Why your feet are a clue as to where you always want to beFeb 06, 2023
On The Winning Edge programme, we talk about the importance of personal responsibility. It's always a big hitter in terms of both a lightbulb moment, but also kicking many an emotional crutch away - participants find out that with choice comes both the good and the bad outcomes and that it's all on them.
The thoughts we have, produce the emotions we feel and manifest themselves in our actions and behaviours. Repeated behaviours create habits, thus leading to the circumstances and results we ultimately find ourselves in.
Of course, things happen to us in life over which we have absolutely no control and sometimes, we do not even know what to think in order to feel in control of our emotions but over time, we can begin to work through our thoughts and can create a new normal. Going forward, we can choose how we want to think.
The quality of your life is a reflection of the quality of all your past choices, and let’s face it, sometimes, we have the choice between two pretty crappy options, but nevertheless, the choice remains, and we all always behave in a way that is consistent with our emotional needs.
Freedom of choice
Choice is a huge factor in personal responsibility because we will always choose what sits most emotionally comfortable with us – what aligns with our values. And yet, for far too many, their self-talk – the way they speak to themselves or how they describe themselves to others, is full of victim speak. By this, I mean words used such as 'have to', 'should' 'must' and 'got to'; by saying these words, we are demonstrating to others, but far more importantly to ourselves, that we have an external locus of control (as you probably know, 'locum' is the Latin word for 'a particular position or place'). This means we are donating the control of our life to external forces i.e. events and other people.
If we use these victim words, what we're effectively saying is that we have no choice in the matter- as if something or someone is running our lives by default and if we think we feel we haven't got control, then effectively, we haven’t.
By using words such as 'want to', 'choose to' and 'love to', you're acknowledging that you have an internal locus of control and are taking responsibility for your choices. If you develop a strong internal locus of control, what do you stand to gain? Resourcefulness, peace of mind, empowerment, wellbeing, health. Less stress perhaps..?
‘Want to’ is very powerful - when you feel in control you are generally healthier. And ‘Get to’ shifts the dynamic to a place of recognition of what you have in your life – an attitude of gratitude which means you notice more of the good stuff going on. That can only feed a healthy mindset.
We're always exactly where we want to be, doing exactly what we want to do according to our values- what sits most emotionally comfortable with us. If we didn't want to do it in that specific moment, or be in that place at that particular time, we really wouldn't be. We are always doing exactly what we want to do and are always exactly where we want to be. We act in our own best interests, we take the path of least resistance, the easy way out and we always get our own way. It just might not always feel that way.
If you didn’t want to do what you are choosing to do in any given moment, you wouldn’t be doing it; on some level, it is emotionally easier for you. And I use the words ‘easy’ and ‘easier’ to provoke you, to get you to really think about why you do what you choose to do. It is to suit a value that you hold, whether it is subconsciously so or not.
It's what you value
Our values are the very foundation for every single decision we make and thus, we will always choose to do what aligns with them – no more, no less. There is no compromise – we might say there is, but we are still getting our own way because we are still settling on a decision which we are happy with – which sits most emotionally comfortable with us.
For all those who think they have to go to the supermarket every week, for those who think they’ve got to work the extra hours to get a project across the line, if you think you should call Aunt Mabel every weekend even though it’s an effort – you’re lying to yourself – you are doing exactly what you want to do.
If you ever want to know where you want to be, take a look at where your feet are, for they are exactly where you want to be at that moment in time. And as one Winning Edge participant once said, you don't always have to like what you want to do...
That’s powerful personal responsibility.
Because if you’re honest with yourself, if you’re prepared to accept the consequences, you know that you don’t have to do anything. And if the emotional blackmail hand is played- pretending you do things for other people, this about the most dishonest form of behaviour modification you can get yourself into.
Nothing changes if nothing changes
This quote, whether said by Einstein or not, still holds true:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
If you want to be something different, do something different, or have something different, it needs to start with your thinking – the nature of your thoughts needs to change. The quality of thinking that got you here won’t get you there.
You often hear people reflect on their life and say things like: “I always wanted to go to Australia.” Well my answer would be: “No you didn’t, because you didn’t go!” There would then no doubt be a number of reasons proffered to me as to why they didn’t go such as they needed to work to pay the mortgage, they couldn’t take that much time off work, they needed to care for an elderly relative, they’d miss the family too much. All absolutely valid reasons for not going. But those reasons did not stop them from going to Australia – the potential traveller stopped themselves.
Remember- we always behave in a way that is consistent with our emotional needs- in other words, we always choose the option with the consequences that are easiest for us to bear emotionally.
When you view your life through the lens that you get to do things, rather than have to do them, it feels so different. Your attitude and motivation changes. And we don’t always like what we want to do, but we want to do it more than we don’t want to, or else we wouldn’t be doing it.
It's about living your life more consciously – rather than sleepwalking through it, knowing why you choose to do what you want to do.
If you love living the life you have and don’t want anything to change, that’s great- if you know you’ve consciously made that choice. You may well live a wonderful life in a comfortable home, loving family and a wide circle of friends, a secure financial future, regular holidays and everything feels perfect. Why change? No reason to. Unless you do hanker after mixing it up a bit. And if you do, that’s OK too. Work out what it is you want to change by thinking about your values, and thinking about the way you think. Take responsibility for the direction you can take your life in, rather than to be buffeted around by the flippers and springs of circumstances and other people.
Change can be good, change can be a gateway to things you could never have imagined you’d find yourself doing. Challenging yourself to learn and grow will enrich your life.
Dropping the coulda woulda shoulda mindset
This is not a rehearsal, this is it. One life. So, rather than shuffle off at the end and wonder where it all went, take personal responsibility for the choices you make in life. Live your life consciously.
There are multiple benefits to living life consciously:
- Life seems longer
- You generally enjoy better health
- You notice when the roses come out
- You notice when your loved ones do something different
- You feel more in control of the now and the part you play
- You’re in the moment
- You’ve peace of mind
- You know why you’re doing what you’re doing
- You feel empowered and liberated
Are there some people who are where they are more by default than conscious choice, i.e. they have worked in the same place for years, comfortably uncomfortable? Not many young people say to themselves when they’re 18: ‘I hope I’m in a job for years that I don’t much enjoy, in a relationship with a partner who doesn’t understand me, and have children who don’t appreciate me. But for so many people, that kinda happens by default, because they’re not living their life consciously. If people can admit that where they are, is where they’ve got themselves based on past choices and actions, who is the one person that they can trust to get them somewhere else over the next five years? Themselves.
If they blame an external influence such as their parents or the government for example, for where they are, they have to wait for the external influences to change life for the better; are they prepared to wait that long? It’s great when kids get this, and they learn that they are running their lives.
So, we need to think about what we’re thinking
We of course do sometimes make decisions that we later regret or feel guilty about. I bet if most people cast their mind back two, five, ten or twenty years to a choice they made, something they did or said, they still get a wince of guilt about it. However, if you are certain that the person you’ve grown and developed into wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes as the person you were then, then stop beating yourself up with guilt because you are condemning an innocent person. Take full responsibility for the act, feel genuine remorse, learn from it and let it go. For you can never grow into the full potential you have as a human being whilst you are stuck with a past event that you can’t forgive yourself for.
So, let’s get this straight…
You’ve never done anything for anyone but yourself.
You are always exactly where you want to be, doing what you want to do.
And every decision you’ve ever made was the right one for you emotionally at the time you made it.
Intellectually we can get it, emotional acceptance and application on a day-to-day basis is slightly more challenging… Something to think about for the week ahead eh?!
Do you want different for yourself but are not sure what that is, let alone how to achieve it?
The Mindset Coaching Membership can help you to understand the tools and strategies needed to help you to figure out what your next chapter might be and how you create it for yourself. With Masterclass Teachings + Coaching + Accountability, we will help you to create the future you want. Find out more here.
Follow us on LinkedIn
Follow us on Instagram
Supercharge your mindset with our Mindset Blog...
We do not SPAM and we will never sell your information, for any reason.