how I relate to the close people in my world. For those acquaintances and colleagues (people outside my inner circle) who BUMP into me in the course of life and cause me pain I choose to let things go and move on. I will take responsibility and move on with my life. Being unforgiving over an offence ties me to that offence in a very unhelpful way. Forgiveness is as much (or more) for my benefit as for the other person. It releases me to move on without wasting my emotional energy.

A radical thought?

For some this may be a radical thought. None of us likes it when something happens that was not our fault. When the other person is wrong. When we are the innocent party who has been wronged. It is easier to take 100 percent responsibility if it is my mistake, my fault. It is much harder to hold and act from this belief when an injustice has been done to me.

I am not saying there is not a place for taking appropriate action against perpetrators of injustice. What I am saying is that the belief that I am 100 percent responsible for everything that happens to me empowers me to let go and make whatever adjustments required to move past whatever has happened. This belief empowers me in a way that brings hope and health to my personal well-being.

Are you carrying the poison of bitterness and anger towards people who have wronged you?


Do you have trouble moving on when things go wrong?


A Business Mentor can help.

If you know you are not doing as well as you would like and the questions above make you a bit vulnerable, I understand. These are important issues to look at and work on.

The truth is we can struggle to do this alone. When you have a big vision, you face bigger challenges. The highs and the lows will be intense. Helping busy people to take 100 percent responsibility for all that is in their world is part of the work I do. It is not always easy for strong proud high achievers to talk about these kinds of matters. Not everyone understands. Not everyone is willing to be real about this stuff.  If you have become snared in issues that are affecting your performance, I’d love to help you. Please do not quit. Don’t just tough it out. It’s time to reach out for a conversation.

If you would like to have a free no obligation conversation about your situation and how I may be able to help you, please click this link.


INTEGRATE: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth | John Drury

Integrate: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle

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