Personal responsibility!

I am listening to Tony Robbin’s book Unshakable on my morning walks and was struck by a comment that was made. Most things that happen in life are a direct result of a decision we make. In the book they were referring to investing in the stock market and the importance of understanding that “the market” never took a dime from anyone. Whether you make money or whether you lose money, it is as a direct result from a decision you made.  Why this seems to be such a hard thing in life for people to grasp is beyond me – but I do think the world would be an infinitely better place if everyone took personal responsibility for their actions.

This is so true in the workplace as well. While yes, there are good employers and bad employers, and there are good bosses and bad bosses, and there are even good co-workers and bad ones, ultimately, it’s a choice we make to be wherever we are. Have you ever had a friend that was in a toxic relationship, and you often thought to yourself “why don’t they just leave?!” It’s no different at work. While we haven’t all had the blessing of making our dreams a reality, we do absolutely have control of our lives and it’s just a matter of learning to take back that control.

Now clearly this is much easier said than done, however we are blessed today to be living in an age where the resources available to us seem almost infinite. Sure – opportunities tend to come to those blessed to have been raised in the “right” zip code but that absolutely doesn’t mean that you can’t “change the stars!” I get goosebumps every time I think of the scene from the movie A Knights Tale where the father tells the young son, in response to the question “can someone really change the stars” – the fathers response is “yes William, if someone believes enough, you can do anything!”

So along the lines of always wanting to be offering solutions for the challenges I raise, here are some thoughts of things you could do to help guide you and/or assist in figuring out just how to make those decisions that seem so scary, but in the back of your mind you know need to be made.

There are many folks out there offering help and support for those interested. While many of them charge what seems like exorbitant prices to take advantage of their wisdom, there are a ton of free resources out there for all to use.

YouTube! – probably one of the most incredible resources available to us today, and if you haven’t yet figured this out, now’s your chance! You can learn almost anything on YouTube from quantum physics to sewing a button on your dress or shirt. Both of my kids learned to play the piano from YouTube (amongst other things), and it is also a great resource for inspiration. You simply have to ask.

Ted Talks! – I know I mention these a lot but I also know there are many folks out there who have still yet to discover the incredible depth of knowledge and inspiration available through this wonderful venue. AND most of the folks I’ll mention below, who have had great influence on who I am, all have done Ted Talks at one time or another.

Inspirational Leaders! – there are so many folks who market themselves as inspirational or motivational speakers. There is a very simple way, however, to help distinguish between those who are just OK (or mediocre) from those who truly rise above the crowd – and that is… if they are telling you, in no uncertain terms, that they are inspirational and motivational and come check them out, it’s worth thinking twice. In my experience, the folks I want to learn from are those who aren’t telling me how great they are, but are showing me through their actions. These folks also tend to have raving fans of their work helping guide people to them.

Here’s a list of my current favorites – all of whom, I believe, have great wisdom to impart, and will absolutely help you clarify not only the importance of personal accountability, but can also help you lay out a path of how to get there!

  • Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary Vee) – Gary V is most definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. For starters, he is a fast talker with a pretty rough use of language (*@#$%!!!) That said – if you can get beyond that, he’s an incredible source of inspiration and ideas, and has an appeal for almost everyone, from young millennials just starting out – to the boomers and GenX’ers who are looking to course correct, or even start over.
  • Tony Robbins – for anyone who has yet to experience Tony Robbins, I’d recommend watching the Netflix documentary “I am not your guru!” Tony is indeed someone whose enthusiasm and inspiration are infectious, and there are many ways to experience this. He does shorter weekend workshops that while they are still 4 days in length, are considerably more affordable (we went to a UPW event for about $500/ticket). Tony has also written many books and has many interviews posted online as well.
  • Simon Sinek – I discovered Simon Sinek in the last few years on my constant quest to always be a better leader. Simon has one of the most widely viewed Ted Talks, that has become almost a business legend, called Start With Why. He also published a short illustrated book in the last year or so, called Together is Better, of which I have purchased about 50 copies and counting. I give it to all my co-workers, teammates and employees, it is that good!

I have so much more to say on this subject but will leave you with a quote attributed to an old Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” 

So what’s stopping you?


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