Take Ownership of Your Life in 4 Steps

This is a guest post by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt. She is an anorexia survivor, body image expert, and the owner of aMINDmedia. She empowers you to achieve a healthier and smarter life by returning to your true purpose and values. You can read her blog or follow her on Twitter.

“Remember, ultimately you are in control of your workout! I can motivate you to push harder. I can try to keep you from giving up, but in the end, it’s all up to you.”

A Woman Driving a Car - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Lorado, Image #18194030

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Lorado

This statement of our cycling instructor stuck with me because I see people give up control over crucial areas of their lives all the time.This lack of ownership reaches from personal health to thriving in our jobs and the level of destruction we create is often not realized until it is too late.

When I gave my eating disorder power over me, I stopped functioning, lost myself, and almost my life. When my brother beat me up over and over again for years, I resigned and stopped fighting. When I worked for Starbucks, I gave my boss the power to decide how much money I could make any given month.

Three completely distinct areas of a life. Three ways of giving up control.

Your areas of struggle will be different, but the lack of owning up to personal responsibility is the same.

If you’re ready to reverse this process and finally want to take control of your life, the following steps will help put yourself back on track.

  1. Start dreaming. How do you want your life to look? What have you always wanted to do? We cannot make any changes in our lifestyle if we don’t know what it is we actually want.
    • Maybe you want to move to a different country or travel around the world.
    • Maybe you want to sell your big house in the country and move into a small apartment in the city.
    • Maybe you dream of giving up your well-paying job and pursue the career of your dreams.
    • Maybe you secretly wish to end your relationship and be solo for a while.
  2. Determine what is holding you back. Once you’ve determined your dreams, try to zone in on what exactly the reasons are for you not acting upon what you truly want.
    • Why do you let other people rule over your life?
    • Why don’t you go after that job you’ve always wanted?
    • Why do you keep finding excuses for traveling the world?
    • Why do you envy others for having the guts to constantly evolve in all aspects of life but you never step outside your comfort zone?

    Be honest with yourself. Be ruthless. Take some time for yourself and really dig deep.

  3. Face your fears. Analyze what it is that scares the heck out of you. When I started to gain weight, I was terrified of being judged, harassed, and even left by my husband. Yet none of those fears were rational. My life didn’t fall into pieces because of a few pounds more on my hips. Instead it improved in ways I cannot even begin to describe.

    So, whatever your insecurities are, ask yourself if they are valid ones.

    • Does your fear of financial bankruptcy really hold true?
    • Does your relationship really keep you alive?
    • Do your toxic friendships really prevent you from being lonely?
    • Is the job you have really the only alternative to living on the street?

    Try to be as objective as possible, even if it feels very uncomfortable. You’ll soon see that most of your fears are just as irrational as my anxiety of social disgrace because of looking healthy.

  4. Make the changes. Now that you know why you’re not in control of your life and what it is your afraid of, it’s time to make changes. Start small in order to not get overwhelmed.
    • Maybe your diet is worse than it should be. So, start eating healthier food.
    • Maybe your exercise routine is non-existent. Start building one.
    • Maybe your time online is preventing you from moving your business in the direction you want it to go. So, reduce the time on the web to a bare minimum.

    You don’t have to quit your job in order to take back control, you can start small and work your way up to the bigger life changes. Start growing confident and then rock the world with your newfound freedom.

There is nothing more rewarding than being in full control of your life. Once you realize that, “Yes, I can have that power too,” there is no end to the possibilities and opportunities that will present themselves. You’ll soon see that the world is only waiting for you to make a dent in the universe. What are you waiting for then?

You owe it to yourself to take this leap before it is too late.

Question: What do you need to do next to take back control of your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://twitter.com/findotitihere Otiti

    Brilliant, Anne-Sophie. We do need to take responsibility for our happiness and own our power. No one’s going to  hand us our dream life on a platter. We have to get out there and seize it for ourselves. Thanks for sharing, my friend, and thank you Michael for hosting her! :)

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      It’s true, Otiti. Nobody will, however much we wish for it to happen. The cool thing is that the more we make it happen ourselves, the more empowered we’ll feel and the more fulfilled our lives will be. :)

  • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

    Thank you so much, Anne-Sophie, for your courage to grab back the reins of your life and to reach out and help others through your experience. I was inspired to read your post. You may have pushed me across the line of reluctance to action. Thank you.

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      Wow, I’m beyond exciting to hear that, Wayne. I’ll give you the last tiny virtual push right now. Make it happen. 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Go, Wayne!

  • Joseph Hughes

    Thank you for your inspiring post on this Saturday morning.  I love this idea of giving ourselves permission to dream big and take responsibility for our lives.  I catch myself all the time in the mindset of waiting for some sort of permission or social pass to proceed, so I try to be mindful that every decision is up to me.  Grateful to live in a part of the world where I have such opportunities and I try to not take that for granted.  God Bless…

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      That’s a great point, Joseph. I believe that we have to use the opportunities we’ve been given. We are so lucky, so rich, so “entitled” to live in the times we live that it’s our responsibility to use the many resources we have. I too tend to believe that someone has to give me the permission to do this or that, but it inevitably leads to disappointment and paralysis. The truth is that only we decide what to do with our lives and once we realize that we have all the power we need, magic happens. 

    • Jim Martin

      Joseph, I remember a conversation I had a few years ago.  At the time, I felt like I could not go forward.   Like you noted in your comment, I was waiting for some kind of permission.  It put me in a very passive position in life.  Not good.  I remember the bewildered look on the other person’s face as I talked.  His genuine puzzlement actually helped me move ahead.

  • Stefan Holt

    Great Post! Dreams give life to endless possibilities.  Our country was founded on the dream of a better life.  Today, it is a sad state to see someone filled with negative pettiness about why they don’t have this…or why they don’t have that.  We live in the greatest country on the planet, and one that has received many blessings from God. Of which, individual liberty being at the top of the list.  Liberty driven by dreams is a powerful engine and ordained from our highest authority. I hope many read your post and tack action.  

    All the best and vielen dank Anne-Sophie.

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      I totally agree with you, except for the part where you say America’s the greatest country in the world. :)

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        Having lived in Switzerland, Anne-Sophie, my wife would challenge this too!

        • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

          Haha I’m glad I’m not the only one. 

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    Once we subscribe to the thesis that we’re in control of our lives, it follows that we’re the ones responsible if our lives aren’t going the way we would like; that we’re the ones who have essentially created our present situation; indeed, that it’s our own “fault” if we’re successful or not. 

    It seems, though, that as soon as we openly acknowledge that it is we who have created the mess that we’re in, others will reflexively react by telling us that we should stop “blaming” ourselves and that there’s no use in “beating up on” ourselves. 

    How do I communicate my sincere belief that my situation is of my own doing without triggering the knee-jerk “don’t be so hard on yourself” response? 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       CQ,

      What a great question! Don’t you think what you are describing are two different responses to the realization that you (not personally you) have created a mess of your life? Once I realize that I am in the mess I can A. beat myself up B. Blame others C. blame circumstances D. Not beat myself up as my response but to take OWNERSHIP and look for a responsible solution? It’s all in the response! Don’t you think?

      I think the knee-jerk comes from years of patterns of doing the same thing when difficulty arises! I think the first step is realizing that I TEND to respond with A. or C. and to ask why? Then to try to look for more healthy responses…

      Great question!

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

        I agree, but my question is, how can I do D. without being perceived as doing A.?

        See, here’s my theory:

        If someone is in a bad place, people want to help, and they will naturally assume that the person’s attitude has something to do with how he ended up in that bad place.

        Ergo, they will assess that person’s attitude, then attempt to steer it in the opposite direction. After all, if things aren’t going well, trying to change that person’s perspective seems like the logical strategy.

        So if the person has a habit of pointing fingers at others, people will try to convince him that he’s the master of his own fate.

        Conversely, if the person already considers himself the master of his own fate, people will suggest that he look for reasons outside of himself for a change, i.e., be less self-critical.

        In the end, no matter who or what a person holds responsible for his plight, chances are he’ll be advised to hold someone or something else responsible. So depending on a person’s operative perspective, he’ll be told either to take ownership of his situation or to get in the habit of farming it out a little more.

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          Yes, I see what you are saying. Sometimes in my life I don’t think I was in the place where if someone had said to me, especially in difficult circumstances, “you control your own destiny.” I don’t think I would have heard them—nor would it have been helpful. So I wonder if timing is part of it? Maybe becoming the sentient person who is aware that they are in control of choices is a process?

          I think sometimes people are just being nice because the situation is so difficult or they want to encourage, and maybe they are doing more bad than good?

          This is a tough conversation to have hypothetically, too. If it was a specific person/situation it might be easier in one respect—and more difficult in another!

          I appreciate your ability to see the nuances in a topic.

          • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

            Well, the relevant nuance here seems to be the distinction between positive terms like “ownership” and “responsibility” on the one side vs. “blame” and “fault” on the other. How do I take “ownership” of my situation and assume personal “responsibility” yet without “blaming” myself and regarding it my own “fault”?

            Owning and taking responsibility sounds like a good idea. Blaming oneself, obviously, sounds bad. From a practical standpoint, though, I’m wondering if there exists a meaningful other-than-rhetorical difference between the two.

            Besides, I can say that I’m “taking responsibility” until I turn blue. My listener, most likely, will hear that I’m “blaming” myself and urge me to stop doing that.

          • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

            Good distinction. Yeah, I KNOW that I have done that— where I have verbalized that I was going to take responsibility for my health, and it doesn’t magically make me do so…

          • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

            So are you saying that instead of taking genuine responsibility, you just ended up blaming yourself?

          • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

            well, with certain things it’s very much a cause and affect/effect thing—for sure! I tell myself I am going to do A and I don’t (or it only lasts for a little while.) Then I blame myself, at times, for not having the will power etc…

            Telling myself is not the solution to taking responsibility— I wonder if it’s proper motivation, in it’s many forms? If my doctor says if you don’t stop eating poorly—YOU WILL DIE— I am way more likely to take responsibility and to be motivated, but not in all cases.

          • Kingtubbo

            Upon taking ownership of a situation, you set out to make such situation better. It is a starting point. When someone takes the blame, often times it is the end of the road. They may commence to make changes, but sometimes they’ll just say, “It is/was my fault,” and drop the whole ball. Know what I mean?

            I have a great pal who always tells me not to be so hard on myself whenever I state that such-and-such scenario in my life is dragging me down and it is time for ME to change it as it’s totally my situation. I’ve come to reply to her admonitions with, “I’m not being hard, I’m just being firm.” An actor neighbor years ago once mentioned, “I thought I had a bit part, but then I realized I was the role that made everything else work.” It’s like that in life sometimes.

            Perhaps you could just say something along the lines of, “I am not taking blame or shame, but this is my game and I am taking aim.” (Yeah, I write advertising copy.)

          • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

            Advertising copy? You sound more like a trial attorney (“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!”)

        • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

          I think that it comes all down to this: do you care how others perceive you? Is that really your business? I don’t think it is. If others believe you’re beating yourself up and should blame others, then so be it. It’s none of their business how you live your life and how you go about your choices and owning your mistakes. 

          • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

            That’s nice in theory, but in real life, I believe, most of us care very much how we’re being perceived by others. Try explaining, say, to a woman who puts on makeup before she leaves that house that she shouldn’t care so much how she’s being perceived by others.

          • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

            That’s true. But it’s our job to rise above it. And I’m not saying I have this all together, not by any means. But once you notice that you spend too much time caring about what others think of you, you can snap out of it if you want to. For example, my dad doesn’t agree with what I’m doing. Not at all. He tells me straight in my face that I’m going to fail. I have two options now: do I stop doing what I’m supposed to do to make him happy or do I continue to go my way because I know that it’s right? It’s up to me to choose. Of course, it hurts and it’s never easy. But that’s life. Maybe I’m seeing this too radical, but I’ve been through so much and I’ve seen people judge and judge and judge and I just think that if we stay true to who we are, we can get over the fact that some people may think we’re not doing the right thing or we’re being too hard on ourselves. Just my opinion though. I also believe it’s a journey and you have days when you don’t care that much and days when you do. 

          • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

            Yes. Leaving perceptions by others aside, from my own perspective, is there a meaningful difference between “taking ownership” of an undesirable situation I have created versus viewing it as “my own fault”?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

            I think there is a huge distinction. It is the difference between constructively moving forward and just beating yourself up and going nowhere. Frankly, people sometimes prefer the latter over the former, because it doesn’t require anything of them. Self-pity is easier than self-reflection leading to self-progress. I know, because I have been guilty of this myself!

          • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

            So if I’m being a klutz and I knock over a glass of wine, it would be incorrect for me to say “sorry, it’s my fault” if I’m about to take action to clean it up. It’s only my “fault” if I just stand there beating myself up over the incident rather than “owning it” by pouring salt over the stain, in which latter case, instead of “sorry, my fault,” I should have said “sorry, I own it.”

          • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

            I’m wasn’t talking about how you relate to others over this. That’s secondary. I am talking about what you say to yourself.

          • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

            Unless I’m being deliberately diplomatic or deceptive, what I say to others is identical to what I say to myself.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

            That’s good. They should be. I’m just suggesting that it might be easier to figure out if you focus on yourself and forget other people for a while.

          • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

            I wouldn’t get into semantics, that really doesn’t matter, does it? What matters is how you relate to what you did or what happened to you. I think that is what counts. 

          • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

            I don’t know. Many will say that, to some extent, the words we use shape our reality. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

            I totally agree with this.

      • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

        Brilliant reply, Barry. I couldn’t have said it better. We’re humans and we tend to beat ourselves up way too much. So, as I’m all about self-love and self-care, I think we need to practice kindness toward ourselves. The more we practice it the better. For example, I just messed up BIG time and I could have spend weeks wallowing in my own mess, hiding under a blanket of shame, but I didn’t. Instead I was proactive, apologized sincerely, learned my lessons, made some changes and moved on. Yes, it hurt and was difficult, but it’s OK as long as I’m kind to myself. Does this help? 

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          Anne,
          I am with you 100%! The trick for me is shortening the time that I am pending “under the blanket”, and move to the action of forgiveness and repentance!

          Thanks for a great post, Anne!

  • Shecrady

    Stop being so lazy and trifling about what I know I need to be doing for my health, business, and my life. Like Cher said in the movie Moonstruck – “just snap out of it!”

  • Jordysdad242

    Good steps to follow they are on my mind and in my heart . Thank you so much for sharing them . Sometimes life hand’s you a hard road to follow. But with FATH and a strong love of GOD I will take the steps to be in control of my life ! I don’t care what other people may say it is my life and I will live it how I see fit . My first step is the hardest one I need to meet my son and have a heart to heart ! 

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      Good luck with your meeting. 

  • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

    “There is nothing more rewarding than being in full control of your life.”

    Unless, of course, Jesus is.

    • Jordysdad242

      AMEN TO THAT !   Could not have said it better !

  • annepeterson

    Anne-Sophie – Loved your post. Will be reading it again and again because I have given up control over areas of my life.

    First, I just wanted you to know of a typo in your piece.

    “If you’re ready to reverse this process and finally want take control of your life, the following steps will help put yourself back on track.”    (I think the word “to” got omitted).

    As far as your question, what do I need to do next to take back control of my life…
    I need to keep surrounding myself with people who will encourage me. Too often I have listened to the negative voices. After a while, I realized I mimicked them.

    I found your points very clear and well-defined. I really want to travel again. I am going to take that dream out, dust it off and look at ways to make it happen.

    Thanks for your post.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for this input. I have fixed the typo.

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      Yes, make it happen, Anne (we’re name sisters!). I so hear you when it comes to listening to the negative people and voices. Can you try not to see these people? Can you try to surround yourself with more upbeat and positive peers? I find this helps A LOT. The more positive and life-loving, the better. 

      • annepeterson

        Actually I got a copy of the book, “Necessary Endings,” by Henry Cloud and I applied some of his recommendations regarding toxic relationships. I enjoyed this person but found it just sapped my energy. Came to find out it was a relationship that prevented me from moving forward. 

        • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

          Ugh, I know those relationships way too well, Anne. But it’s always a learning experience and I’m so happy that you realized that this person prevented you from being who you’re meant to be. 

  • Steve Gerber

    I struggle with the comment, “There is nothing more rewarding than being in full control of your life”. There are some things out of our control. I agree we need to take responsibity for decisions. We need to make plans and have goals. But it’s not all up to us.

    • Ed

      I agree, Steve. In a perfect world, these four steps are all that is needed. But this is not a perfect world.

      I think there’s a step missing between 1 and 2. That’s where we need to revise our dream based on:
      – factors not completely within our control
      – responsibilities to others depending on us
      – higher priorities and commitments that are squeezed out in this dream

      If I go travel the world, what happens to my elderly parents? If I want to end a relationship, what about my kids? If I want to pursue another life plan, what will that mean to my commitments to God and His plans for me?

      Granted, these thoughts do open the doors to more excuses why not to jump. So a “ruthless honesty” is needed. But without honesty, you don’t have control anyway – the lie does.

      So the answer, I think, is in a dream that includes your highest priorites and greatest responsiblities, and plans for working around or through elements you can’t completely control. Anything else is as immature and ill-thought as quitting your job to take on Microsoft without a business plan.

      Ed

      • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

        I’m not a believer, so I can’t relate to all of your points, but I certainly hear your overall message. Of course, there are things that are out of our control (Hurricane Sandy anyone?), but we can react in a way that is in line to our overall goals and overall mission in life, don’t you think? I never planned to have anorexia and never planned to be abused by my brother, but it happend and I chose to deal with it. Now, I’m stronger than ever and more in line with my goals than I would be if this didn’t happen to me. 

        No, we will never ever be able to control everything, but we can control the direction we take and if we’re willing, we’ll find a way to deal with all the obstacles in our way.  

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    Great insight, Anne-Sophie! Once aware of the obstacles, the key is to start small. Many of us bite off more than we can chew and become overwhelmed. Thanks for sharing. 

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      Regular baby steps is all it takes to walk towards owning your life, Julie. I too struggle with planning too much than I can handle, but I learn and evolve. It’s better to have some sort of plan than not have a plan at all. If you’re open, you’ll start to see how much you can actually do and what is beyond your current situation. 

  • Jennifer Fonseca

    I am going to be an actor not a reactor. I am starting to stand up for myself, express my opinions and make choices for my benefit AND not worry about how others will react to these things. I feel empowered. Thank you for this encouragement today; this is exactly what I needed to read in this moment on the timeline of my life.

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      Yay, Jennifer. That’s awesome. Yes, stop worrying about people. They don’t see what you see and they don’t feel what you feel. Be true to who you are and share your core with this world.

  • http://www.NateAnglin.com/ Nate Anglin

    Taking control of ones life can be a scary endeavor, but it’s the most gratifying feeling we can experience. A lot of people are amazing dreamers, but that’s it. They get stuck in the dreaming phase and forget the next steps. Take control of your life and don’t be afraid to leave the dreaming phase. The sky is not the limit, when you can reach the stars.

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      I love that, Nate. Life’s about taking action, making things happen. Dreaming is good and fun, but it’s a waste of time if you never act upon your wishes. Dream big, but then take action, one step at a time. 

      • http://www.NateAnglin.com/ Nate Anglin

        Amen Anne ;-). Great post by the way. I hope people take action on this, it’s so important.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I’ve never had an eating disorder, but I can relate in many ways.  I was a child victim of a cult and struggled with paranoid schizophrenic symptoms when I was in my 20s.  As you did, I’ve learned to dream, face fears, and make changes.  I went back to school and earned an M.A.  I teach. I’ve now written a book, “A Train Called Forgiveness” about my experiences and have a second book coming out soon.  

    On the other hand, I was married to someone who has struggled with eating disorders, extreme OCD, anxiety, and depression.  Although she has improved a little, she has not been able to make the kinds of changes you suggest.  

    Why?  

    I think it could be one of two things: her upbringing allowed her too little responsibility and independence and too much control.  Or there are differing levels of ability to pull ourselves up from devastating circumstances.  

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Dan,
      Do you think it could be some of both? And some more factors too?

      By the way—thanks for sharing your story! Really incredible!

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        It could absolutely be some of both.

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      Dan, wow. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve been thinking a lot about why some people recover from an eating disorder and some don’t and I’ve come to my own personal conclusion. It is, after all, an illness and something we don’t fully understand just yet. Eating disorders are vicious and they vary in degrees. You can have all the support you wish for and still don’t make it because your disorder is just too strong. 

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        Yes, and those are the people we need to support and hold up as best we can a Christian society.

        • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

          Exactly and one thing is super important: don’t judge. I believe that we all try to do the best we can in any given moment. Sometimes it can be frustrating to see how a person is destroying herself and we feel helpless and it’s easy to then go and judge or blame that person. I know I’ve done it often. But that’s the worst thing we can do, isn’t it? Encouraging and trying to help, yes, but judging and blaming? No. 

          • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

            I agree that judging others is a big “no.”  And I agree that that’s hard.  I’m continuing my exploration in writing in a trilogy about forgiveness, mercy, and redemption.  One of the overarching themes of the series is being non judgmental.  

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    I needed this today. Such perfect, tangible wisdom. Thank you.

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      You’re quite welcome. Thanks for the comment and I hope this inspired you enough to make the changes you want or need to make. 

  • honestinquirer

    These are good. One of the prime difficulties for me is this: I dearly love my wife and am committed to her. I will never leave her. I pray for her all the time. However, due to the baggage she carries around, she is my most consistent source of hindrance or opposition to dreams and possibilities. The standard, default response is “no”. 

    I cannot move forward on a dream when I know the support will not be there. If you are not fully in each other’s corner as a team, it will not work out well. So, I often feel stuck. 

    What is the solution to that? Only the grace and miraculous intervention of God. I often wonder what could have been.

    • honestinquirer

      NOTE: Please do not send me any email responses to this. My wife would be hurt. That’s not my intent. My intent is to request prayer, and also to see if there’s wisdom for me. I’ll just check in here once in awhile.

  • Kingtubbo

    A superb post and just what I needed to read this Saturday morning! And the notation at the end — “you can start small and work your way up to the bigger life changes” — really hit home with me. I’m in the midst of making some long overdue changes and instituting some plans with effects/outcomes that could reach far into the future. I sometimes feel overwhelmed. Small steps, slow but steady, is doable and propels me forward just as much as a complete makeover. (I read a post from Mr. Hyatt some months ago about the power of incremental change and how valuable (but overlooked) it can be. Good read.) 

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      It’s so easy to be overwhelmed, isn’t it? Especially if you have lofty goals and dreams. But tiny steps will get you there. Just taking one action step a day is huge. Always notice your progress and celebrate every minor and major accomplishment. This’ll help you to stay motivated and encouraged. Good luck. 

      • Jim Martin

        I also appreciate the reminder of the power of taking these small steps.  I know this and really appreciate the reminder again.  Thanks.

  • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

    Now go and pursue your projects, Mike. The world needs to see them come alive. 

  • http://twitter.com/StephenCMonahan Stephen C Monahan

    great post. I learned to face my fear, allow life to happen, and find something to love to pull me out of the fear

  • http://twitter.com/StephenCMonahan Stephen C Monahan

    Great post. I faced my fear, let life happen and found a reason and purpose to come back.

  • shari lynne

    This is a great post!  It’s so funny but I say these things all the time…but in the last year,  I have given in to circumstances in the financial arena and felt very hopeless..I watch my grandson and although my kids pay me they simply do not pay me enough.  They are also aware of this.  I love them so much but have other children at home and just plain need to make more money.. Your article got me to thinking for sure..What am I afraid of?

    Losing my relationship with my daughter?
    Not seeing my grandson as much?
    Being at home with all my kids?  (who by the way are tweens and teens)

    I need to hear from the Lord for sure on this and I have been struggling too long about it..I better start listening :)

    Thanks again and many blessings to you!

    • Jim Martin

      Shari, thanks for sharing with us this very personal situation regarding you, your daughter, and your grandchild.  You raise some very important questions as you reflect on this.  This seems to be a huge step.  There is something powerful about simply verbalizing the object of our fears and what those fears might be.  Thanks.

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      Sounds like a tricky situation. One thing that might help is to journal about it, Shari. Sometimes just writing everything down in minute detail, all your feelings, your frustrations, your fears etc. not only releases emotions, but it also helps to see if your fears really hold true. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and I hope that you can make a decision that serves everybody. 

  • Miranda

    I just passed a phase of fearfulness and I’m loving it! It’s amazing the great blessing sI have received from God because I chose to believe and not give up on my dream.

    It is my sincere hope that people get the opportunity to read something like this. For someone who has been there,  I know the wealth that this post has to offer.

    Thanks Anne, for a wonderful post.

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      Miranda, that sounds amazing. Keep dreaming and taking action and you’ll create the life you truly want. Onward, I say. :)

  • Assyncs

    A strong desire and a firm resolve o achieve will sure make things happen

  • Creativehstudios

    Taking responsibility is really the first step to success, I have taken responsibility in my financial life, I pursued a job, got it, have reduced it to part time job and currently working on my personal online project….but I need to start exercising because it really is ” Non – Existent “…

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  • http://asopranoadventure.wordpress.com/ Sandra Schreffler

    This is quite brilliant, thank you. In just the last few weeks, I feel like for the first time in my life I have control over what I do and where I go, and reading this has just served to remind me how incredibly thankful I am that I didn’t give up. It also reminded me that just because I achieved one dream, does not mean I should forget about the other things I still want to achieve. So I begin, starting now, to achieve the next thing on my list. :) Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/DionneLew Dionne Lew

    Michael there were some great tips in this post although I am not sure ‘full control’ of our lives is possible. We can set our direction and move towards it and build skills that help us get there and cope with and respond to the unexpected. 

    What I loved about the post was that it puts us in the seat in terms of personal responsibility. But I think it’s also important to remember as people that we can be doing all the right things and suddenly – wham.

    Sometimes when this happens we can be very self blaming, looking for what we did wrong or didn’t do enough of rather than saying – okay – this has happened – and it was out of my control – it wasn’t what I wanted – but – how do I respond to it now that it has.

    I guess I learned this because I believe strongly as you do in being responsible for my life and my decisions. I used to assume this also meant having full control of the outcomes. When something happened that wasn’t consistent with MY idea of what should be happening, I assumed there was something additional I could have done to get the outcome I wanted. 

    But can we really always know the outcomes is the right one? 

    Now I feel it’s far more about knowing the direction and heading towards it but also being agile enough to adapt as life steps in, as it does, with its other plans. If you’re putting one step in front of the other with good intention and in support of others, the outcome may not be what you were expecting, but it can be great. 

    All those actions you suggest help build our resilience skills as much as anything else and our capacity to adapt, which we need more and more in this fast changing world. 

  • AlGetler

    So well said. And words I needed to hear. Thank you Anne-Sophie. It is one thing to fight your battle. It is another to win and inspire others. You gave me a good number of questions that require to hitting the journal hard.  MH chose well to host your guest post. 

  • Jonesm1998

    Where is Jesus in all of this?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Right where He’s always been. :-)

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  • http://www.toddliles.com/ Todd Liles

    Jump on the thing that scares you, wrestle it to the ground, and take what is yours.

  • Mich

    Nice post! Yes, it’s about personal responsibility so as to stop blaming others for how my life turned (or turns) out. To be happy is a choice. Yes, I agree that it’s necessary to find one’s own happiness. To be miserable is a choice as well. But I choose happiness! Thanks for the insights! God bless!

    • http://aMINDmedia.com/ Anne-Sophie

      I love that you said that being miserable is a choice and it often is. It’s hard to snap out of it when you feel like that though, isn’t it? But there are always anchors you can built that’ll help you to deal with moods or challenging situations in an upbeat way. 

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  • George Stevens

    Mark, great post…I really enjoyed your thoughts very much.  Have a great day.

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  • Ravi Sindagi

    This is the TRUTH..
    I have had problems in life. Coming from a trend following society in India, where you do your schooling, get an engineering degree and join the Corporate Slavery.
    I was broke and into alcohol every day for 1 year…
    Imagine getting up in the morning and have a peg of RUM instead of Green Tea.
    I began looking for solutions online..Went through many blogs. Some great ones like this..
    I am really grateful to all the bloggers like you, who have helped me change my life.
    Its been a year now, not had a single drop of alchol..Started my own business..About to quit the corporate slavery this year end.
    I can smell that my dreams are soon going to be a reality.
    Greatest part, I now BELIEVE in myself:)