Chapter 2: Taking 100% Responsibility

Activation Exercise

Taking responsibility involves some introspection. It’s so ingrained in us to deflect blame onto others; it’s become habitual, and by definition, we don’t bring much consciousness to our habits. Journaling is a great way to gain self-awareness. In particular, when we pose questions to ourselves, our answers can reveal insights that we didn’t know we had.

Here are some questions that will serve as prompts to uncover areas in which we may be able to increase our level of responsibility. The focus here is not on assigning blame or re-hashing old stories but on drawing a line in the sand from here and taking steps to move forward in freedom.


Which elements of my past do I tend to use as excuses for where I am today? How can I make a fresh start by taking ownership of my story from here?

Make a list of any external factors up until now that have formed part of your personal narrative. These may include your education, parents, social circle, addictions or any other circumstances which you have tended to call ‘bad luck’.


What upsetting or traumatic events have come with me into my present life, and continue to colour the way I act today? How can I come to a place of acceptance of these events? How can I make a plan to move forward without them following me any longer?

It may be that you need the help of a therapist or other professional to analyse these questions. If so, please do reach out for help. If there are events from your past that you are not yet ready to visit, again, there are many professionals who can help you. Please note that these events are not your fault. You are not responsible for them having happened to you. The objective of this line of questioning is to help you shift your mindset away from resistance and towards acceptance, and to know that you are empowered to own how you move forward with your life.


Taking responsibility means both accepting what happens to us and how we act, react, and feel, and owning the fact that we can choose how we move forward. When we can accept and own our circumstances, thoughts and actions, we are empowered.

Name any areas of conflict, or any pain-points, in your relationships with:

  • Your partner
  • Your children
  • Other family members
  • Friends
  • Colleagues

For each situation, ask yourself the following:

  • Whom have I held responsible for this issue up until now?
  • In what ways can I take responsibility for my part?
  • In what way is this issue holding me back from living my fullest life?
  • What steps can I take to solve this issue?
  • What would be the benefits of doing this?

Name any external factors that you feel are currently not serving you.

These may include the economy, the weather, social media, your job, etc.

For each situation, ask yourself the following:

  • In what ways is this situation holding me back?
  • Is it within my control to solve this problem?
  • If not, how can I take proactive steps to compensate for this problem?
  • If so, what steps can I take to solve this issue?
  • What would be the benefits of doing this?

One thing I’ve noticed time and time again as I’ve started to build this muscle is that while we tend to resist taking responsibility very strongly (because we equate taking responsibility with ‘taking the blame’), when we do it it’s super-empowering. It’s empowering because the sky doesn’t fall, and we can move on with our lives in a much more productive way than if we continue to deny and resist our responsibilities. Good luck with taking the next steps on this front! One small way to do it is to take responsibility with your kids or your colleagues. Here’s an example.

The other day I was exhausted and under the weather. Yes, my kids were being fairly painful and demanding, but I over-reacted and was really grumpy with them. When I’d calmed down, I replayed the events and saw that I was at least in part to blame. I sat them both down one by one, asked their forgiveness, and explained to them that because I’d been exhausted, I hadn’t been as resilient as I should have been. I told them that I had made a decision to prioritise my self-care over my productivity, because having enough reserves to be able to enjoy and care for them is my highest priority. We cuddled it out. This was an easy one for me because the alternative, which was my children blaming themselves or not being able to show me their needs, was not an option. We’re all learning, so go easy on yourself!

Resources for Chapter 2

The Miracle Equation: The Two Decisions That Move Your Biggest Goals from Possible, to Probable, to Inevitable: from the author of The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod –

This very action-oriented and supremely motivating sequel ensures you embed your goals into your daily routine

The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, Jack Canfield – A classic. Great anecdotes

If I Could Tell You Just One Thing…: Encounters with Remarkable People and Their Most Valuable Advice, Richard Reed – One to flip through when you need to be inspired. Don’t skip the names you’re not familiar with – they’re some of the most uplifting stories!

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R Covey – Brilliantly written and actionable

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: the heartfelt, funny memoir by a New York Times bestselling therapist, Lori Gottlieb – I loved everything about this: great therapist advice and heartbreakingly raw stories of humanity

Leave a Reply