Hey hey! Welcome back to another episode of The Bullpen Sessions. Today, I want to talk to you about something I think is absolutely essential — especially in our current global situation — and that’s taking 100% responsibility for our choices.

I’ve had a lot of conversations lately with friends, colleagues, and coaching clients, and I’m hearing some excuses. “Well, I can’t really grow my business right now because of COVID-19.” “My kids are at home all day now, so I don’t have time to invest in my business.” Do any of those excuses sound familiar?

We’ve all been there. We’ve all been tempted to make excuses when we’ve failed. I remember being a little kid — maybe 11 or 12 years old — and competing in a free-throw competition. And the thing about free-throw competitions is that there’s really no ambiguity — either you make more free throws than your opponent or you don’t. I had made it all the way up to the state level competition, and I was up against a good friend of mine — Pat Dawson. And that day, Pat made more free throws than me. He won; I lost. But instead of accepting defeat like a good sportsman, I completely embarrassed myself by storming off the court and making all sorts of excuses as to why it wasn’t my fault that I didn’t win.

I know I did the same thing when I first started working for Federated Insurance, too. I was quick to blame my boss, the district I was assigned, or my environment for my failures. But here’s the thing — making excuses doesn’t help you succeed. It doesn’t help you learn from your failures. And it doesn’t help you become better, stronger, faster, or wealthier.

So today, I want to help you shift your mindset. I want to help you overcome some limiting beliefs so you can take 100% responsibility for your actions and start winning in your business again. Sound good? Let’s dive in!

Blaming Others = Zero Progress

Before I get into any specific tips and strategies, I want to emphasize this point: When you blame other people or circumstances for your failures, you make absolutely zero progress. When you blame anything other than yourself, what you’re really doing is validating your own actions, even if they were wrong. And when you’re validating yourself despite having messed up, you’re not going to change. You’re not going to be motivated to make the necessary changes to yourself or your business that will allow you to improve.

Let’s take my story from earlier as an example. When I angrily left the free-throw competition, blaming stupid things like the size of the ball for my loss, all I did was validate myself. I was essentially telling myself, “It’s okay. You did everything right.” 

By telling myself that I’d done everything right, I wasn’t motivated to take action and become better at making free throws. I didn’t learn anything from the experience, and I definitely didn’t become a better athlete. But think about what could have happened if I’d taken 100% responsibility. If I’d owned up to the fact that I’d lost, I would have started taking steps to become better. I would have gone back to practicing with a focus on the skills I needed to improve, and the next time I competed, I would have shown up better, faster, and stronger. 

Here’s the bottom line: Taking responsibility for your actions when you don’t succeed forces you to go back to the basics. It causes you to take positive action and create the new strategies you need to win.

Remember that old expression we were taught as kids? “When you point your finger at someone or something else, you have three fingers pointing back at you.” When you point fingers and place blame anywhere other than yourself, you really just emphasize your own failure. But when you take responsibility for your actions, you give yourself the opportunity to grow, change, and improve.

Are You Hanging Around the Right People?

Okay, now let’s get into some specific shifts you can make to start taking responsibility for your choices. The number one thing you need to evaluate is your environment. Who are you spending time with? Are the people in your inner circle lifting you up or tearing you down? Are they helping you own your mistakes and learn from them, or are they just validating you even when you need to make a shift?

It is absolutely essential that the people you spend the most time with are those who will build you up. And sometimes, that means having a challenging conversation. What if the person who is dragging you down is a parent or a sibling — someone you can’t just eliminate from your life? Of course, I don’t want you to try to cut them out completely, but I do want to encourage you to limit the amount of time you spend with them.

I really like the way one of my mentors — Darren Hardy — talks about this. He says you should have three categories of friends. First, you have your three-minute friends. Your three-minute friends are the people you talk to occasionally and have short, passing conversations with. Maybe you say, “Hey, how are you doing?” Then they ask you the same, and then you’re both on your merry way.

After that, you have your three-hour friends. These people are closer to you, and as the name implies, you want to spend a little more time with them. Maybe you grab dinner together or go for a round of golf. You have some more extended conversations with these friends, but three hours is probably enough.

And finally, you have your three-day friends. These are the people you could go on vacation with. These are the friends who have in-depth conversations with you and are building you up and encouraging you to be your best.

Your three-day friends need to be people who will empathize with you when you fail and then immediately pick you back and up and encourage you to make some changes. They’re the people who are going to help you succeed in business and in life. So, if there are people in your life who are dragging you down but you can’t eliminate them, I’d encourage you to limit the amount of time you spend with them. Consider them your three-minute or three-hour friends. Make sure your innermost circle is made up of only the people who contribute the most to your success and wellbeing.

Are Your Goals Too Big?

The other thing I want to encourage you to evaluate your goals. What are your goals? Is it possible they’re too big? Listen — I am all about stretch goals. I think it’s critical that you design your goals to push you out of your comfort zone and force you to expand your limits. But I also know that you end up feeling a lot of frustration, anxiety, and unhappiness when your goals are unrealistic.

Think about what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you trying to double your sales numbers? Are you trying to launch a new coaching program? Are you building a business from the ground up? Now think about what it will take to accomplish those goals. Develop a plan of action so that you can achieve that goal by December 31st. If you can’t think of a way to achieve your goal in that time frame, it may be too big for this stage in your career. Look at ways you can scale back and grow at a more manageable rate.

And remember — as you work toward your goals, think about the things you can control. You can’t control the fact that you have to wear a mask when you go out right now. But you can control whether you start your day with negative thoughts or positive ones. You can control the way you react to losses and failures. And you can control your habits and routines. 

The key here is to keep a level head and structure each day so that you maximize your progress toward your goal. If you’ve had to adjust your goals because of the pandemic situation, don’t sit in frustration or anxiety. Simply alter your game plan and keep on moving!

When You’re Losing Everything, You Have Nothing to Lose

Okay, so major takeaways from today’s post:

  1. Take 100% responsibility for your choices — When you blame others or your circumstances, you lose the opportunity to learn and grow. Choose to take responsibility and use each experience to learn.
  2. Get rid of the validators in your life — Your inner circle should be full of people who lift you up and push you toward success. Limit the amount of time you spend with people who allow you to validate yourself when you need to take responsibility for a mistake.
  3. Make sure your goals are realistic — If your goals are too high, you’re going to end up frustrated and anxious. Choose a goal you can reasonably achieve and craft a game plan to get it done!

I hope this episode was inspiring to you! You have the opportunity to learn so much for your experiences if you choose to take 100% responsibility. When you own up to your failures and acknowledge that you have room to improve, you give yourself the chance to go back to the basics and develop stronger skills — in sports and in your career! Remember — when you’re losing everything, you have nothing to lose. If you’ve made a mistake or failed in your business, you have every reason to learn what you can and keep building.

I’ll talk to you guys again soon! In the meantime, I’d love it if you’d give me a five-star review over on Apple podcasts. Every good review helps more people discover The Bullpen Sessions and gain the tools and skills they need to succeed. 

You can also join my FREE text community! Just text the word “Mindset” to 414-622-1462, and I’ll give you access to a TON of free weekly coaching. If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge and join the Complete Game Mastermind, this text community is a great way to see if my coaching might be right for you.

Until next time!