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Creating Magic & Mojo Part II

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In Part 1 of this series, we covered the idea of Taking Responsibility For Your Life– a critical foundation for creating Magic and Mojo. I hope you enjoyed reading and TAKING ACTION on the exercises so you have a little more clarity about all that.

Today in Part II we’re going to look at the flipside of that idea:

Knowing What You Are Not Responsible For

In my coaching practice, I often ask clients to make a quick list of things in their life they are not responsible for.  More often than not, they look at me as if I’ve asked them to recite the multiplication tables backwards – they are dumbfounded.  When pressed, they might admit that they are not responsible for, say, the weather or the stock market. 

Because our world puts such emphasis on our ability to control and influence everything around us, coming up with an answer to my question feels like admitting some kind of mortal weakness.

So, I’m going to cut to the chase here and give you some ideas on what you are not responsible for:
1) Traffic – unless you caused the wreck
2) The cleanliness of your grown son’s apartment or bedroom
3) Your teenager’s forgotten homework
4) Your boss’ temper tantrum
5) Anyone’s drinking problem besides your own

You get the idea.  Once you realize all the things you are not responsible for, you will feel a ten-ton brick lift off your shoulders.  However, if you expect those around you to be thrilled with your new lightness, you’ll probably be disappointed.  They’ve all gotten very used to having you carry the load and being able to blame you when things go wrong.  Gently explain to them that their life is their own and they are going to have to learn how to take responsibility for it.  You’ve got all you can do taking responsibility for yourself and your own life.

Easier said than done sometimes, I know.  If you are in deep doo-doo over this one, seek out a professional who can help you work through it.  This shift in thinking can take some time and practice to soak in.  Be patient and be willing – that’s all you need.

Exercises:

1.  List five things you know for certain that you are not responsible for:

2. List five people that you are willing to give up being responsible for:

3. Let’s write out a simple strategy that you can use the next time you feel compelled to take responsibility or someone tries to get you to take responsibility for something that you know is really not yours to take.

  • First, acknowledge to yourself that it is happening. “Oh, look.  Here’s that responsibility thing I learned about.  I’m trying to responsibility/they’re trying to get me to take responsibility for ______________.
  • Then, take a deep breath and choose how you will respond.  If you are just dealing with you, you could say “Well, I am just going to have to let that person be the grown-up he/she is.  My job is to take responsibility for myself.”  Throwing in a walk around the block usually takes the edge off particularly tempting cases. If you are dealing with someone else, you might have to say, very calmly, “No.”  A temper tantrum of some kind could ensue.  That is their problem, too, not yours.  Just stick to your guns.  You are not responsible.  Again, a walk around the block can help you regain your perspective.

I know that sometimes this is much more difficult than this strategy sounds.  Just keep practicing.  You keep getting better at it – I promise.

If you need help crafting a strategy for a particular situation, seek wise counsel – a trusted friend or a skilled professional.

Great work!  Look for small opportunities this week to apply what you have learned in this lesson.

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