Strategies for Saving Your Sanity Through Personal Responsibility

personal development Jul 27, 2009
How not to feel stressed and keep your sanity

On Saturday, July 18th, Dr. Mike Thomson led an information packed personal development session with the iLearningGlobal mastermind on Strategies for Saving Your Sanity in Tough Times. Dr. Mike, as he's affectionately called around the world, has lectured around the world to over 2 million people on topic of personal development, professional development and success strategies. He has worked with people and organizations that cut across virtually every type of business. Dr. Mike was appointed the national spokesman for the Better Business Bureau's Center for Character and Ethics and developed the very popular program Putting the Better Back in Business Starts With You. He also has a series of popular packages that includes Strategies for Saving Your Sanity in Parenthood. You can learn more about Dr. Mike on his website.

Have you ever felt someone was "driving you crazy"? Someone at work? A family member? A friend? Let explore why feel worked up and what you can do about it. As a framework for our discussion we can use Dr. Mike's 6 critical questions to save your sanity.

6 Critical Questions to Save Your Sanity

1) Who owns the problem?

Is the problem you are being presented with by the person really your problem? Are you taking ownership that really doesn't belong with you? By taking ownership of someone else's problem, are you really helping them? Dr. Mike gives a great example of this. Let's say your child has a project due on Monday morning and has spent the entire weekend involved in activities but not working on the project. Suddenly he or she comes to you in a panacea on Sunday night and says "I just remembered, I have a big project due tomorrow and I need a whole bunch of supplies in order to do it. Can you run out to the store?" Now your level of anxiety shoots up and you run out of the house to try to get to the store before it closes or it gets too late for your child to work on the project. You feel angry about the last minute request, the inconvenience, and lack of responsibility. You also feel concerned, after all you want your child to do well in school you tell yourself.

This is a perfect example of the parent taking on the child's problem. However people do this all the time in their relationships at work and with family and friends. By taking on someone else's problem, you are creating stress in your life, which can get in the way of you being truly supportive. In fact you are enabling and encouraging such behavior to continue.

In this situation, what you need to do are 2 things. First, let the problem remain with the person who's problem it is. Second, examine your own feelings about not taking on the other person's problem. Your problem, especially at first, is dealing with your feelings (do you feel like a bad parent/friend/spouse?). Eventually you'll come to be comfortable with letting go and then be able to offer a different support to the person seeking help.

2) Who owns the responsibility?

Who is the person that has the responsibility for the problem. In the example above, the child started with both owning the problem and the responsibility for the problem. Once the parent agrees to the store, you still have the child owning the problem, but the parent has now taken responsibility for it. By taking responsibility for someone else's problem, you have now accepted the worry and stress of the problem, but you will not receive the reward of working through the problem. The lesson that's being taught is irresponsibility. Is that really what you want? Is that what you want to be giving up your sanity for?

3) Who made the decisions?

Are you responsible for the decisions that created the problem? Making the decisions gives responsibility and ownership of the problem. Did you tell you child not to do their homework and do something else instead? However, if the child just "forgot" or was more interested in other things, then they made the decision.

4) Who has the power? Is it me?

To you have the power, the authority to follow through and make your decision come through to reality? You have complete power over your thoughts and actions.

5) Who has the control?

Who has control over the situation? Related to who has the power, who has the control as

6) Who makes the choices?

Who is making the choice? If you think someone else is making the choices about your life, take a look again. If you think someone else is making a choice for you, take a look again. Is your choice to let someone else make a choice for you? If that's happening, it's time to look deep ask yourself why and what are you going to do about it.

In our example of a child who doesn't get his/her school project done, you might here a protest of "You're going to make me fail." The answer there is "No, I'm not going to make you fail, choices to do x, y and z instead of your project will. G to your teacher and let them know that you made a poor choice and live with the consequences

Good choice. Poor choice. My choice.

Dr. Mike tells a success story apply these principles in real life. A child says "My Mom and Dad used to put me to bed early when I did something wrong. Now it's my poor choices that do."

It's all about personal responsibility, personal choice. How will you put these strategies into practice?

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