Blogpost, self-reliance

Who Is In Charge?

With the New Year right around the corner and thoughts of a restart go through the minds of many people, it is possibly worth the time to put all of these cards on the table. If 2021 is going to be better than 2020, then there needs to be a basic understanding of who is responsible for the varied facets of life. Although the answers to all of these questions will be self-evident, the exercise is important because it releases all of the stories that come along with circumstances.

If you are a student, who is in charge of your grades? Your teacher? She/he is responsible for the delivery of the content but in the end, you are in charge of acquiring it. I won’t go on my grades rant here but remember that every teacher that you have will eventually be gone. They transitory figures in your life who are intended to teach you something. EVEN if they are the worst teacher in the world, it is on you to cope with that situation. It is your knowledge that is at stake.

Who is in charge of your health? Your doctor? You go to see her/him a few times per year. Those visits are checkpoints but in no way do they have the impact that your daily decisions do. A doctor can be part of a health strategy but in the end, you must implement that strategy. If you’re out of shape, overweight, or lethargic, that’s on you. The strategies for correcting most ailments do not require a PhD but rather SADD (Simple Actions Done Daily). If you’re in a health hole, you’re the only one who can dig yourself out. People can help but they cannot drag you along or the results will be short-lived. The reverse is also true. If you are fit, strong and flexible, that’s on you! Pat yourself on the back if you can.

Who is in charge of your mindset? Your psychologist? Your parents? Your ex? While your therapist may be able to help you refocus and create new meaning for your situation, the patterns of thoughts and behaviors are ultimately on you. People from your past have definitely contributed to your present mental framework, however you do not have to hold onto it. Blaming your present on others may feel better than owning it but that makes you a victim. You’re not a victim. You are the captain of your ship.

Who is in charge of your career? Your boss? Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have a boss who is looking out for your best interest in your career, most people are not that lucky. Most bosses are concerned with your performance in your present position. Their job is not to clear a path for your ultimate success. They already do that for themselves.

Who is in charge of your finances? Wall street? The President? Your banker? Your finances are your responsibility. All of these institutions can influence your financial standing but the decisions are on you. If the market has taken a turn for the worse and you take a hit, that’s based on your decisions not the circumstances. When the situation changes (and it always does), it will be the alignment of your sails rather than the direction of the wind that will dictate your course.

None of these ideas is revolutionary or even difficult to understand. However people are going to struggle this year with the circumstances that they encounter. They are going to look around to find an easier scapegoat than themselves. This protective maneuver is an attempt to make the self feel good in the moment. “It’s not my fault because of ….” Feeling good in that moment is robbing them of the power that they have to make the big changes that they desire.

No one is going to scoop you up like Superman and protect you from all of the bad things in the world. It’s on you to save yourself and help the people around you. So as we progress into 2021, get your thumb ready because it’s the appendage that separates us from most other animals. It’s also the device that will separate you from most other people, if you use it often enough when giving responsibility.

Thumbs before fingers people!


Blogpost, self-reliance

When ‘They’ Run Out

We’ve all done it at one time or another. Pointed the finger of blame at someone else. “They” are a convenient target for our disappointment. Not because they particularly do anything wrong but because they’re not us. Whether we were right or wrong to do the pointing is not as important as how often and easily that pointer finger comes out. For many of us, it is out in a flash and ready to go again like Doc Holiday in pistol fight. That quick draw reflex allows for little to no consideration of the common ingredient in every one of our interactions: ourselves.

You are not the center of THE universe but you are the center of YOUR universe. Keeping this in mind is important. At a certain point, the people to blame are either on repeat or they eventually run out. Having them on repeat is dangerous because believe it or not, blaming someone gives them all of the power. Blame puts the responsibility onto the other person and responsibility is everything! As the person at the center of your universe, it’s in your best interest to be able to respond. Sometimes that will be with action but often it will be just a change in perspective.

I’ve give a speech to my players in the past that I call “Victims, Spectators and Players.” Victims have the game happen to them. The ref makes the wrong calls. The coach puts him/her in the wrong position. The weather is too hot to play effectively. They squander away their power to everyone or everything outside of them. Spectators watch what is happening but either cannot or choose not to get fully involved. They wish that they were a player but it might be too hard… they might fail… people might laugh… the pressure might be too much. Players influence the game. They move things forward or defend in times of peril. They either want to be on the ball or supporting their team in some way.

At some point THEY run out: your enemies, your parents, your coaches, your rivals, and so on. When THEY are all gone and you are the only one left to blame, pointing the finger at yourself will be uncomfortable and possibly damaging. At that point, you’ll wish that you’d used your thumb more often. The thumb that points back at you and requires that you take responsibility. Even if it is their fault this time, get in the habit of using your thumb to make yourself a Player in your own life. Otherwise you’ll be majorly disappointed when “THEY” run out.

Have a great day because it’s on you!



Scarred for Life

IMG_0739 (1)On the thumb of my left hand, I have a scar that looks something like a horseshoe.  It is the result of an accident when I was in sixth grade.  My family was putting an addition on our house.  We were not wealthy by any stretch, so we had to do much of the work ourselves.  My father and I were removing a window from the old part of the house.  I’m still not sure what happened but the glass shattered.  In a very lucky instantaneous reaction, I cover my face.  I felt myself get hit, turned and saw blood.

The one sidenote that I must make about this story is that my father had been known to pass out at the sight of blood.  So at that point, I stripped off my t-shirt and started screaming at my father to get away from me.  He thought I was mad at him but then I quickly explained that I was bleeding and I didn’t want him to pass out.  I ran to the front of the house and got my mother who took me to the hospital for 18 stitches.

I am quite literally scarred for life and I couldn’t be happier that I am.  It’s not the accident that I’m happy about.  Given the choice I never would want to have a window shatter on top of me.  However my reaction to the situation is why that memory creates such a positive feeling about that mark.  In a time of crisis, I was able to keep that problem from getting worse by having two people going to the hospital.  I was response-able.

In no way do I think that we should go out looking to accumulate scars.  However there should be no shame in having them either.  They are sign that you were not insulated from life.  Life has edges that can cut.  It’s very common in today’s world to avoid the edges and play it safe.  The problem is that you can’t dull every edge nor anticipate when you’ll get cut.  So what happens to someone who has spent a lifetime avoiding those edges and they mistakenly get cut?  That wound is catastrophic because they’re not ready to be hurt.

Failure, disappointment, upset, breakups, and breakdowns are all examples of the scars of life.  Don’t pursue them but don’t be afraid of them either.  Most of the time they are a reminder of who you have become by fighting through them.

Keep fighting through my friends.