Often we hear the sentiments “take care,” “be careful,” “be well” or even “be safe.” How often do you hear “take charge”? When we take charge of our lives, our actions and our decisions, we have a much greater opportunity for optimal well-being.
How do you take charge of your life if someone else has made all of your decisions? The first sign is that you feel unsettled or uncomfortable when someone asserts control and makes decisions for you. You know you have an idea of what you want. Maybe you want a cheeseburger instead of a salad, or you want to go to a cabin in the woods instead of the beach. Maybe you want to be a schoolteacher instead of a lawyer.
“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” — Jim Rohn
Do you want to be dependent on others to take care of you? Or do you want to be able to take care of yourself? Unless you are like the mother in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and know how to manipulate (take charge) your husband into thinking that your idea was really his idea, you may want to learn how to take charge of your own life.
“The moment you accept responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you gain the power to change anything in your life.” — Hal Elrod
Healthy choices are key in taking charge of your life. You’ve probably experienced eating foods that make you feel energized, and some that make you feel sleepy or sluggish. You most likely know the difference between the energy you feel after a good workout versus not having any energy after just sitting on the couch all day. What about education? Do you know all you want to know or need to know to get you to the next level in life?
Knowledge is the power to choose. When you are properly informed or educated on a topic, you have the ammunition you need to make better decisions. Which choices do you think are going to lead you to having more fire and drive in your life?
It’s also important to look forward and see where you want to be. I love the analogy of the ghosts of past, present and future. If all of your ghosts showed up tonight, what would they see and say? Have you looked at the choices you made and where they got you? Do you feel content, satisfied, complete? Or do you long for change, newness and forward thinking? When you sink into the ghost-of-the-future-you, what do you see? Someone who took charge and has the life they dreamed of? Or are you still slogging through old patterns and behaviors?
“Take charge of your life! The tides do not command the ship. The sailor does.” — Ogwo David Emenike
When my eldest son was younger, people would ask him a question and he seemed to freeze and would not answer. I thought it considerate to the one asking to answer on behalf of my son. I thought this action would make my son feel included and less threatened or unsure about answering. All seemed normal and we carried on. It was many years later that my son let me know that he felt that he got so used to me answering questions for him that it possibly contributed to him feeling more awkward in social and conversational situations. It was such a habit for me that I didn’t even realize what had happened. If I had just been more patient and let him answer in his own time, or not at all, he would have actually been more in control and could have developed different social traits earlier on. I was so grateful to him for sharing that with me. It has helped me to be more perceptive of others, to be more encouraging, to be more patient, and to realize I didn’t need to fill all silent space with words.
“You don’t need mom and dad’s permission to take charge of your own life. Find something you want to do, and don’t give up on it. You can start tomorrow.” — Lisa Kleypas
There was another time when one of my sons wanted to quit school when he was a junior in high school. I said, “Sure, no problem. Just show me your life plan for what you are going to do once you’re not in school.” Well, in that situation my son remained in school until he graduated! But if he’d had a plan for what he wanted to do, I would not have had a problem supporting his vision. That’s a take-charge attitude with backup!