I’m one of the last people on earth who will tell you that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to taking charge of your growth, direction and success in life. Yet, at the core of almost every challenge I get to work on with my clients lies a 3 layered commonality.
- They can’t discern between what’s in and out of their control.
- They try to control the things that are outside of their control.
- They neglect the very thing that lies within their power.
Take, for example, one of my clients, Mike (his real name isn’t Mike of course!).
Mike works as a Sales Director for one of the big tech giants. Smart guy, but he gets consumed by industry rumours, sweating over the next wave of layoffs. Instead of crushing his KPIs, he always has an ear to the ground, waiting for that dreaded news.
What he doesn’t realise is that while he’s paranoid about losing his job due to external shifts, he’s inadvertently edging towards that exact fate by missing his immediate responsibilities.
Ironically, it’s becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
His slipping standards feed the very anxiety that started it all, spinning him further from the one thing that can save him: taking ownership of his responsibilities.
A cycle where distraction begets decline, which in turn amplifies the distractions. It’s an interesting phenomenon that we all get to deal with to some extent on a day-to-day basis.
Take for instance the the modern-day red-piller dudes, guys who spend their waking hours behind their computer screen forming alliances with people whose faces they don’t know, bonding over beliefs they share about things way out of their control.
There often lies a sense of joy and comradery between them as they gossip over what the world’s “elite” are doing, and how their anger (and boredom!) driven cyber warfare will eventually crack the matrix — which is when, and only when, they’ll be able to finally live the lives that they want.
When the fact is, if they were to just take ownership and responsibility for what they can control, they’d be able to contribute more to society as a whole and actually make a change for themselves and become a guiding force for those they love and care about..
It doesn’t matter if you want to worry less (aka be more present), get back behind the wheel of your life, or take charge of your growth…improving your ability to acknowledge and accept the things that are outside of your control, whilst taking radical responsibility for the things that are within your control will not just change your life.
It will transform it.
Because, like Mike, when we try to control the uncontrollable we become obsessed and depleted. When we are obsessed and depleted, we go into survival mode. When we are in survival mode, we become blind to the things that are within our power. When we are blind to the things that are within our power, we become paralysed.
And when we are paralysed, we reinforce the belief that we are powerless.
The very root of all disaster.
Yet, the opposite is also true.
When we can recognise and accept the uncontrollable we learn to trust and surrender. When we learn to trust and surrender we allow possibilities to open up in our lives and ‘magic’ to be seen and received.
When we can let go of the uncontrollable, we can shift our focus towards the things that are within our power. When we shift our focus towards the things that are within our power, we can take charge. When we take charge of things within our power, we are reminded of our wisdom, creativity, strength and power.
Ultimately, when we learn to differentiate between WHEN to trust and surrender, and WHEN to take charge, we become unstoppable.
To put this into practice, I recommend making it a weekly habit (preferably on Sundays) to follow this simple, 3-step approach.
Step 1: Revealing clarity & direction
Start by identifying exactly what ‘concerns’ you’re directing your time, energy and focus to and place them into two circles depending on whether you think that thing lies. Do you have control over it or not?
To help you, I invite you to try using the Circles of Influence.
For context, the circle of concern covers everything in our life that affects us. The circle of control, on the other hand, has a deeper layer — it includes everything within our lives that we can consciously impact or affect.
Once you’ve completed step 1, and have identified the areas outside of your control that you’re worrying about (aka developing discernment) you’re then ready for step 2.
Step 2: Radical acceptance.
To be radically acceptant means to consciously practise the acknowledgement of situations and emotions — fully accepting things for how they are without avoiding or hiding from them — wishing for the situation to be different.
What makes acceptance so hard is that many people — men in particular — associate it with giving up, complacency, phoning it in, or committing to mediocrity. But this isn’t the case.
Acceptance isn’t passive resignation. Acceptance is about embracing reality and seeing it clearly for what it is, whether you like it or not. Which is something that requires practice.
So for step 2, I recommend that you only choose one thing from your circle of concern each week. Trying to let go and accept the feelings that arise for everything at once would be overwhelming, uncomfortable and ultimately counterintuitive.
Step 3: Getting honest & taking action
After accepting things for how they are, you are then ready to take radical responsibility — the voluntary, conscious choice to embrace 100% ownership for every situation, circumstance and event that we face in life.
The key here, is to be brutally honest with yourself — put your feelings aside, stop blaming anything (or anyone!) else and just take responsibility for what and where we need to take responsibility. And yes, this can feel like a burden — like something you “should” do instead of something you “must” do — but the clarity, confidence, freedom, and newfound sense of strength that lies on the other side are well worth the effort, I promise.
And that’s it — the 3 key skills that will change your life.