Early in 2010, I was laid off from my job and began working at a call center. They were quickly promoting me to other departments and eyeing me for management after a month. I also had a side gig building a website for an Ad agency I used to work with (the previous job directed them to me).
But the call center is a bad place for someone who doesn’t like to be on the phone. Though I didn’t have any desire to be there, I worked it like it was the only game in town. All the while, I was hinting to the Ad agency that I would love to work with them full time.
Out of the blue, I was called by a temp agency to work with the company that handled Jim Rohn. Their graphic designer was leaving on Friday and they needed me to come on Wednesday.
I had no idea how the temp agency got my number but I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity.
The job consisted of creating one email newsletter a week. As soon as I finished I would hound my coworker for anything else to do. A month later, they were trying to hire someone for the position and I begged my manager to hire me. I interviewed with four different VPs and managers and they all said, “Don’t you already work here?”
All that background information is really just to paint the picture of how much gratitude I had for this job. One of the perks was a huge library of personal development materials. Some call them self-help books.
And I drank the Kool-Aid.
Soon after I started, all the employees were given a copy of The Compound Effect, the first book from the publisher of SUCCESS magazine, Darren Hardy.
I read it and loved it. I listened to the Audio CDs on the way to work. He mentioned Jim Rohn was his mentor so I checked out Jim’s CDs and books.
One of the most impressive things I learned was about the idea of responsibility. I noticed how it sets people apart. This is going to seem harsh but accepting this idea changed my life.
You know how if you have an empty glass, it is essentially filled with air? Now if you fill the glass with water, then the glass is filled with water. The air is replaced. You can not have two things fill the same vessel.
It’s like that with responsibility. I can have excuses and be a victim or I can choose to be responsible. My glass can only be full of one.
If I am working on a project and mess up, even on something unforeseen, I have to swallow whatever I am feeling and say, “I should have handled that differently”. Learn and then move on. Grow and get better.
If something totally out of my control or a tragedy happens, I might not be responsible for the tornado that hit, but I am responsible for what I do next. Do I pick up the pieces and move on or choose to let the tragedy get the best of me?
The craziest part of what Darren said was in the realm of relationships. He posed the question, in a relationship what percentage of the responsibility is yours? If you are a husband or wife and things are bad for your marriage how much is your fault? Is it 50-50?
He claimed that no, in all your relationships, you are 100% responsible.
It blew me away.
Once I understood that choosing to live my life like I am one hundred percent responsible for everything that happens, I can never be a victim.
It would be very easy to live the other way and I wouldn’t blame anyone for doing so. I certainly have struggled with it. But instead of choosing to have events affect me totally out of my control, I prefer to feel that I am in control.
It puts me back in the driver’s seat.