1:25 Three Reasons You Might Not Be Accepting Personal Responsibility
19:39 The Importance of Personal Responsibility with Rachel Hollis
33:12 Encouragement to Choose Could Over Should
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But let’s be real: So often we feel like we actually don’t have any control at all.
We feel like we’re tossed left and right by the seasons of life and the people in our life.
You know what, though? We actually have more control than we think we do.
Your situation right now might be really hard—maybe it’s harder than anything you or I have ever been through. But here’s the great news: That’s not your only story, and it’s certainly not the end of your story.
If you’ve ever seen the hit ABC show Shark Tank, you know the story of how Daymond John built his clothing company, FUBU, from nothing.
Daymond was raised by a single mother. When he was 10, he started working to help his mom make ends meet. The hip-hop movement inspired him to start a clothing line, so he started sewing sweat shirts and hats in his mother’s living room. (By the way, when he first officially launched his clothing company, he was still working as a server at Red Lobster!)
Today, FUBU has brought in more than six billion dollars in global sales.1
Let’s look at one more example: Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx. (Who else is grateful for this shapewear brand?)
Nobody handed Sara her fame and fortune on a silver platter. In fact, she failed the LSAT twice, worked as a chipmunk character at Disney World, and even spent seven years selling fax machines door to door before she ever started working on her idea for Spanx. When she pitched the idea for Spanx, she was met with rejection after rejection, until finally she convinced one manufacturing company to produce her product.
Today, Sara is one of America’s richest self-made women.2
Do you know what stories like those reveal to me? We often fall into the trap of believing our situation is impossible to climb out of. Meanwhile, others—like Daymond and Sara—are refusing to be defined by their circumstances. Instead, they’re taking control of their lives and changing the outcome.
The truth is, you have control in the good and the bad times. The way you view your life—and your belief about the amount of control you have—will have a major impact on how your life turns out, whether you reach your goals, and how your story unfolds.
Your ability to take control of your life is connected to the amount of personal responsibility you’re willing to take. It’s also connected to the amount of determination you choose to have in your life. The important thing to note here is that taking personal responsibility for your life is more dependent on you, your choices, your beliefs and your actions than anything else going on around you.
Whatever your situation, I know it’s real. I’m not discounting what you’re going through—I know your situation is a factor in your ability to be successful. But I also believe your circumstances should not define you. Because there is a person who can change circumstances, who can fix broken things, and who can choose something different—and that person is you.
That’s why today, I want to talk about three major reasons we often feel like we’re not in control of our lives.
There are three different obstacles I’ve faced in my life—and seen other women face in theirs—that could have easily led me to believe I didn’t have the ability to control my destiny. Let’s walk through each and talk about how we can overcome them moving forward.
A victim mentality is all about your beliefs. You don’t believe you have any control of your situation, so you sit back, wait and pout. You have a pity party, and you invite everyone else to join.
When you have a victim mentality, it’s always someone else’s fault that you can’t have what you want, do what you want, or be who you want to be. It’s never your fault.
This victim mentality is really common and can come from many outside sources, like teachers, parents or the culture around you. But you’re not born with the idea that you’re not in control of your life—this belief is learned.
That’s why I want to encourage you to change your attitude. Because guess what? Your belief system is just that—it’s yours. You get to choose what you believe.
If you start looking for examples of optimism, perseverance, persistence and determination, I’m willing to bet you’ll find them—because they’re out there.
No one is going to change your attitude for you—you have to do it. You can choose to believe something better than what you were raised to believe. You can choose to believe something different than what you’re surrounded by every day. You can choose to change your attitude and take control of your life.
As women, we’re experts when it comes to running ourselves ragged. We go nonstop, 24 hours a day. We do whatever it takes to be a great mom, wife, business owner, church member, and then some.
And because we’re doing all the things, we’re constantly tired.
That reminds me of a really challenging season I went through in the fall of 2017. I was still adjusting to being a mom of two while launching my new book and traveling a ton for speaking engagements.
I remember coming home one day and telling my husband, “I don’t know why I do this. I don’t have to do this.” And I’ll never forget what my husband said in response: “Yes, you do know why you do this. You know about the lives that are being changed and how God is using you. You’re just tired.”
There was such wisdom in his words—he was spot on. The reality is, I love my work! But in that moment, I didn’t feel in control because I was so tired. I was moving nonstop and feeling like a passive participant in my life. All along, there was one simple solution: rest.
This is one of the hardest obstacles to face because it’s often disguised by holiness.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a woman tell me she was not taking action on something because she was waiting on God. And you know how I always respond? I tell them, “God can steer a moving vehicle. He cannot steer a stalled car.”
If you’re praying and asking God to direct you, as you’re walking, He will direct you.
Instead of waiting for a lightning bolt from the sky or for an angel to appear in your living room, why don’t you get up and do something? Sometimes we sit around under this banner of holiness while waiting our life away for God to show up. All the while, God is there telling you to get moving! He’s attracted to activity. He will show you the next step after you take the first step.
Related: Ep 72: Push Forward and Get Unstuck
This doesn’t mean you abandon God and move ahead of His plans. But God does give us free will and calls us all to take personal responsibility for our lives—we are stewards, after all.
If you look at the parable of the talents in the Bible (Matthew 25:14–30), you read that God honors active participants in this life, not passive ones. So get moving, sister!
What brave step—or even baby step—of faith can you take today? What knowledge do you already have that can inform your decisions today? Stop procrastinating! There is certainly wisdom in waiting sometimes, but don’t use waiting as an excuse to do nothing.
We are partners with God in this life on Earth, and you have more control than you think you do. I don’t know which one of these obstacles you struggle with the most—maybe it’s a combination of all three like it has been for me—but I hope this message encourages you.
It’s just like my friend Christine Cain says, “I’m living proof that you can start bad and finish good.”
I’m so excited to have my good friend Rachel Hollis on the show today! She’s a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a motivational speaker, the host of the Rise and Rise Together podcasts, and the founder and CCO of The Hollis Company.
On this episode, Rachel and I talk about:
“I should do that…”
All day long, I tell myself about all the things I should be doing. But you know what I realized recently? Almost all my should’s started as could’s.
My ideas begin as creative, fun, exciting dreams—like I could make handmade invitations for Carter’s birthday party, or I could get these party favors and decorations. But once the could’s make it onto my to-do list, they instantly become should’s.
Before I know it, it’s been weeks or months, and I’m still holding my feet to the fire of this long list of should’s. There I stand with a list of 75 things I now feel like I have to do. They’re no longer optional. They’re no longer creative options that could be fun. They become laws that I now have to follow. When in actuality, I came up with that list. That list started as an idea in my head, and no one is holding me to that list but me.
And yet we do this to ourselves all the time, don’t we? The high expectations start and end with us. When, in reality, other than paying taxes and feeding your family, there are very few things in life you have to do.
Related: 3 Quick Steps to Reduce Stress
You don’t have to go all out for your child’s party! Did you know that? You don’t have to, but you tell yourself all day, every day, that you do. The words we use are exhausting—they’re words of bondage.
I just want to remind you: The person in control of your life, your to-do list, your tasks and your responsibilities is you. You get a choice in what you do and what you don’t do. You get to choose what is a could and what is a should.
Maybe it’s as simple as changing your words. Instead of telling yourself all day long that you should do something, what if you just changed it back to could?
A could gives you options. A should has burden tied to it.