Do you feel empowered? Like you’re making choices that are taking you down a road you really want to be on? If not then maybe you aren’t owning your life. The reason this is so important is because if you don’t own it - you can’t change it. So now that’s out of the way let’s talk about a few ways that will help you to own your life.
ACCEPTANCE: Acceptance of your life, your self, your circumstances and current situation is absolutely key to taking ownership. Where you are at right now (if you’re a grown up) is exactly where you have chosen to be. That might sound like I’m not giving any credit to the things you’ve been through or what has happened to you throughout the course of your life but the truth is you have chosen how to deal with those things. You have chosen, small choices every day that have led you to where you are right now. We don’t need to go into that too much here (I have another blog post on this) but when you can accept that you can also then accept that in order to create a different life you must start to make different choices. We have a lot of power even though we don’t often fully realise it. Our choices are powerful. Our thoughts and actions are powerful. So if you can accept that you are where you are and that you have choices to make for the future it will take you a long way all by itself because even the consciousness that you do have choices will help you make better ones.
EDUCATION. Educating yourself is the biggest, most effective, most powerful way for you to take ownership of your life. I’ll give you a few examples of how this works:
Have a problem with your kids? Learn about strategies that work with children or troubled children. Seek the advice of someone who has studied kids. Don't look at your next door neighbour or compare yourself with others - if YOU have a problem, then YOU have a problem. That level is different for everyone and one of the problems we have is that when you look around and everyone else is struggling that becomes the accepted norm, but if it sucks, why would you not change it? And if you don't know how to change it then the first step is EDUCATING YOURSELF!
Another example is if you're stuck in a job you hate. If you are doing work that you feel is meaningless or is driving you crazy, then what should you do? Don’t stay and complain - look for something that you WANT to do. Then, get educated in that field and pursue it. If you don't know how, or you don't know the way forward into that career - find someone who has done it before and learn from them. There are people out there that are more than willing to share their knowledge, and if you're willing to pay for it then there's even MORE. At least if you are learning then the job that you're doing now which is so painful will have a purpose - it will allow you the freedom (and finances) to pursue your next career. There's nothing to tie you to that situation. You don't have to jump ship and flounder around - if you have a plan you can do it without leaving yourself stranded.
Relationship issues? For me, I had PLENTY of relationship issues. I was brought up in a home where I wasn't taught about effective boundaries and I wasn't taught assertiveness. I left home at fifteen so I didn't even have good manners or proper etiquette. The first time I went to a nice restaurant I didn't know what cutlery to use. I had to learn all of this. I had to learn how to conduct myself in public. I had to learn how to be in healthy relationship with others. I had to learn how to be a good friend, how to pick good friends, how to relate to others well, how to listen effectively and how to say 'no' effectively (that was huge because I really really wanted people to like me and didn’t realise that saying no was actually a good thing and develops respect, healthy boundaries and healthy relationships). I had to learn how to avoid toxic soul suckers and if this is your weakness then you really are in luck because it is a bit of a passion of mine and obviously we are going to tackle this subject and all the relevant learnings in future posts.
Finance issues? Learning about that is important too! One of the biggest problems people with debt have is that they don't know HOW to manage their money properly. They don't have a plan, they don't have a budget and they don't have a reason to stick to it because they don't have a goal. So what happens then? We spend!! The instant gratification from holding something new in your hands is way more powerful than having 'savings' that you can't spend and when it's not going up by much each week its super easy to get disheartened. Then something happens, a tyre blows, an extra bill comes in and you're back at zero and beating yourself up for it. That's no fun, but if you learn how to manage your money and how to create a plan then you're way ahead and you WILL get into a better situation but you won't if you don't know how.
How about your health and wellness? You might think you’re going ok in this area because you’re not sick but do you truly know what it means to look after yourself properly? I didn't. I had no idea. I didn't know what my needs were, I didn't know how to get them met and I mean that in every sense - physically, spiritually and mentally. I was overweight, drinking too much, smoking like a chimney and full of depression and anxiety. I was not well at all and I had to LEARN how to take care of myself. I also had to learn that I was worth looking after as well and we will definitely get to that too.
So I've touched on a few areas and shown how educating yourself is always the first answer to taking ownership back. The other areas will also have education as the key to beginning to take your power back, but here's the thing; if you don't believe that it's within your power to create change, then you won't. Sometimes that’s why working with a coach or a mentor is helpful. They can awaken some of the ways in which you’ve been sleeping through life.
Hopefully even through these posts I am going to help you to shift your mindset a little. To begin to uncover some of your value and realise some of your own awesomeness so you can be reminded how powerful you truly are. Because you are. You actually do have the power to create massive change. In fact you are the ONLY one who can create your life the way that you want it. Don't wait for a knight in shining armour to come along and rescue you from yourself. Don't wait for the right opportunity - create the opportunity. Know what you want and then make a plan.
Which brings me to the next powerful tool for creating the life you want. In order for you to create the life you want you really need to know what that is. You need to understand yourself, the way that you work, the things that you value, to paint a picture of how you want things to be. When you can get super clear on what you really want and what the minimum requirements are for you - you'll see how the things you DON'T want begin to slip away.
An example of that is I used to have friends and relations who would show up on my door, unannounced, sometimes drunk, who would then make me feel uncomfortable in my own home. One in particular who would routinely show up, and even after I went to bed they would stay awake all night (and obviously affect my sleep), and then they would sleep on the lounge and have the audacity to complain when I had to do my housework or take care of my son the next day while they were trying to sleep. Now I loved that person. With all of my heart. I also knew that they weren't very well so I made allowances but after a while, it began to affect MY mental health. I had to figure out what I wanted and also what I needed, and I had to take care of that. So I worked with someone to figure that out. I actually went to someone at the Salvation Army because someone had told me that they work with a lot of people in similar circumstances. When I spoke to the lady I said "I love this person. I want to care for them but I can't deal with all their problems AND be a good mum and actually survive myself". The lady explained to me how important it was for me to make my home a safe, secure and stable environment both for myself and my son, but also for that person so they actually had a clear example of what healthy looked like. So it became clear that I needed to learn what that was, how to create it and how to make that happen. I wrote down all the things that a safe, secure and stable environment had. All the unwritten, unspoken rules of a place like that and I made my house rules from that. Those house rules were my 'terms of entry'. They were my minimum requirements and when I wrote them down and made them clear and non-negotiable it became much easier for me to enforce them. I knew what I needed and I knew what I wanted. That made it much easier for me to create that. Now I'll probably use this example again and I will nut through a bit more of it when I am going deeper into relationships but for now all I want you to do is to take away three things:
1. The life you want is possible. It IS. I’m sure you’ve heard me say it before and no doubt I'll say it again. No matter where you've come from or where you are at, you can create a life that is meaningful and joyful. If I can come from being homeless at fifteen and go through awful addictions and alcoholism and have serious anger issues and lack of understanding of how the world works to me now; successful, happy and free to live my life however I want to and helping to change the world and live my dream... I'm pretty damn sure that anyone can and I'm going to help you so you're not even doing it alone!
2. Education is the most powerful tool you have. The good thing about that is, these days there is sooo much available out there for free. Here in Australia you can study for practically nothing. You can go to Uni, have your fees deferred until you're earning a good living, and then the government will even pay you while you study! Plus, even if you're working nowadays there is so much available online that there's no excuse to not study. There are even free courses out there - and videos, blogs and podcasts like mine that are completely free.
3. Knowing what you want is essential for getting it. If you don't bother to really investigate that in a way that gets you some real clarity then you will probably NEVER have the clarity you need to create the goals to achieve it. I will do some posts on how to discover some of that so if this is your area of weakness don’t despair - you’re not alone here.
Next week I'm going to talk about HOW you can figure out what you want... Starting with understanding yourself. Understanding yourself is important because when you know a bit more about yourself you can see what is going to really work for you and what won't. So let’s delve into that together next time.
Ciao for now.
PS: If you’re floundering and think coaching might be a good fit for you - hit me up. Head to my coaching page and book in for a free 15 minute consult to see if I can help. You never know until you try.