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EP #12: Empowering Yourself For Change

MMM 012 | Empowering Yourself

Empowering yourself for a great change in your life happens when you take accountability and responsibility from everything that is happening in your life. Whatever results you have right now in your life is caused by you. Once you choose to be responsible for your actions, you’re also given the choice of what your next step would be. Having consciousness of that next step gives you the power to change your life and find the solutions to your problems.

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Empowering Yourself For Change

If you haven’t caught the Fundamentals of Mind Mastery, we encourage you to check out the first ten episodes because we’re getting into how to use all of these moving parts and how to create massive change in your life that you’re going to be able to enjoy forever. In the last episode we are talking about why can changing your life be so hard and what to do to make it even easier, what to do when things come your way. In this episode, we’re talking about responsibility and accountability. We’re talking about something that may seem obvious to you or to a lot of other people, but we find that we’ve gotten tripped on it before. A lot of other people have gotten tripped up on this and it’s a critical concept to get down so that you can fully change any portion of your life, whether it’s your business, relationships, health, anything.

One of the biggest things in being able to create change and sustainable change in your life is taking responsibility and accountability for who you are and where you are. Once you take accountability and responsibility for your life, you have the power to change it. We’re going to be diving deep into understanding not just the concepts of it, but understanding how cause or effect works or the levels of awareness, the types of behavior that you have. We’re also going to dive into opening up into secondary gain which is a fun topic, that we’ll save for another episode, but just to start to pre-frame for you what is coming.

Sophie brought up two important terms that we’re going to use throughout this whole episode. The first one is cause and the second one is effect. These are absolutely critical because if you’re on the wrong side of this thing, changing is going to be hard. If you’re on the right side of it, nothing will be able to stop you. The very first term that you got to know is cause. What does it mean to be at cause? It’s simple. You are the cause of all of the results in your life. When you are fully at cause, it means that you accept and take on everything that comes with the following statement, that where you are now is the sum total of all of the conscious and unconscious decisions you’ve ever made. That’s absolutely critical. What it means is that, in one way or another, your choices have given you everything you’ve ever experienced, whether you want them or not, whether you like them or not. That is empowering, although a lot of people will try to avoid this by going into effect.

MMM 012 | Empowering Yourself
Empowering Yourself: Once you take accountability and responsibility for your life, you have the power to change it.

Going into effect is where we would say these victim behaviors come from because we are living at effect of the rest of the world, believing that we don’t have any control over our circumstances or over our life. Where we are and who we are is because of the environment, the government, our parents, our grandparents, our genetic disposure, or whatever else we can look at and say, “That’s the reason, not me.” When we’re starting to look at cause or effect, it’s understanding number one, are you and are the people that you know living from the place of believing that they are in control and they are the 100% sole reason or taking responsibility and ownership for where they are in their life? Are they saying they are where they are because of all these things that are outside of them that they have no control over?

There are a few different symptoms of this behavior of giving up your control, giving up your responsibility. The first one is scapegoating. I live in LA, so all the time you hear it, “I left on time. It was the traffic and that’s why I’m an hour late to this meeting.” You know you live in LA. It’s not like traffic just started right now. It’s all the time. Why don’t you take responsibility, check on that traffic even earlier, and then adjust your behavior? When you say, “It’s your fault, not me,” then all of a sudden, in order to get a different result, you’ve got to change someone else. “It’s the world’s problem. It’s not me. I’m okay. I’ve done everything right. It’s just life that is so mean or unfair.” Now you have to change life. Now you have to go out there and change the whole world, so you can get a different result. Good luck.

It brings me into a concept that I want to share with you called the levels of awareness or the accountability ladder. The way that this works is understand that as you become more aware, you start to go through these different levels. The first level that you go through is what we would call being unaware. You don’t know that there’s anything else other than where you are. You think that this is all there is. There is nothing that you can do about it, that’s it. As soon as you recognize that there is something different than where you are, that you can have or be or do something else and you realize that you are not where you want to be, the next level is you start to blame others. We start to say, “It’s my parents’ fault. It’s the government’s fault. It’s my sister’s fault. It’s everyone else’s fault but my own.” When you run out of people to blame, you move into the third level, which is coming up with excuses, “I’m too old. I’m too young. I’m too tired. I don’t have the education. I just don’t know what to do.” When you run out of excuses, you move into the fourth level and this is where you may find a lot of people spend their time, waiting and hoping, “I’m going to sit here and hope it happens. I’m going to sit here and wish for it and think positively. One day it’s going to just magically appear and my life is going to transform even though I’m not doing anything.” These first four levels are what we call victim behaviors.

It’s when you are living an effect of the world around you and you become powerless because you put the power outside of yourself. You’re believing that you have no control or no ability to change your life and you’re waiting for something outside of you to change something inside of you. What needs to happen here is we need to make that step into this fifth level, which is acknowledging reality, becoming aware and acknowledging that, “I am where I am because of who I am. This is what the reality of the circumstances are.” Next, we have to own it. We have to take back responsibility and acknowledge that, “I am fully responsible. I am at cause. Whether consciously or unconsciously, I have created this circumstance in my life.” Once you own it, this is where the entire game changes because then you have the power back to start to find solutions, which is the seventh step in this. When you start to look for, “What are the strategies, the different ways, the patterns, the things that I can start implementing to create change and get me from where I am to where I want to be?” Don’t stop there. We all know that person who has the answer for everything but is still unhappy and miserable. That’s why the last step of this ladder is taking action. You have to not just find solutions, but implement and act on those solutions consistently. These four steps are what we would call the accountable behaviors. It’s where you become powerful. It’s where you become the victor, and you are living at cause because things are happening because of who you are.

The important thing here as well is when you are getting to that level where you’re seeing what’s going on and you’re accepting and acknowledging your responsibility for the creation of all your results, you’ve got to make sure that you are taking in the full brunt of everything. It can be very easy to magnify our successes and all of the things that go well and go right that we like. It can be very easy to minimize everything we don’t. That’s another way to give up power, give up responsibility, and then give up your ability to do things. I had a roommate who had a migraine about every day for a whole month before he went to the doctor. I’m thinking, “What are you thinking? There’s pain in your brain everyday for 30 days before you go to the doctor?” Every day he is like, “It’s not that bad. It’s not excruciating yet. It’s not like a stabbing pain yet. I haven’t lost motor function yet.” I laughed at him because that was our relationship and he would minimize everything. How many times have you done that? How many times have you looked at a problem, “I don’t like my job and I’ve created it?” You’re starting to take responsibility but you’re saying, “I don’t hate it. They haven’t abused me yet. It hasn’t gotten bad enough that I should quit or get a different job or go after what I want.” It can be easy to fall into that trap and say, “I’m taking full responsibility. I know that I’ve caused this,” but until you fully recognize everything for what it is, as important and as big as what it could be, then you’re giving up your power to change it.

[Tweet “You have to not just find solutions, but implement and act on those solutions consistently.”]

It’s crucial and I want to emphasize the importance of acknowledging the power that you do have. I was having a conversation with a client and she was talking about how she wants to be able to create her best year yet. She wants to be able to decide, “How do I make 2018 so much better because 2017 has been so crappy?” She started to come up with all these reasons like, “I don’t understand why all of these things keep happening to me.” We got into some of the conversations, talking about what we’ve talked about in previous episodes, understanding how powerful your emotional state is. We got into this conversation and I asked her this question, “What had been the main five emotions that you’ve been living with up until this point?” She named them all: fear, lack, stress, anxiety, and worry. Every single day, she is behaving from this emotional place and she is only able to create from that emotional place. Because of that the result that she was getting, conscious or not, were equal to her emotional state. Even though consciously, she’s like, “I want to grow my business. I want to get to the next level. I want it to be able to have all these high-paying clients and execute all these incredible things,” emotionally, she was self-sabotaging because she was living from such a negative emotional state that she was only able to create more lack, more stress, more anxiety, and more worry. It was becoming aware of, “I am responsible for the results in my life because of how I’ve been showing up emotionally.” That, for her, was a game changer. It was like, “I need to take responsibility for my emotional intelligence and own my emotional state and how I’m showing up and start to do the work so that I can create from a more abundant state of being.”

I love that you brought up the importance of a powerfully positive emotional standard. I have times when I’m a little stressed out or I’m focusing on what I don’t want, and I bring myself back up to my standard, but it’s important to remember that you’re also at cause for how you feel. Ultimately, nothing on the outside of you can change who or what you are on the inside of you. That is yours. A lot of times people say, “I would feel great, but this person makes me so mad. This thing makes me feel so stressed out,” or, “I feel great. It’s the holidays and my family is nuts.” All of these are scapegoating. It’s saying that other people have control over what I feel more than I do and “I would be in this positive emotion to create my life but,” and then the excuses and the scapegoats and the minimizations and all this other stuff comes out. It’s important to remember that people or things may happen around you, but you choose how to respond to them. We’ve already given you a bunch of tools and we’re going to give you even more so that you can stay in control of how you think and feel at all times. It reminds me of a guy back in New York City who got robbed about seven times, which is bananas to me, especially since I grew up in New Jersey. I used to go up to New York all the time and I’ve never even seen anybody get robbed and I’ve never gotten robbed, but maybe that’s because of my mindset.

This guy got robbed once on his way to work and thought, “It’s New York, no big deal.” On the second time he got robbed, he thought that maybe he was going a little too late back from the office, back home. He worked at night. This was in the ‘80s, a dicey place, so he started going even earlier and he got robbed again. He figured maybe he was just working in a crappy area, so he changed offices and he got robbed again. He thought maybe he’s just living in the wrong part. He was living in Queens, so he lived a little closer to Manhattan, and he got robbed again. He thought maybe New York City was just full of criminals, so he moved to Philadelphia, and got robbed in Philadelphia. It kept on happening until he started looking at himself. He got a coach and they discovered that somewhere in his mind, somewhere in his unconscious, there was the belief that he was a victim. There is the belief, “I am a victim. Life is unfair. Life is cruel. I’m weak.” He was walking around with a target on his back and so people would see him and think, “I’d lose money if I don’t rob this guy. I got to go rob this guy.” It kept on happening until he changed that belief. Those decisions within him and everything chilled out. He never got robbed again. I don’t think it was a surprise to find out that he also got bullied in school.

We can see here that our emotions are very well at play to create what we have going on in our lives, but also these unconscious decisions that we’ve made about ourselves. Going back to the episode in which we talked about self-image, which is episode eight and episode nine, it’s all about beliefs. You’ve also got to be at cause for the beliefs that you’ve got in your mind because they will send out messages to the people, to the world, to life around you, to treat you in a very specific way. The universe will accept whatever decisions you’ve made about yourself and will treat you accordingly. You’ve got to realize that even though it may seem that these behaviors, these events, maybe even these tragedies, are happening purely outside of you, happening from other people, that it’s your choices, whether you know it or not, that have brought you to the point that allowed it to happen.

This reminds me of a conversation that I was having around how everything outside of us is almost like a mirror being held up to show us something that is inside of us that we need to work on. The phrase that we’ll often use is, “What is this triggering within me that needs to be healed?” An example of this is you can think of a wooden desk. If you rub against that wooden desk, it’s nice and smooth. If there is a nail or something sticking out and you rub against it or you rub your shoulder against it, your shirt is going to get snagged on that nail. It’s almost as if life is very much the same way. We’re walking through life and if we got something like a wound that’s coming up and we get snagged by life, something in us gets triggered by somebody or something. Something happens or occurs. It’s oftentimes an opportunity or a gift to hold up that mirror and say “This is happening. This is interesting. What is this showing in me that I need to start taking responsibility for?” Rather than saying, “It’s him, it’s her, it’s the government,” start to look inward to say, “What inside of me is being triggered that I need to heal?”

MMM 012 | Empowering Yourself
Empowering Yourself: You’re always in control of how you respond to life, whether things happened that you wanted or didn’t.

A very important process which I do all the time and I encourage other people to do, too, is you can take accountability. You can take responsibility for everything, even things that have nothing to do with you and you can get a lot of good out of it, even the things that are blatantly different or completely separate from you. If you’re in an office and you’re happily doing your work and one of your co-workers comes in a foul mood, it has nothing to do with you. They just came in. You didn’t do anything. It’s the first time you’ve seen him all day. Maybe you haven’t even talked to them in a week. If you look at it and you ask yourself, “How did I contribute to this? How did I help cause this? What in me is being mirrored by this?” you’ll get answers that may lead you to not only help them but helping yourself. Maybe you’ll learn something about yourself, maybe you’re going to become a little bit more aware of something within yourself, and so you’ll be able to get some healing, maybe some improvements in your life or your relationship with that person out of something that previously you might have completely ignored. I make it a habit. My first step is to assume that I created this thing, this event. If I can’t get there mentally, “That’s a little bit of a stretch, maybe I didn’t create it,” to think, “How did I contribute to it or how is this mirroring me?” and then use that to help myself and help other people, you could deal with anything.

All the time it’s so easy to look and say, “He’s the problem. They’re the problem. It’s everything else but me.” It’s recognizing that when you choose to do this, because it is a decision, you are giving up your power. You are putting your power back outside of you and you are stepping back into being a victim. When you are able to sit back and say, “This is interesting. What in me is being triggered that needs to get healed, some attention or some love?” To look at those emotions that are showing up for you right in that moment and start to do the work on those emotions and bringing your power back in, back to you, you become powerful and you can start living at cause rather than living at effect.

The whole idea of living at cause versus living at effect and accepting responsibility for everything that happened in your life does not necessarily mean that you wanted everything to happen. For example, if someone goes outside and a drunk driver comes out and hits him, being at cause does not mean that that person wanted it to happen. Of course, they didn’t want it to happen. Nobody wanted it to happen. However, their choices allowed them to be at that specific place, at that specific time, allowing for the event to happen. Taking responsibility for something does not mean that you desired it. We can allow ourselves to have even more patience and compassion with ourselves, because sometimes we’re responsible for things we would never want, but that’s okay. As long as you take responsibility, then you empower yourself to do something about it. There is the other side of that. You may have experienced something you never wanted at all, but then you take responsibility for its creation. On the other side, you take responsibility for how you respond. You’re always in control of how you respond to life, whether things happened that you wanted or didn’t.

There are a couple people who come to mind like the guy who created Murderball. I remember listening to an interview of his where he said that he was doing all right, but his life was fairly average. There was an accident he was in and he became a paraplegic. He couldn’t walk, paralyzed below the hips. Most people would get crushed by this because he used to be an active guy, and all of a sudden he’s in wheelchair. You’ve got the choice. In this situation, some people could give up all of their power and think, “Woe is me. This is a horrible thing that’s happened, and my life is over,” and just live in pity and darkness, but he chose the exact opposite. He chose to do something. He had to do something, “I’m not going to let this stop me from having my active lifestyle. I have a choice. I can do whatever I want with my life.” He created a sport that is called Murderball. It’s essentially indoor contact rugby by athletes in wheelchairs. They made specially constructed wheelchairs that can take a beating. These guys are tough. It is an intense sport and it made it to the Special Olympics. This guy has created a sport, this game that has given so many people hope, joy, and exercise that we need and love in life. He’s changed millions of people around the world who have either been inspired by the people playing this sport or play it themselves. It is like he lost his legs and learned how to fly because he made the choice to take full responsibility for his responses to life.

[Tweet “Own who you are, what you believe, your entire self-image or identity.”]

It speaks volumes because life is going to happen whether we wanted to or not. It happens to all of us. It comes down to what’s the meaning that we’re giving to the events in our lives. Are we saying, “Woe is me. Poor me. Life is happening to me,” or are we saying, “What’s the gift in this? Life is happening for me?” It sounds like this man has had the incredible ability to be able to do that and create some magic, not just for himself, but for an entire community, let alone the world, to inspire and help people find the light in some of the darkest places.

There is a film called Murderball. The sport did make it into the Paralympics and they’ve won all sorts of awards. It’s gone all over the world. This sport is played everywhere and there are teams. Within the Paralympics world, the people who play Murderball are legit celebrities. It’s given people so many opportunities to grow and to create their lives around something that they would have never been able to participate in unless they had that tragedy. It’s like so many people have turned what could be the worst thing that has ever happened to the best thing that’s ever happened to them and everybody knows them because they made a choice.

You hear it a lot, especially today where people talk about just think positive, but it’s so much more than just thinking positive. It’s being able to own your emotional state, own who you are, what you believe, and your entire self-image or your identity. In doing that, you become so much more powerful in what you are able to do, who you are, and the impact that you’re able to have.

Our next episode is going to be completely devoted to this, but in the transformation industry jargon. It’s called secondary gain. Secondary gain is essentially holding on to a problem because the perceived benefits that you get from holding onto the problem are greater than the perceived benefits you’ll get by letting go of the problem. That has everything to do with taking responsibility. One of my friends back in college used to smoke cigarettes all the time and he knew it was bad for him, but he chose to continue smoking because that was his way of meeting women. It was so easy back then, especially when a lot more people smoked. You can’t smoke indoors anymore so people would be outside and it’s easy to bum a cigarette off a stranger and then you’ve got to talk. It’s rude if you are just, “Thanks,” and run away. It was his end and he knew that it was bad. He was coughing and at one point, wanted to change, but he had made a decision to hold onto it. That goes into this idea of being at cause when it may seem like we want to get rid of this problem. We want to change this thing in our lives and yet we can still make the decision to hold on.

Oftentimes, especially when we get to this topic of secondary gain which we will be diving much deeper into the next episode, we’re unaware of it. We don’t understand, “I can’t seem to stop doing this. I can’t seem to break past this. I can’t seem to let this go.” Oftentimes, it’s something that is not even in our conscious awareness but in our unconscious. It’s being able to step into it and understand it and connect with that unconscious mind to understand, “Is there something that I’m getting from having this problem?”

[Tweet “Be aware of what you think and what you say.”]

Here is your task for this episode to help you truly master this concept of cause and effect. I want you to be aware of what you think and what you say. Any time you catch yourself saying or thinking something at effect or scapegoating, making excuses, maybe you are minimizing or maybe you’re just sitting and hoping and waiting for things to change on their own, I want you to flip it. Notice and be cool with yourself. It’s all right. “That was an effect, I’m even more powerful than that,” and then flip to being at cause. What would it be like? What would that thought be like? What would that sentence that you just said be like if you took full responsibility for the creation of the situation? Then maybe come up with a couple of different ways so you can practice. If you can take action on that, do it because that will set things into play for you. You’ll see in real time that just by switching the way you think one thought, one sentence, you can empower yourself to change your results. The more practice you get, the better you’ll get until you’ll be at cause taking action unconsciously and changing your life as a habit. That’s where we want to bring you.

On that note, enjoy this exercise. Leave us some emails and comments. We love hearing about how this is affecting your life and how you are causing and affecting your life. On the next episode, we will be diving deep into secondary gain.

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I'm Sophie Kessner

First generation Mexican American mama that’s gone from hood to strategic hustle. I’ve spent the last 10+ years inside the personal development space supporting 100’s of coaches in scaling 6 figure businesses online & supported 4 different companies in surpassing the 7 figure mark. Today, I focus on making scaling more sustainable by integrating the lenses of business, systems, automation and CEO Development through an Equity centered and Trauma informed lens.

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