There are times in our lives where one moment completely changes your perspective. Mine came during a particularly tough time of my life. My career wasn’t where I thought and hoped it would be. My finances were horrendous. I wasn’t happy with the way I looked. Let’s be honest. Things just sucked all around. It got to the point where I just wanted to get away from it all so I decided to stay a local hotel for the night to rest and regroup. Well, that didn’t go the way I planned. I didn’t have any if my usual distractions so my thoughts just churned in my mind. I was spiraling downward and decided that I needed to escape from the hotel. It was 3 am and a really stupid idea but it didn’t seem like it at the time. I had actually packed my bags and was ready to leave but I stopped myself. I decided to take a long, hot shower and if I still wanted to leave after that I could. It was soul-searching shower filled with sadness, anger and finally determination. By the end of it, I realized that running away from the hotel wouldn’t solve anything because (as I often tell my clients) wherever you go, there you are. Meaning that the issues that I had in my life would follow me no matter where I went because they were caused by my decisions I made and self-defeating and limiting thoughts. To change my life, I had to change my thinking.
As usual, I looked for a book to help and I went directly to one of my favorites, Success Principles by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer. I’ve started the book several times and have always been inspired by it. However, this time was different. This time my perspective was changed and so was my life. In the first chapter, they give a life-changing, E(vent) +R(esponse) =O(utcome). You can’t control every event in your life but you can control your response those events.
Think about it: Imagine that you got a less-than-stellar job performance review and you believe that you weren’t fairly evaluated. You can’t control the Event (the performance review) but you can control your response. You can complain to your co-worker (Hint: They don’t care). You can drown your sorrows in sleeves of frozen Thin Mints and glasses of wine. Or you can choose to respond in a productive way. Take a step back and look at your evaluation as objectively as possible. If there is incorrect objective information such as sales numbers, correct them in a professional manner. If your supervisor brought up subjective measurements, look for opportunities to improve and showcase your improvements. You can choose to look at the evaluation as a demoralizing moment or one of empowerment. It’s your life and it’s your choice.
The E+R=O equation works in all areas of life. Don’t like how you look? Get in the gym and (even more importantly) eat and drink healthier food and beverages. Bring something light and delicious to the office potluck. Go for a walk during lunchtime or breaks. Have student loans up the wazoo (raising my own hand on this one)? Create and follow a spending plan. Work with your lenders to come up with a workable repayment plan. Increase your income by freelancing, asking for a raise or selling unused things in your house. Look, I’m not saying that the changes will be easy. Odds are that they will be hard. Really hard. But they’ll also be worth it. Really worth it.
In the end, you’re the only person responsible for your life. You can’t control everything but you can control yourself. Start living your fullest, truest life today. Take one step at a time. You’re worth it. Really worth it.
What’s one area that you would like to be in more control of?