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;Taking Responsibility

Responsibility: the state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management.

How well do you take responsibility for your behavior and actions? Let’s face it, at the end of the day all we have control over is how we respond to our world. How we choose to respond can be life-changing.Think about your week and some of the things that went wrong or didn’t turn out the way you had hoped. Now think about how you justified those outcomes. Did you lose the game because of referees? Did you do poorly on the test because the teacher didn’t do a good job? Did you get grounded because your parents are so unreasonable and mean? Are you blaming your kid for putting you in a bad mood? Where is your finger pointing? Accepting responsibility is accepting the power to make a decision about how you choose to respond to events in your life. ; By blaming others we give away that power and become victims in the world.

So many times we find excuses, reasons, and more to explain away our slip-ups. Maybe it’s easier that way … get’s you off the hook from being responsible. In sports, umpires make bad calls, teammates make mistakes, coaches don't trust or don't understand you, well … welcome to the real world. ; Now what are you going to do about it? ; Champions, winners, put those set backs down and move forward with courage, focus and positive energy.I love to look at our ability to focus like an energy meter in a video game. ; You know the kind I mean. ; Every time our hero gets hit he loses a unit of energy until he is finally all out, then poof! ; Dead. ; Over time the energy comes back if our hero doesn't get hit for a while, or eats some magic potion. ; When competing, performing, or basically doing anything we only have, let's say ten units of energy. ; If all ten units are focused on the task at hand we have the best possible chance to be successful. ; If even one unit is not focused on the task at hand, then we are only 90% focused. ; We have a 10% less chance of being successful, and so on. ; ;

With time we can become refocused, but at what cost? ; How much have we given away in that time? ; ;Is the game now out of reach? ; Have you given up? ; Have you been pulled from the game? ;I recently watched a very good pitcher struggle with his units of energy. ; He was having a hard time throwing strikes. ;Then he threw a pitch he believed to be strike, but the umpire called it a ball. ; It was the excuse he was looking for. ; He switched his focus to how "bad" this umpire was. ; He began cursing under his breath, and his body language told the story. ; He was angry because he felt he was being victimized. ; The truth is his mechanics were out of whack, but frustrated with the results of his efforts to get them under control, he chose to pour his units of energy into this new center of focus. ; The ump! ; He felt that he was battling and being courageous, but this... this ...umpire was the real enemy! ; If we agree that the loss of even one unit of energy reduces our chances of being successful, then we can see that this pitcher was not being courageous. ; He was chickening out. ; Needless to say, he never did recover and it was a lost effort never to be retrieved.

This year’s World Series (2013) has had spectacular examples of focus both on an individual and team basis. ; Jon Lester was pitching a great game, and gave up a crush job bomb to Matt Holliday. ; Then he came within inches of giving up another one to Carlos Beltran, followed by a line drive out to short. ; Lester had every excuse to lose focus on the task at hand and let the results tell him he was in trouble. ; The following inning he was right back in the groove and turned in a stellar outing. ; He had a consecutive scoreless innings streak that was causing his name to be mentioned with some of the all time greats. ; He simply kept on keeping on without giving away any of his units of energy. ; He gave himself the best chance to be successful by taking responsibility for his response to adversity, moving on and staying in the moment.There are many tools to help us be better at all this. ; ;

The first-step is to develop the awareness that you may be giving away your energy and focus. ; Then you've got to decide you don't want to do that anymore, or at least get better at not giving it away. ; That is trickier than one might think. ; I work with a lot of young athletes. ; Many of them are very talented high school athletes destined to do great things. ; Often, they are so tied to their emotions that they are just dying to find an excuse for any misstep. ; Getting the buy in to not be ruled by their emotions is a big paradigm shift. ; Many are taught that playing sports is all about the emotional highs! ; However, what goes up must come down, and so you hear professional athletes always talking about not getting too high or too low. ; The truth is when you trade in the roller coaster for a more stable permeating confidence, competition will show you levels of joy not often experienced. ; This joy follows the athlete off the field and into the rest of their lives. ; It's the confidence of knowing that no matter what the challenge, someone is going to have to beat you because you just aren't going to beat yourself. ; Even when the chips are down, and you've dropped the ball you stand tall and a little excited about the uphill battle you have the opportunity to climb. ; ; Real competitors thrive in these moments. ;

Taking responsibility for your behavior and actions in response to the things life throws at you is the ONLY power you have. Don’t give it away. Use it and be a great example to those around you. Don’t jump on the finger-pointing bandwagon because it’s easier. Be different. The result is clarity and empowerment. ;You grow and become much more capable of handling adversity … you become increasingly more resilient.

Need some help and guidance in learning how to own responsibility? Give me a call. ;Paul Hannigan, MS Performance EnhancementComfortable Being UncomfortablePHannigan8@gmail.com714-356-0678 ;