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When it comes to empowerment, the web is saturated with “can-do” tips and motivation.
And I love them.
But something is missing.
People rarely talk about the downsides, the mistakes, the shortcomings and when they do, it’s often with a prod to “get back up, shake it off, chase your dreams,” etc.
All well and good, but they’re missing one major factor.
They’re all on you.
I know, I know. Your parents may have done a number on you, your boss didn’t give you the raise or promotion you wanted, other people screwed you, yada yada yada.
And sometimes those things are true.
But they never matter and here’s why.
Accepting “fault” means one thing.
If you are at fault, that means you have the power to change things.
If you don’t accept fault, that means you’ve ceded control over you to somebody else.
You have the power to make choices that overcome your parents’ mistakes. You have the power to do a better job to get that promotion, or to go take care of yourself so you’re not reliant on another flawed human being to have such control over your career.
Your future is not controlled by the whims of others, and there are opportunities out there you haven’t even considered yet.
You have the power
If you’ve been here before, you know the purpose of this site is to give you your power back.
And if you’re here for the first time, now you know that too.
You see, it’s terrible when someone or something tries to take your power away from you, to make you feel beholden to circumstances or to another’s prescription for your life.
What is absolutely unconscionable, however, is if you take that power away from yourself and give it to someone/something else.
“Well, I would never do that,” you might be saying to yourself.
Think about it a little harder. Maybe you’re really good at it now, but we’ve all done it.
Something didn’t go the way we wanted it to, or our life wasn’t where we wanted it to be, and we blamed somebody or something else for it.
And they may have deserved some blame too.
But if you want to move forward and get what you want out of life, not only does it not matter if they were to blame, blaming others will prevent you from doing so.
(Keep reading to the end for a real-life example from my own life that shows this to be true.)
It’s you and it’s always been you
So gleefully accept fault.
Fault means that you are responsible.
It’s only when you are responsible that you have the power to change your circumstances.
Didn’t get that promotion?
What could you have done differently? Obviously there was something you didn’t do, right?
And maybe that something is something you need to fix in yourself, or maybe that something is a sign that you’ve allowed yourself into an untenable situation and it’s now time to take that next step into something new.
So, if you didn’t get that promotion, either you need to up your game (likely) or you’ve been given a sign that it’s time to grasp that next opportunity (possible).
Only you will know the answer, but in either case if you do not act, you have allowed others to dictate your future.
You see, if you do not take the opportunity to be responsible for your shortcomings, you give that responsibility to someone else and, in turn, give them power over you.
If you take your opportunity, however, you will instead level up and become the person who is worthy of that promotion or you will take the next step into a new opportunity and prosper there.
Do you see how this works now?
Taking the responsibility always results in leveling up.
Shirking it leaves you under the control of others.
These situations exist for one reason: to expose areas of our lives that need to be shored up or changed in order to prepare us to reach the next level.
Once you see life as a series of opportunities presented to you for your benefit in order to overcome and advance, you will appreciate each new happening with excitement.
If you’re paying attention, every day is an opportunity to graduate to a higher level.
But if you leave your future in the hands of others, you will only go as far as they are willing to take you. And you might be surprised by this, but they are likely much more concerned with themselves than you.
So find your responsibility in everything, good and bad, shore yourself up, and prosper.
A personal example
Want to know how I know what I’m talking about?
Because this happens to me all the time, because I’m paying attention.
Just the other day, I went to the grocery store on my lunch break to pick up lunch for myself.
I went to the cash register, was asked if I wanted a bag for ten cents, and said yes.
It would be a bit of a walk back to work and not having a bag with handles would have made things more difficult.
The cashier forgot to charge me and handed me my food, bagless.
“Can I get a bag?” I politely asked, knowing full well I already said I wanted one. (This happens at this store quite a bit.)
The cashier looked around, realized he did not charge me the obligatory ten cents and said, “I didn’t charge you, maybe I can give you a small bag,” and proceeded to get a tiny bag with no handles that would barely wrap itself around my box.
I asked, “is that going to fit?” instead of the more appropriate “can I get a regular bag with handles?”
The cashier replied “yes it will fit” and proceeded to stuff my box of food into this tiny bag, so instead of carrying a box back to work, now I’m carrying a paper-wrapped box.
Since I am generally an easy-going person and like to find ways to make things work (sometimes an appropriate response, sometimes not), I did not assert myself like I should have and walked away carrying my food in a totally useless paper wrapper.
Walking back to work ( with no utensil because it wouldn’t fit) I was faced with a decision.
I could have spent that time thinking about how this cashier did a bad job, did not listen to the customer, should have charged for a real bag or at the very least provided one sans the ten cents when asked.
And I would have been entirely correct had I thought any of those things.
The alternative was to take the blame myself, even though somebody else screwed up.
Here’s where I prove every point I made earlier.
By taking the blame, I recognized a situation where my desire to get along caused me to not assert myself when I should have. Had I done so, the cashier still would have screwed up, but I would have gotten my bag, which is what I wanted and the screw-up would have had no effect on me.
In other words, even though the cashier was at fault, by taking responsibility on myself it had zero effect on me.
Now imagine this playing out in more impactful scenarios and you see how powerful this is.
Even though this situation was not impactful on the surface, the potential it had to influence my future was enormous.
Remember before when I said that life presents us with a series of opportunities for our benefit when we need them, based on what we need to improve or change in order to overcome and reach the next level?
This situation happened because I needed it to. I needed to work out an issue regarding my assertiveness in a low-stakes situation so I would be prepared and protected in higher-stakes situations.
Life presented me with this opportunity, so I wisely decided to take it, even though I would have been technically correct to place the blame elsewhere.
My training ground for big things took place in a line at the grocery store, over a ten cent bag where no one got hurt and nobody but me even knew the training was going on.
So I walked back to work thinking about how I should have handled that situation and how I would in the future. I mentally upped my own assertiveness so I would not succumb to such a terrible, worthless habit.
A meaningless interaction?
Only if you define it that way. I, however, do not.
This seemingly meaningless interaction will serve me well in my personal life, my relationships, my business, everything. My future growth and success in all of these areas and more has now been supercharged because of this interaction over a measly paper bag, but only because I said…
“It’s all my fault.”
Never dismiss the small happenings in your life. They could be setting you up for huge success later.
But only if you take advantage of them.
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