Have you ever gotten into a situation where you needed an adult only to look around and realize you were the adult?
When it all boils down, we are the ones that have to take responsibility for our own lives, actions, and thoughts. It is easy to forget the fundamentals. We tend to do or say things that make it easier in the short term or to avoid being in trouble.
Perhaps it started at a young age when you didn’t want to get yelled at or sent to your room for something you did. Or in school when you didn’t do your homework to play video games instead. The next day you found yourself rehearsing what you would tell your teacher when it came time to turn in that Chemistry assignment.
This article will show you methods and ideas to take responsibility for your own actions and get a stranglehold on your life and career. You can stop looking around for an adult and be the adult. Here’s how.
Blame and Excuses
Two of the biggest caveats we face is placing blame and making excuses. Everyone has done it. We point fingers to get the attention off of us and put it on someone else. Perhaps it is done so that we can shy away and hide in the shadows, or maybe we somehow know that the one we point a finger to can handle it.
Placing blame is one of the worst things you can do when something goes wrong. Especially if it is your fault. You have to remember that no one is perfect, mistakes and errors will happen. It doesn’t matter what career you have; something is going to go wrong.
We aren’t judged by our perfectionism. Instead, we are evaluated by how we handle every situation, good and bad. When you stop placing blame, be it on another person or a machine, or something else, you start to take responsibility.
This alone isn't enough, but it is a start. You don’t have to apologize, but you should admit when you are defeated. The key to success here is learning from what happened. If it was a good situation, think about how you can make it better. If it was a bad situation, think about how you can prevent a repeat in the future.
Turn the bad into good and the good into great, and it won’t matter if you fail from time to time.
The same goes for making excuses. Just like the Chemistry homework, in your career, there may be things you do (or don’t do) that will cause you to want to jump to an excuse.
No manager, boss or higher-level employee will want to hear that your car had a flat or that the tool broke and you couldn’t find a new one.
Instead of making excuses, make opportunities. Things are going to happen. You will get a flat tire; you will break a tool. Whatever your job is, there will be something that goes wrong. The key is to admit the failure (without blame) accept that you could have or will do something about it or to prevent it from happening again, and then take action.
As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Don’t make an excuse. No one will listen, you will lose credibility and begin to doubt yourself. Instead, find an opportunity to make the situation better. Ask for help if you need to. Never be ashamed of not knowing how to do something.
Take the opportunity to discuss with others the problem, issue or bad happenstance and work together to come up with solutions. If something isn’t working, don’t complain about it, figure out a way to fix it.
Take responsibility and let go of excuses and blame.
Goals will give you a leg up in both your personal life and career. There should be three stages of goals that you set, and each one is important.
Before you create your goals, you need to determine what the goals will be for. If you are making personal goals for your life, then you should be able to sit down and truly evaluate where you currently are versus where you want to be.
Likewise, if you are setting goals for your career, you should focus on your current position to where you want to be in the future.
The trick here is to give yourself obtainable goals. If, for example, it’s your first day on the job, making a goal of being the store manager in a month is a bit overzealous. However, making a goal to be a store manager in four years, is more obtainable.
Even if you have the knowledge and skill set to run the store tomorrow, you still have to prove it. This is what your goals should focus on.
Short-term goals are goals you can do at almost any given time. Daily or weekly goals are considered short term. They also have many benefits.
First, creating short-term goals should be something you do on a regular basis. These goals will constantly change, so you need to be on top of them. Personal short-term goals are designed to help your life for the better.
They can be simple things like eating breakfast every day instead of skipping it because you are running late constantly. If you manage to eat breakfast daily for a week, you win. You made an effort to get up early enough to get ready and include breakfast in your routine.
This, in return, may also make your career better as you are no longer running late for work.
Short-term goals help us by giving us a sense of accomplishment. It may not be the largest goal on the sheet, but being able to mark something off shows progress and gives us the feeling that we can do more, accomplish more and achieve more.
Mid-term or mid-range goals are designed to be a little more challenging than short-term goals. In our store manager reference, for example, you may write down that you want to take the managerial exam within three months.
Focusing on this goal will make you study for the exam, practice what you have learned and accomplish managerial tasks without being asked. All of these are a huge step towards making that large goal of owning your own store.
By the time the three months is up, you will have the confidence, situational practice and mindset to take on the exam. That confidence should see you through to a passing grade and your next goal.
Mid-term goals should be hard but not unobtainable. By checking off short-term goals, mid-term goals will feel more challenging, but more doable. When you start checking off mid-range goals your confidence in life and your career will skyrocket.
Setting long-term goals is what we strive for the most. Giving us something to work towards, and when we accomplish them, we feel invincible.
Long-term goals should be just that: long-term. Usually a year or more into the future. You can’t set yourself up for failure, but you also need to challenge yourself. For example, if you have noticed that most store owners started at the bottom and made owner within five years of being hired, you could aim for four years.
Setting a long-term goal for a short amount of time (like owning a store in three months) will only make us fail, and we will fall back into our old patterns.
When you accomplish your long-term goals, you will feel on top of the world, and all of your hard work will have paid off. It will show. Not just to you, but to others as well.
Your Mindset is the Most Important
Whether it's buying a home, getting that promotion or crossing off your final long-term goal, your mindset will be the biggest factor.
You must remind yourself what you are working for. Tell yourself constantly that there is a means to an end. When you change your mindset, you change your outlook, and the possibilities grow.
Being positive is wonderful, being realistic is better. If you delude yourself and you fail, you may never try again. You will continue in the same rut you find yourself in and stop trying to get out of it.
In the end, only you can take responsibility for your actions, words, and performance. If your response is to take action, stop placing blame on others (or inanimate objects) and working with others when you need help, you are well on your way.
If they are not, you need to sit down with yourself and find out what you can do to stop pointing fingers and start being responsible.