Let’s face it life can be challenging! What working in HR and leadership roles, running my own business, being a Mum, an athlete, a wife, a daughter, a sister and friend have collectively taught me is that we all face challenges in life. I am yet to meet anyone who hasn’t gone through difficult times, who hasn’t needed to find courage and strength to keep striving to achieve their goals and create the life they want. If you believe some people are blessed and miraculously avoid pain, discomfort or fear I encourage you to think again.
Even when people appear to have it all, they don’t. Some people may have money but they don’t have love, some are surrounded by love but can’t afford to put food on the table. While some of us lead ‘ordinary’ lives with few dramatic battles or hardships, we can still find ourselves stressed or anxious. These every day challenges of life are in no small way impacted by the way we choose to see our reality and our beliefs about the extent to which we are in control.
If you have read my book The Corporate Dojo you will already know that I am a passionate believer in tough love. That is, brutal honesty delivered with compassion and sensitivity. Today what I want to share is my belief that the most important person you give tough love to is yourself. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is hear and observe yourself and be honest and yet kind. Recognise the stories you are telling yourself, the excuses you are making, and the avoidance strategies you have mastered. Recognise these things but while you do, never stop having respect for yourself and belief in your ability to grow and improve.
Fear of not being seen as good enough or accepted by others are common reasons some of us live in denial. Sometimes we not only fail to see the influence of the choices we make on the quality of our lives, but also avoid holding ourselves accountable for those choices. The fact is we all have the power to choose – how we feel, what we believe, how we think, what we avoid, how we punish ourselves, how we harm our bodies – ultimately we have the power to choose everything we do.
Once we have made choices we also decide whether or not we own them. How often have you told yourself ‘it’s not my fault, I had no choice’? No matter how challenging your circumstances, at the end of the day you choose what you do and whether or not to take accountability for those choices. If you want to thrive in life choose wisely and take responsibility. When things go wrong, be kind to yourself and understand that we all make the wrong choices at times, but own them all the same. Don’t play the victim, have the courage to face your circumstances and make better choices.