Life is full of surprises! When was the last time you experienced a change of plans? When was the last time you didn’t get your way? Maybe you got stuck in traffic on a day that you were delivering an important presentation and showed up 30 minutes late? Perhaps the weather interfered with a long overdue vacation? Have you received some less than favorable news lately that put a substantial amount of stress and anxiety. Life is far from perfect, it is critical that we understand this.
Stress is the result of attempting to carry a burden that you were never meant to carry in the first place. Anxiety results when you accept responsibility that was not your’s to begin with. Sometimes I wonder why we make things so complicated. I often look around and observe the world that is happening around me. This past week I was in the heart of NYC and was amazed by the pace that seemed “normal” to everyone around me. I was dodging people on the sidewalk and trying to avoid getting run over by crazy taxi drivers in the street! The abundance of activity was most definitely stressful and when I finally arrived at my destination I found that I was 15 minutes late.
I was trying to make sense of all this and justify my tardiness. I thought about passing blame to my circumstances, but in the moment I somehow managed to redeem perspective. The fact of the matter is that I was responsible for tardiness. In the midst of the chaos encountered on my path, I remembered one of top core convictions…”life is not about me.” Why should anyone stop what they were doing in that moment to make my path easier? Every person on the street had the same rights to the path as I did. I should have left my hotel earlier. I should have taken a different route. There were a number of things that I could have done to reduce the likelihood of the outcome I experienced.
It is amazing how liberating responsibility can feel. Flashback to my entrance to the meeting for which I was extremely late…I apologized and carried on. I did not attempt to excuse myself and I resisted the temptation to blame. Much to my delight, I was met with grace! The company that greeted me were accommodating and understanding as they knew I was not familiar with my surroundings. These wonderful people gave me the benefit of the doubt, I believe because I accepted responsibility for my actions.
I learned a valuable lesson that day, one that I will carry forever. Whenever there could be a chance that I’m to blame, I pick it up with my head up and proceed. A “Heads Up” mentality leads courageously, accepts responsibility and rejects passivity. I refuse to take on the victim mindset no matter how convenient it might be in the moment. When your head is up, you mind is open and your guard is down. This is an attitude that has served me well and I will do everything in my power to carry it now and from this day forward.