Powerless Victim to Superhero: Taking Responsibility for Your Life

taking responsibility

Life is often complicated, isn’t it? We have A LOT of things to focus on, our jobs, our relationships, our homes, our health, our fun. Close your eyes and think about your life right now. How would you rate how your life is going on a scale of 1 to 10? 1 means nothing is going well for you at the moment. 10 implies everything is humming along as you want it to be. How is everything going for you and what are you taking responsibility for in your life?

Would it be fair to assume that you are likely doing ok in your life? But there is some distance that your life could go to get you to a 10 life?

Lisa felt that same way in my office asking “for my opinion about a situation I have.”

Lisa is a 20-year owner of a successful business and a well-known expert in her field. She has advanced degrees, is well paid, respected by colleagues, loved by friends and family. Yet, there were conditions in her life that weren’t allowing her the meaning and contentment, and frankly, accomplishments that she desired in her life.

A few years earlier Lisa purchased her dream home. The house needed remodeling, and she and her partner began drawing up plans to create the home of their dreams. Then life threw her a few curve balls. One day she came home from work to learn her partner had decided to take his life in a different direction. Then her mother fell ill, and she had to figure out how to arrange for care on the other side of the state. Her father also needed more attention as he aged. In just a few weeks, Lisa’s life went from optimism and possibilities to drudgery and limitations. For the next several years Lisa worked long hours at her business, drove across the state to be with Mom on the weekends, and struggled to maintain her life and commitments.

Lisa is an expert in her field and an innovator, always seeking ways to help her clients in new and better ways. Her years of experience led to a dream of franchising her business, a done-for-you office plan for young professionals in rural areas, who didn’t have access to the same resources she had when starting out. She also had a vision for helping specially-abled children through life transitions and had developed a virtual nanny program. This program's goal was to help children read early and develop a lifelong passion for learning.

As she told me her situation that day in my office, she could hardly stop the frustrated flow of tears. How could she ever hope to achieve her dreams, reach the potential she knew she had when life’s obligations so buried her?

Lisa couldn't figure out what her purpose in life was. She couldn’t see beyond the overwhelming details of every day.

Think about Lisa’s story and write about a similar circumstance you might have in your life where you feel stuck. Maybe you’ve been dreaming about leaving your job and pursuing a whole new career, but you don’t know how to make that leap. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed being single, but you’ve recently been thinking it’s time to find that special relationship. Maybe you have a travel adventure you’ve been dreaming of, but don’t know how to make the finances work.

Answer the questions below (example in italics)
1) What area of your life where you feel stuck; where you haven’t been able to move forward or make a change? Health and Wellness
2) Describe the situation. Think about the rut you are in and why. My weight has been at the same number for over five years. I want to get rid of that spare tire, but nothing I’ve tried has worked.
3) Why haven’t you been able to make this change already? My schedule is too erratic for me to keep to a healthy cooking diet and make regular trips to the gym. Everything I start, some other part of my life gets in the way.

We have a bad habit of complaining about our lives and blaming other people and events for our life circumstances. We choose to do this instead of taking responsibility for our life. It’s normal to think that if someone else did what we want them to, our lives would be so much better. Right?

Lisa complained about her mother living so far away. She blamed her boyfriend for wanting a better life. By complaining about her situation and blaming others, she focused on the problem instead of taking responsibility and seeing new solutions that were available to her.

When we blame others and complain about our circumstances, we replay a scenario where we see ourselves as a victim of what happens to us day after day. While we focus on blaming people and things outside of ourselves for our problems, we avoid seeing how personally taking responsibility might present new solutions.

Have you ever said this about someone else, “why does she keep doing the same things over and over and…

What is the end of that saying?

Right. Expect a different result!

The definition of insanity! We seem to see it in others so quickly when we have the same madness in common with them.

Instead of taking responsibility for our lives, blaming others and complaining about our circumstances comes naturally to us. It’s comfortable. We hear everyone in our society do it, see it on the news and our favorite television program. In fact, it’s part of our lifestyle. Don’t you love to meet your girlfriends for a glass of wine after work and complain about your boss? Don’t you like to meet your buddies for a beer after work and complain about how your wife doesn’t understand you? It feels good to lounge in the comfort of our insanity. Not taking responsibility for our lives - it feels natural, doesn’t it? Taking responsibility for our circumstances isn’t always so easy. It would mean we would have to think and do things differently.

Consider this. Could it be possible that blaming and complaining, and being a victim, actually robs us of the creativity and energy we need to solve our problems and do things differently?

Do you think we are going to make any progress on changing our lives for the better if we keep playing the victim and not taking responsibility for our circumstances?

How are we going to stop making the same mistakes over and over if we reinforce the thinking that has us stuck in the first place?

Or are we stuck with being stuck?

(see next week’s blog for more about turning your Victim into a Superhero!)

Have you ever considered hiring a coach? Tresa Leftenant, author of Reinventing HER, Helping Women Plan, Pursue and Capitalize On Their Next Chapter works with women frustrated with their current life circumstances and want a partner to help reinvent their life to better circumstances. Send an email to tresa@reinventingher.com to see if she is the Life Coach who can help you pursue the life you were born to live.