If it’s never your fault …

If it’s never your fault, you can’t take responsibility for it. If you can’t take responsibility for it, you’ll always be its victim.
~ Richard Bach, Messiah’s Handbook

The essence of this quotation has been with me for a long time. I have found it very powerful. I know, it is loaded with ugly words like fault and victim. Some of you may, unfortunately, include responsibility in the ugly category. If so, I’d like to change your mind!

I suppose another way of saying the same thing might be:

If I am to blame, or if I assume some of the blame in a situation, then I have some measure of power to change it.

I first faced the need to take a measure of responsibility in a place I didn’t think I needed to: Al Anon! I attended meetings because a loved one had a drinking problem – not me. Well, what I heard at those meetings was that the only person I can change is me and it was my responsibility to face what, in me, needed to change, and change it. No longer could I just blame my loved one for the problems we faced. I needed to assume some of the blame or responsibility for our problems and change what I could.

Then a wonderful thing happened: I felt empowered by assuming responsibility (or even blame) and taking action! This healthier way of dealing showed up in other areas of life. I began to notice that the leaders I respected took responsibility for what went wrong around them and for helping to find solutions. Their message was never blaming. Rather, “I could have … I missed … I’m sorry that didn’t go well. I/We will make that right for you.” So my own leadership took on the quality of responsibility for the good, the bad and the ugly. I was no longer a victim of circumstance. By assuming some responsibility, I had a voice to speak up with and actions to take. If you are in a position of leadership, here is a bit of wisdom from one leader I know:

When your team makes a mistake, take the blame, the responsibility, with “We made a mistake.”. But when it comes to praise, pass it on! “Yes, John (or Mary or Sue) did a GREAT job!”

What blame game stops today?
What responsibility is yours to assume?
What impact will you have when you do?

Catch Yourself!

How often do you hear yourself begin a response with “I can’t … I never … I always …”?

“I never take a break when there’s a deadline.”
“I can’t do that – I’m not talented enough.”
“No, I won’t drive through town – I always take the highway.”

Scan the various areas of your life (home, parenting, relationships, work, recreation…). Listen for your inner I Never … I Can’t … I Always …”. My “favorite” such phrases have included:

I’m not good enough to do that.
I don’t have time for that.

But I am practicing catching myself and reframing:

I could practice a bit and get better.
I may not be as good as others, but, yes, I am good enough!
If I moved that task into tomorrow or decided it didn’t need to happen, I’d have plenty of time!

My invitation to you today is:

Catch Yourself!

Notice when your first reaction is an immediate shut down of an idea, a Never or Can’t or Always kind of statement. Then play with alternatives like:

I usually don’t … but I’ll try.
I feel incapable of doing … but maybe I can – with a bit of help!
I prefer … but I’ll experiment.

Have fun. Watch your world expand.

What’s possible now?

Energy Drains: take back your life!

Do you ever feel like:

  • you are being pulled in too many directions?
  • there is too much being asked of you?
  • YOU are responsible for that person and that activity and this …?

Is it all too much? Recently, I read The Joy of Burnout by Dr. Dina Glouberman, where she provided a visual that describes this situation beautifully:

Picture someone or something you are over invested in. Imagine that your energy is like rays, or I like to say strands of spaghetti, coming out of a hole in the top of your head. The ends of the spaghetti are stuck in that person or thing. 

My imagination traded in that spaghetti for my blood vessels and I quite literally saw my life energy flowing out of me into those others.

Pick either image, close your eyes, and feel into it for a moment.
Imagine a strand for each attachment that drains you.

Continue reading “Energy Drains: take back your life!”


We’ve all met face to face with them – the hard and fast (or soft and arbitrary) deadlines we’ve been asked to meet. Whether is’s a task at work, the child needing a ride to practice that begins in two minutes, or the self-imposed, “I should call so-and-so who is struggling.”, deadlines seems to be a non-negotiable part of life.

BUT … I am writing to suggest that we just might want to reconsider something. Really, DEADlines? How many of the things we label deadlines really are a matter of life and death? Continue reading “Deadlines!”