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How Do You Live in Alignment with Your Commitments?

Monday, 28th September 2009

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A question that often comes up when we talk about taking responsibility for your life is how do we keep our commitments? According to the self-improvement company Growth Climate, a lie is any attempt to deceive. If this is the case, then even if you say yes to something without the intention of doing it, or if you said yes then just don’t do it, you are deceiving others, and often times (and more importantly) yourself.

Am I doomed to be a liar?

No.

Steps to Being in Alignment with Your Commitment

1.    Only say yes to things you intend to do. Sounds easy, but often times people say they will do something, while actually thinking maybe, just maybe they will, but knowing full well when it comes to the day of reckoning they can pull out one of their handy excuses or rationalizations.

  • “I didn’t have time.”
  • “I forgot.”
  • ”I didn’t know what you meant …”

2.    Only say yes to things that are in alignment with your values. This is common sense, but often people will say yes to people in leadership or friends, not wanting to hurt feelings, only to have the regret war rage inside of them later.

3.    Release yourself from the obligation. Okay, your committed to something, and you have no plans to do what you said what you said you’d do. It’s time to do the mature thing and tell the person that you committed to that you won’t fulfill that commitment.
Pleasant? Well no. But it is a whole lot easier than being held captive by guilt for years knowing you didn’t honor your word. Worse yet, we could suffer the consequences of being a person that can’t be trusted.

Taking responsibility for your actions and stopping the blaming, shaming, and rationalizing is the number one thing that you can do to transform your life from blah to the life you are capable of living. Making this transformation is an absolutely necessary skill that you must have if you are going to maintain long time royalty of living.

I would love to hear how you are going to take more responsibility today!

3 Ways to Avoid Responsibility

Monday, 21st September 2009

    1.    Rationalization (Ration Lies) What exactly is rationalizing? Again I love Webster’s definition: “to cause something to seem reasonable.” Doesn’t that fit perfectly? Rationalizing is when you make excuses for why you did what you did. You can often discover when you are doing this when you hear, “I would have been successful, but she or he …” Or because of, “But that’s not fair.”
I am sure you heard a time or two arguments against the doctors and nutritionists that pizza is a healthy food. After all, it has every food group.

    ◦    Cheese-dairy

    ◦    Crust-grains

    ◦    Pepperoni-meat

    ◦    Peppers/pineapple-veggies/fruit

    2.    When a person is arguing that pizza is healthy, they are trying to make it “seem reasonable.” Most of the time neither the persuader nor the recipient take this seriously. But there are other times in our lives when rationalizing is used quite seriously, and the person making the excuses doesn’t realize the damage they are causing themselves.
They are literally handing over their power of taking charge of their lives, giving it away to circumstances or to another person’ actions. A hint that you are slipping into rationalization is if you are putting the word “because” in your sentences.

    3.    Blame “The devil made me do it,” is an overused phrase that many have used in an attempt to pass on their accountability. “Blame” is where you attribute responsibility that is clearly yours onto someone else. Blame is a common behavior and has been around at least as long as Adam claimed it was Eve’s fault that he ate the apple.
A hint to know if you are falling in this pattern is if blame is focused on other people.

    4.    Shame Another frequent behavior is to take on too much responsibility or too little. The rationalizers and blamers are guilty of not taking on enough responsibility. The shamers have the opposite problem. Shamers not only take on their own portion, but other persons’ portions of responsibility as well.
You know you are dealing with shame when an inappropriate amount of responsibility is being taken on, and you are blaming yourself.
Common practices:
“I should have …”
“If only I would have …”
“Why didn’t I …?”
“I could have …”
The old “Coulda, shoulda, whoulda.”

      Take Charge of Your Life

      Monday, 14th September 2009
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      Idaho summers are blessed with warm sun, purple mountains dotting the surrounding, lush vegetation, and canals with gently flowing water. Despite the beauty or niceness of the weather, as a teenager liking adrenalin rushes, I had grown bored.

      Teasing my boyfriend, Brett, shooting hoops with him, and rocking out to Guns and Roses had lost its juice. As I stewed on the boredom and wondered how to shake things up, I climbed into the back bed of Brett’s old white Ford truck.

      “Go,” I shouted at him as he started the truck.

      “Are you sure?”

      I was.

      As he drove over the black asphalt, I watched the road pass me by. He was driving extremely slow. I must have been making him nervous as I inched closer to the edge of the tailgate. He had told me many times that I was unpredictable.

      Seeing how slow we were moving, I suddenly had an idea. I called to him, “I could jump this. I bet I’d be fine.”

      “Don’t,” he yelled back.

      I leapt in the air.

      It didn’t take long for me to tumble on the road, screaming about the chipped rocks that embedded themselves into my knee.

      Soon Brett was at my side to examine the injury. Through my tears, I looked at him and asked, “Why did you make me do that?”

      How many of us are like that … do something stupid, something that we know deep down inside we shouldn’t do, do it anyway, get hurt, then look around for someone else to blame?

      Please tell me that I am not the only one. I know through the people I work with that this is a common experience in the corporate world. Often times people engage in the process of what I call, Passing the Hot Potato. This game thrives especially well in environments where the risk to fail is big. Passing the Hot Potato can become a perfect act, and those who are best gifted at this often win. An excellent example of this is found in episodes of the well-known TV show The Apprentice.

      In season 7, Celebrity Apprentice Ambrosia bragged to the camera about her craftiness in taking others down with her. She used blaming others as a modus operandi to staying alive.

      Ambrosia might have enjoyed the temporary rewards of blaming others like I did. My reward, I got a laugh from Brett. Ambrosia got to stay on the show longer, extended fame, and received pleasure from her cruelty.
      But there are consequences. She was very unliked for her lack of morals. This has to grate on anyone in their quiet reflective times. Whereas if you are unliked for staying true to your principles, it is much easier to be with yourself.

      If I kept up blaming others for my impulsive actions, I would run the risk of further injuring myself. Did I suffer any long-term consequences for being a truck jumper? Well … now as an adult I have suffered injuries and complications in my knee. Is that a direct result of jumping from the truck? That hasn’t been determined, but it would seem more than probable that the past injury contributed to the weakness in my knee, possibly complicating my later injuries.

      What steps can we take to step it up in our life and not be guilty of blaming? Oh, oh, oh, I have the answer. You might think this sounds stupid, or obvious, but trust me this is effective, if you give it a try. Simply take responsibility for your life.

      I love to hear how you take responsibility or how you don’t.

      Deactivate Your Past

      Monday, 7th September 2009

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      Have you ever seen someone laughing and having a good time then suddenly he or she bursts into tears? How about someone who has gone seemingly instantaneously from being mellow and happy to yelling and screaming? If you have, you may have been witnessing someone going through a reaction sequence. Sometimes people think those who act this way are crazy. It is helpful to realize what the behavior is and why the person is struggling. Perhaps then your judgments won’t be so harsh. All of us have experienced a quick change of emotion at one time or another—or a reaction sequence.

      Reaction Sequence Roadmap

      A reaction sequence begins with a stimulus and ends with a response. Someone experiencing a reaction sequence can shift from one emotional state to another in a short period of time. As an example, in a divorce many people develop intense negative emotions toward their spouse (or ex-spouse). Oftentimes these people begin to run the gamut of emotions, from concern to real apprehension or hatred whenever their ex is around. These feelings can be triggered by simple things such as the sound of an ex-spouse’s car pulling into the driveway, hearing that particular voice on the other end of the phone, seeing his or her number on the caller ID, or a pending court date. Since contact is a common experience during the divorce proceedings, sometimes it is hard to avoid the reaction sequence.

      Here’s an example of how a reaction sequence could work in a divorce situation:

      1. Stimulus—You see your ex-spouse’s phone number on your caller ID.
      2. Emotion—Instant apprehension or a wave of anger. All of us have experienced at one time or another quick change of emotion—or a reaction sequence.
      3. Thought—What does he/she want from me this time?
      4. Chemical Release—Your body floods with adrenaline, preparing you for a pending disagreement or fight.
      5. Body Language—You become tense and rigid.
      6. Thought—You begin to wonder if this situation will ever end.
      7. Hypothesis—I wonder if my ex-spouse will ever stop hurting me.
      8. Belief—My ex-spouse is going to hurt me no matter what I do.
      9. Response—I automatically become anxious and begin to panic.

      Once a reaction sequence develops, it can take less than one second to go through the whole process. How does it happen so fast? Your mind remembers its experiences, both positive and negative, and it gives meaning to everything we go through. The next time something occurs that reminds us of an event and its associated meaning, our mind automatically runs the new experience through its filter—which is the related past experience. Now your mind uses this to determine how to deal with the pending situation. /at is how our mind copes with negative events. Unfortunately, many negative reaction sequences are left unresolved. The result is anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions that linger, electrifying our senses even when there is no need.