Do you know what it’s really about?

I was discussing with a group of clients the difference between our thoughts and facts, a concept that can take a while to really understand. And one coaching client said it brilliantly:

“It’s not what’s going on; it’s what I think about what’s going on.”


When we think it’s about “what’s going on” we give power to what’s “out there.” That’s when we blame our feelings and actions on something or someone outside of us. You know…

  • My coworker needed last-minute help on a project…I had to work overtime.
  • He always runs late…it makes me so mad.
  • She offered me wine…I didn’t want to be rude and say no.
  • The office manager brought in a box from the Brown Butter Cookie Company…those are my kryptonite!
  • It was too dark when I got home…I couldn’t go for my walk.

Notice that the locus of control is outside of you: a co-worker, friend, partner, food, time of day.

Here’s the thing. You can give away that control, and most people would nod in agreement as you told your story. But does it get you what you want?

And if it’s a rarity, probably no biggie.

But if you regularly locate responsibility for your feelings and behaviors outside of yourself, you’ll stay stuck.

Did you hear that?

If we blame other people and things for the fact that we’re not keeping our commitments to ourselves – essentially, not making ourselves a priority – there will always be something or someone to blame. And that doesn’t require any change on our part.

And, we stay stuck.

Any of those examples resonate somewhat? Take a look at where you might be using “what’s going on” as an excuse for not following through. For not doing all the things.

In his book, The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks talks about conflict in relationships and the idea that “if both people will claim 100 percent responsibility, there’s a possibility of ending the conflict.”

What if we take 100 percent responsibility for our thoughts, feeling, and actions? Not so that we can beat the crap out of ourselves, but so we can reclaim the power of our decisions.

I was teaching a group of clients around the difference between our thoughts and facts, when one coaching client said it brilliantly...
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

What difference would that make in your health and weight loss? For that matter, in your work and relationships, too?

Give it a week. Take 100 percent responsibility for all of it. How can you use that to significantly move yourself forward?

What’s your surprising lesson?

It’s interesting. We’ve been talking about things as though “2020” is relegated to this calendar year.

But as best we can tell, next year likely holds more of the same.

I’m not trying to be a downer. But I don’t do fake optimism. I’m all for feeling everything that comes up and then deciding what to do with it. Because the alternative is to resist our reality (you know…head, meet wall). Circumstances are what they are – our lessons, our responses, are in our control.

My client said to me during our coaching session last month, “The lesson of COVID is increased flexibility. I haven’t been as hard on myself when I fall short.”

Do you know how big that is for her? How big it is for most women? Mind. Blowing. Big.

Don’t skip over that. We’re masters at telling ourselves we could/should be better.

That we really messed that one up.

That we’ll never get our act together and, you name it…

Stop overeating.

Actually lose weight.

Finally stop talking down to ourselves.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

That one lesson is incredibly valuable. But it can’t be just head knowledge. How many books have you read that you’ve long since forgotten the title of, let alone the premise? It’s got to be ingrained. Practiced. It must become part of your being.

What’s your lesson?

It need not be humungous. And maybe it’s several small ones.

Acknowledge them. Write them down. Take time to appreciate them, to notice the positive impact on your life (relationships, health, work) …there’s not one area of your life unaffected by the lessons.

If you find yourself resisting a lesson, even thinking there are none, pay attention. The lessons are there when you’re ready for them. If you’re resisting them, they affect you anyway. But not in the way you want.

My hope for you, for me, for all my clients, is that we keep learning the next lesson. That we let it make us better. Stronger. Whether 2021 brings catastrophes or victories, be ready for it. Don’t let the circumstances of the world determine the year you’re going to have. Decide how you will come to it. Decide what’s important to you. To live up to your values. To remain in integrity with yourself.

I said at the beginning that I don’t do fake optimism. That said, I’m incredibly optimistic. I see people making incredible strides to better themselves in spite of the circumstances. And that tells me, it will last.

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