When I went through the most difficult challenge of my life, I made these five commitments that helped me come back better and not bitter. I shared them in a subsequent book, Where Will You Go From Here?: Moving forward when life doesn’t go as planned.
- I will not feel sorry for myself.
- I will not stare at the closed door.
- I will direct my thoughts. My thoughts will not direct me.
- I will dig deep to unearth all the courage I need.
- I choose to believe all things work together for good.
But this week, I feel compelled to challenge you to consider one more commitment to help you grow through your mistakes and challenges: Own the role you played in your setback. Own it. Not to beat yourself up, but to avoid repeating the mistake. Owning your role means letting go of blame.
The most successful people in life are often the ones who fail the most. They overcome their fears and go for it – whatever “it” is. They live fully, not wanting to fail, but also not afraid to fail. They know that failure and mistakes offer the opportunity to make tweaks by learning what works well and what doesn’t.
What setback or challenge are you dealing with right now? What role did you play in the situation? What would shift if you admitted your role? When the situation involves others, and you seem to be at an impasse, it is powerful to simply acknowledge the role you played in the whole situation. It requires humility. It requires honesty. Both humility and honesty open the door to authentic relationships. You can be dead wrong, but if you own your part, grace and forgiveness can emerge. “I was so wrong about that. I am sorry. Here’s what I would like to do moving forward.”
When the setback or mistake affects only you, you need to be just as humble and honest with yourself. In my biggest life setback, I did all that I could to fix the problem. Much of the problem wasn’t anything I created. It was simply the circumstances that presented themselves. However, there was one part I could own: I didn’t wait on God before I had proceeded down the path that created the problem in the first place. In other words, if I had been patient, the whole mess would have never occurred. It wasn’t something I liked admitting, but it is was empowering because with one decision I could have saved myself the big mess I had to clean up. It was a new perspective that gave me new wisdom that empowered me to make the right decision the next time around.
I don’t know what situation this applies to in your life right now, but I hope you’ll stop a moment and consider the way in which it is time to own your part. Let go of the blame and think critically about your choices. You have the power to change your entire life, but only when you look honestly at the choices you make and make adjustments that empower you to make better choices as you learn and grow along your journey.
My challenge to you this week: Own your part in the challenges you face.
Journaling assignment: What setback or challenge are you dealing with right now? What role did you play in the situation? What would shift if you admitted your role? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you.