I once heard that success in life is not measured by what we have accomplished, but by the obstacles that we have had to face…and most importantly, the obstacles we have overcome. I read something similar recently in a book that taught me to assume full responsibility for my life, my circumstances and my troubles; to embrace even the problems in a way that actually makes them dissipate. I’ve written about this before but it seems we forget. When reacting to most stressful situations we first turn to our intellect when we more than likely should be turning to our gut for guidance. We sometimes forget what works because we rely on our rationale instead of our instinct. The particular “prayer” I practice is called H’oponopono where I assume responsibility for whatever is inside of me that is causing the problem I am facing. It’s a lot of responsibility for one little person, but it is liberating. And assuming responsibility for every problem I see is easier when you think of the facts…facts a wise mentor once explained as, “the ONLY person involved in all of your problems is YOU!” What a revelation. It’s a new way of being for me, this responsible party thing, but I can say with confidence that it has contributed to some amazing transformations in my life.
I am writing about responsibility today because the last couple of months have been particularly challenging in my business. I have had to assume responsibility for the success of my state fair and for my situation. Do I really think that I am responsible for its very existence? Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. Do I believe that it is entirely up to me? No, but that doesn’t mean it’s not within my power to make a positive contribution to the outcome. I am not one to take failure sitting down, but I am faced with the possibility of disappointing myself and the people around me if I don’t achieve the results we have all set. Are there factors beyond my control? Yes. Are there a million and one excuses I can recite to “justify” my lack of success? You betcha! But that way of thinking has a zero percent chance of saving a one hundred and four year old tradition on the brink of extinction.
It’s an vulnerable place to sit…in this possibility of failure…but it is almost therapeutic to verbalize it and bring it out of the ranks of denial and into reality. The fact is that I have a choice to make; to sit in this place and wallow or take some heartfelt action to change my circumstances. If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m choosing the latter. The results are not in yet and there is a gamble to some extent, but trying and failing is better than never trying at all.
Let me share with you some history so we can talk about how we get in these places and more importantly, how we get out! Momentum and hype get us there; things start rolling, people have confidence in our abilities and we make big plans. Then somewhere along the way we tired or get behind and eventually get caught up in the drama of the “what if’s.” And then it happens…our what if’s become our realities, and essentially our problems. That’s when we get in over our head, we disregard our gut and we run – WIDE OPEN into some sort of let down; it has happened to us all. What makes these stories successes, however is when we slow down enough to get a glimpse of who we might be blaming for our failure and most importantly, what we might be allowing to control the outcome. When we look…and then assume responsibility for the outcome (whether good or bad), we somehow develop super powers .
I’m not saying that with a blink of an eye and a wiggle of the nose the outcome is instantly reversed, but being a part of the solution in the instant it becomes a problem increases your odds for success by 100%. The next step in H’oponopono is to say “I’m sorry” for my role in the “what’s ifs” that have become realities. Then it teaches us to be grateful for the lesson and for the opportunity to grow. It’s hard to be grateful when staring failure right between its beady little eyes, but it’s imperative if you want to have a chance at success. Remember it’s easy to blame and statistically, it’s even easy to fail but the person who stops blaming and starts assuming responsibility for the issue at hand may also have a hand in its success.
Stop for a minute to think what problems you’re facing. Then observe whether you’re allowing for failure through excuses or blame. Now look a little deeper and ask yourself these three questions:
- Am I perpetuating the problem
- Can I assume responsibility for it
- Even if negative can I take credit in the end
Sometimes we have to take credit (or responsibility) for unfavorable results, but again, assuming responsibility for the problems is the only true way to see it through to success. This may seem like an odd way to approach life and others may say that it’s not your “job” to fix things or affect the outcome. But the bottom line is this: success is there for the taking. The success stories we hear about are not a result of an individual placing blame or accepting their circumstance; they are ones of a character who faces adversity and overcomes it in a way that separates them from the ordinary. They are ones of a simple decision to assume responsibility for the problem by becoming the solution-maker. They are people like us that won’t take failure sitting down. Let’s stand up!
As hard as it is to stand up and take responsibility, especially when you’re fairly certain it should be taken by someone else (and you know who that is), pointing fingers is not going to fix the problem – you have to acknowledge it, find a solution to it, and then figure out how you’re going to keep it from happening again.