Personal Development Posts

Building a Community

Building a Community

The steps needed in building a community are similar to growing a garden. Let’s take a look.

Select the Spot

Depending on what you intend to grow, the soil and sunlight needs will be different. What type of community will you be growing?

Till the Soil

This is, without a doubt, the most challenging aspect. There are roots to pull and rocks to extract, not to mention the sod to turn over. Prepping the land for planting is the greatest challenge when growing a garden because it is hard work, and you still have nothing to eat! Building a community is no different. There can be significant resistance and never as much immediate acceptance as we are expecting. We find ourselves in a loop of sharing and bringing value with little or nothing to show for the efforts.

Plant the Seeds

Of course, we don’t just shove a seed into the soil and hope for the best. Instead, we plant with care, water daily, pull the weeds that always grow faster than the actual plants. Sometimes we fertilize, but mainly we water daily. The seeds are what we offer. Despite our efforts, only a few take the offer we might begin to feel a little self-righteous like the world owes us something. The reality is that some will buy, and some will not. Our job is to understand why some bought and then work on the message to better resonate with potential buyers. Stop trying to sell the non-buyers and start focusing on buyers!

Dog Days of Summer

The seeds have sprouted, but the work of watering, weeding, and tending has not subsided. Each day, we nurture our newly sprouted plants. This is when they are the most vulnerable and it is part of the process of gardening. Some will survive, and some will not. The temptation as a new gardener is to attempt to salvage the seedlings that have been damaged, but a wise gardener applies all effort to the survivors because they will most likely bear fruit.

When building a community, we begin to gain momentum with lots of interest and enthusiasm. Then, attendance wanes or post-activity drops off. We might scramble to keep the community together by reaching out to those who have lost touch in an effort to bring them back. All the while, the loyalists aren’t receiving your attention and begin to wonder what is going on. The community is vulnerable through this phase and needs your full attention. Think, engage, and challenge your community to grow and help each other. Continue to get feedback to learn what is resonating and what is not connecting. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

The Harvest

Your hard work and effort have begun to pay off. The plants are bearing fruit and strong enough to stand on their own. Don’t miss out on one of the greatest joys of gardening: sharing the harvest. Sharing the harvest with others fosters great relationships, and just plain feels good. Demonstrating generosity is another form of validation of your efforts and a job well done.

Your community has begun to flourish, and the rewards for your efforts are many. This is when we need to ask ourselves – Is it about me, or is it about them? If your answer is yourself, and you begin to believe it is about you, enjoy this season. Nothing kills future success than success. Don’t get arrogant or greedy. How can you further bless your community with your harvest? Sharing feels good and, when done wisely, is the equivalent of reinvesting.

Perpetuating Abundance

Most gardens are done after the harvest. We must till the soil and begin the process over again. This is the cycle. However, there are master gardeners who are more intentional than most every step of the way. They take great care in selecting a location, putting the plow to the land, and planting seeds at varying times of the year so that something in their garden is producing fruit at any given time. This continuous renewal allows the crops to flourish over the long term—this effort of constant nurturing and tending the soil results in an almost perpetual abundance.

For community builders, the cycle is the same as we work toward mastery. We make an offer that bears fruit and then work to create another offer. We create the content, demonstrate and deliver the value, and prepare for the next offer. Mastery is achieved when we are able to have a system of continuous offers.

Positive or Negative

Positive or Negative

John Gattman, Ph.D., has studied relationships for five decades. In his studies, he has determined that relationships with a 2.9 positive to negative comment ratio last, and those with a lower ratio end in divorce. It really is that simple; negativity is the death knell for relationships. What is interesting and important about this discovery is that this ratio is relevant for every relationship and not just couples. Businesses with a high positive to negative ratio thrive as long as they do not ignore the reality of a bad situation.

My interest is in our families. How is negativity affecting your family? Do you criticize more than you demonstrate gratitude or appreciation? Do you look for what is wrong versus looking for an authentic desire to prepare your children for a life of meaning and fulfillment? Parents are the first and most important teachers of children. Their daily interactions, reactions, and attention will be the most important determinant of their child’s future well-being. The responsibility can be overwhelming.

Studies have shown that parents that turn toward their children with a positive emotion have a healthier, more substantial relationship. Parents that turn away when children request their attention have an unhealthy relationship. How can it be so simple? Think of your relationship with your child as a bank account. We want it to grow. Every interaction and subsequent response will have one of the following effects on the account balance.

Neutral – These interactions or responses are not positive or negative. “What is for dinner”? the child asks. “Meatloaf,” the mother responds. No loading. No hidden agenda. Just simple communication.

Negative – These interactions or responses are a withdrawal from the account. “What is for dinner”? asks the child. “I am not your servant,” retorts the mother. These seemingly insignificant withdrawals result in a negative account balance over time. At some point, the relationship must file bankruptcy to relieve the deficit. I have seen so many parent-child relationships file for bankruptcy. The need to be right, in control, obedient, silent, perfect, etc., was more important than the relationship. So sad. How do you show up in your relationship with your child or children? How was your relationship with your parents? Are you repeating the past?

Positive – These interactions or responses are a deposit into the emotional or relational bank account. Positive interactions result in positive emotions. Positive responses are intentional and considerate. These responses are measured and thoughtful. As a result, it is possible to address negative situations in positive ways because your heart is focused on doing what is right, not being right. Parents that focus on positive interactions with their children build better relationships with them. The deposits of attention and intention allow for the occasional withdrawal without overdrawing the relational bank account.

It is recommended that you target five positives to one negative. Some parents (especially those with negative tendencies and command/control style) argue that too much positively distorts reality. They have a need to be “real.” Here is the deal; it is possible to be real and keep it positive. Speaking the truth to a child is only impactful if the relationship is healthy. The child always on the defense will never be receptive to a parent’s “real” feedback. Parents almost always make it about themselves. They fail to see their child as a person just like them with needs, challenges, and obstacles. We are insensitive to the reality that is the life our children are living. It is ignorance in its purest form, yet we all do it.

Children are a reflection of their parents. 80% of their learning from us through observation, while only 20% is from listening to our words. Parents ask, “why should I ever talk to them about life lessons or mentor them?” The answer is because when your words match your actions, you are truly effective in positively impacting your child. Kids are constantly scanning for hypocrisy or lack of integrity. Parents that struggle the most in their relationships with their children talk the talk but fail to walk the walk.

If you desire a lasting and meaningful relationship with your children, focus on the following:

Be positive.

There are rarely benefits to being the negative Nancy, and science has proven that we can enhance all of our relationships with a 3 to 1 positive ratio.

Walk the Talk.

If you want your children to be a certain way, you will need to model that behavior. Remember, they are watching your every move. If you want them to put their electronic devices down, you will have to lead by putting your device down first.

See them as People.

Our children are not us. Too often, parents see their children as extensions of themselves. They want them to do well because they feel better about themselves. When their children fail, they worry about what others might think of them. Our children are independent humans that share our genetic code. Acknowledge them as people and help guide them with your experience, and lead by example.

Talk less, listen more.

When your child comes to you with a problem, you have two obvious choices. You could try to solve it for them with your experience, or you could ask questions to help them better understand the problem and options for resolution. Teaching children to solve problems is the greatest gift a parent can teach.

If the goal is to raise competent, confident, capable, and independent children, we must teach them how to solve problems. Life is one big problem that needs solving every day. Solving problems also requires embracing change.

The Question

The Question

Humans are judgment machines. We can’t help it. Since the beginning of time, we have had to judge everything. In the beginning, this was a survival mechanism. “Is this going to eat me?” “Should I stay, or should I go?” Back then, it was only about survival.

We humans are still asking ourselves questions regularly. Unfortunately, the questions we are asking tend to cost us joy instead of saving our lives. The sad part is that we don’t even realize we are doing it. Our consumer-based society has been programmed through the years of advertising that this is how we should look at everything. The most insidious of all questions and the one that has caged our society is “Do I like it?”. We ask this question about everything.

-Do I like the new person I just met?
-Do I like this new church I just visited?
-Do I like this meal?
-Do I like my spouse?
-Do I like my car?
-Do I like my neighbor?
-Do I like my job? My in-laws? This article?

We have been programmed to judge everything. This is misery. We seek perfection in all things, from restaurants to neighborhoods to spouses to governments. In reality, we are just a bunch of spoiled brats. We only enjoy something if we “like it.” This constant judgment will rob you of real joy because nothing will ever be perfect. The pull to judge every moment of an experience versus the ideal robs us of the moment.

When we gather as friends, the conversation can often turn to judgment. The saying “misery loves company” is especially true in today’s society. This is the undercurrent of our culture, and here is why. If I don’t “like it,” someone else is to blame. Instead of accepting the responsibility for our personal satisfaction, we pass the responsibility on to others. Think about it. How often do you show up to be served or entertained? If you are like me, nearly every time! We all do it, and it is a tough habit to break. Breaking this habit will do more to increase your level of contentment than any pill they can offer.

Here are some suggestions for reducing narcissistic tendencies:

What am I grateful for?

If you have read my articles in the past, this will be a familiar theme.  Science has proven the power of gratitude. When we are grateful for the opportunity to work, our job becomes a little more bearable. When we are thankful to have a home, its flaws are a bit more tolerable. When we are grateful for having a spouse that loves us, their faults (based on your judgment) are easier to overlook, or better yet, accept. Gratitude and judgement are opposing forces. This is the battle that takes place in our minds every day if we allow it. The sad state of affairs in our society is that consumerism has us so focused on ourselves; we are robbed of joy. Instead of being grateful for our family, we are resentful because of all the “perfect” families on Facebook. Compare and despair. The number one thing you can do to increase your satisfaction with your life is to be grateful for what you have already. Stop asking yourself, “Do I like…” every second of every day.

What is right?

Our judgment machine seeks flaws as if there is some hidden prize for discovering them. We look at a beautiful house, and instead of pointing out the positive attributes, we focus on the negative ones. It isn’t any wonder we are drained at the end of the day. Judgment takes a lot of energy. Contrast that with appreciating the positive attributes to understand how to supercharge your life. Always look for what is right with the situation instead of what is wrong with it. Get real, Russ. Sometimes it sucks. You are right, sometimes it does suck, but if you “enhance the suck,” it will suck less. Instead of embracing it, we tend to lament about it. We let our miserable condition spiral into an ever-increasing miserable condition. We fail to realize that we only have control over one thing in our lives – our minds. I have written about this before, but the bottom line is that the only thing we have total control over is the hunk of meat between our ears. We control our thoughts, and therefore we control our response and our attitude. Unfortunately, the majority of us were never taught how to manage our thoughts and emotions. Instead, we were introduced to value and judge all things based on our feelings. Learning to get control of your mind will totally change your life. It will free you from the bonds of “value-based” living. That is worthy of a deeper dive, but for now, I challenge you to look for what is right in your world instead of judging all that is wrong with your world.

How can I serve?

Science has proven that serving others is the best way to enhance our overall satisfaction with our lives. The key is to serve selflessly versus selfishly. Often, we serve for recognition. This type of service will not enhance your life, but only serve your ego. The kind of service I am writing about is focused on bringing value to others. Did you know this is possible in your job every day? Are you looking to see what you can get out of your job instead of what you can put into your job? Unfortunately, we have been trained to judge our job based on what we are getting out of it. What if you asked yourself what you could put into your job? The people that ask this question thrive. They don’t wait to be told what to do because they are looking for a need to fill or a problem to solve. These types of employees are rare and exceptional. They climb the responsibility ladder because they seek to serve rather than put in their hours. Serving is almost selfish because it is the surest way to accumulate growth. Ask yourself this question and list all the possible answers: How can I add more value to my role and my employer and customers? Stop only asking what you are getting from this job. There is definitely a reason to ask yourself that question, but not every day. If you are not appreciated, point it out. Our tendency is to sulk and commiserate about our situation. Do something about it. Increase your value and demonstrate that value to others. Trust me; if you truly bring value, corporate America will reward you. Most workers are looking for more to do more, but they have it all wrong. You must do more to receive more. People focused on service are significantly more satisfied in life than their peers.

When we defer to judgment, we lose some of the greatness life has to offer. We subjugate our responsibility for being satisfied. We never really get that “when I” spot. It will elude us all our lives if we continue to rely on others and society to satisfy our insatiable nature. When we accept less than perfect from others and begin to appreciate what they have created for us, our outlook begins to shift. When we accept that things go wrong and life is a struggle, we enable ourselves to work through the trials. To truly live life is to truly take responsibility for our lives. Be honest with yourself in answering this question: Am I frequently basing my level of satisfaction with my life on my value judgment of every experience? I struggle with this answer because I am living in the age of unparalleled compare and despair. Meditation has truly helped me to realize that very little truly matters and that the goal of marketing and social media is to convince me that everything matters. I am still a judgment machine, but I am learning not to let the values of society be my measuring stick. Instead, I ask how it compares to my personal values and then choose whether to take it or leave it. My challenge to you is to delete your Facebook app from your phone. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that it enhances your life. It is a petri dish for compare and despair. If someone needs to get in touch with you, they will find you. I am not saying delete your profile. Just relegate usage to a computer and not your smartphone. Trust me – your level of satisfaction will go up tenfold if you are grateful for what you have, look for what is right, and spend your energy in service. The choice is always yours, and with the choice comes responsibility.

The Problem Habit

The Problem Habit

How can we know if we are hooked on problems? Do you find that your life is full of problems and the issues never seem to stop piling up? The house needs cleaning, the yard needs mowing, you’re late for work, the kids are sick, someone cut you off on the road, you spilled coffee on your new suit, the dog threw up everywhere, we’re low on groceries, PTA is tonight, one kid needs braces, the other kid needs glasses, you need to be in two places at once, your clothes don’t fit, the shower is broken, your mother-in-law is mean, kid’s teacher is terrible, debt is mounting, the car battery died, etc.  Did you know there are people in the world that must walk many miles each day to harvest clean water for their family? Let’s put it all into perspective.

Our urge to manifest problems is entirely and naturally up to us. Millions of years ago, each day was a matter of life and death. We had to be on edge for survival. Today, our chances of actually dying depend on things like age, health, and occupation. On average, a 46-year-old male has a 34% chance of dying within one year, according to the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary. If you are female, the odds of dying at 46 within a year are 22%. Nowadays, we aren’t worried about dying as we go to retrieve our groceries, so we make stuff up.

Two human needs tend to drive our thinking and actions. The first is a need for significance.  This is our desire to feel important or worthy of others’ attention. This desire for significance manifests itself in all sorts of ways, including a big house, fancy cars, rank in our company, board positions, etc. This need also triggers the compare and despair problem that so many suffer as a result of social media usage. The second major human need is a need for validation.  We want to be seen, heard, and acknowledged. This need for validation is where we tend to begin manifesting problems. For one reason or another, we tend to connect through commiseration. We start conversations with negative or derogatory comments about the weather or the wait service. If we are employees of the same company, it is about some stupid policy that management recently implemented. We attempt to build our status by cutting others down. It is unfortunate when you think about it, yet I find myself doing it from time to time, despite being on the lookout for this kind of negative behavior. We use it to validate our lack of progress, miserable existence, a bad marriage, or awful job. We use negativity to justify our lack of progress toward our dreams. It is a way of deflecting reality and blaming others or institutions. The need for validation within each of us must be tamed in order to live our best lives.

We take the day-to-day responsibilities that we have chosen to bring into our lives and turn them into problems. We complain to our friends and coworkers, seeking validation rather than guidance. They might have the same issues and misery loves company.

Here are a few ideas to help escape the problem habit:

Count your blessings.

It is nearly impossible to be miserable and grateful simultaneously. Begin each day reviewing a list of things in your life for which you are grateful. Make a list right now. Do you have a loving family? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have a job? My guess is you don’t have to walk five miles for clean water, so if you are struggling to find something, start there.

Check your relationships.

Misery loves company. Are you spending time with people that have a positive growth mindset?  If the people you are spending time with are negative, put others down, gossip, or focus on all that is wrong with the world, it might be time to find a new set of friends. Jim Rohn tells us that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take inventory and stay alert.

Watch your mouth.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Viktor Frankl

We have a choice of which words to speak and thoughts to think. Most of our words and our thoughts should be focused on making things better. Negativity is easy because others are quick to jump on the bandwagon. You have the ability to direct your thoughts and regulate your words. Mature adults accept responsibility for all aspects of their lives and therefore live in greater harmony with the world around them.

Breaking the cycle of negativity in your life is a choice. After deciding to stop fixating on problems, you can acknowledge the many blessings in your life. Get around people that will lift you up. Choose your words and thoughts intentionally. The happiest people choose positivity over negativity and surround themselves with others that align with their values. It is up to you to kick that problem habit to the curb.

Problem Solving

Problem Solving

Problem-solving is fun and challenging. The more a person solves problems, the better they become at developing creative and effective solutions. The key is to exercise the problem-solving muscle and use a process that gets results.

The first step in problem-solving is to define the desired outcome.

What exactly do you want to accomplish? It would be best if you were very detailed in describing the desired result. Clarity is one of the most essential aspects of all planning. Get clear on what you want, or you will have to take what you get.

Define the problem.

This step can be deceiving in its apparent simplicity. Often, we fail to understand the problem clearly and, as a result, attempt to solve what is only a symptom of the problem. One common technique for identifying the root cause is the “5 Why’s”. Simply ask why five times. Why is my engine not starting? Because it will not crank. Why will it not crank? Because it is not getting power. Why is it not getting power? Because the battery is dead. Why is the battery dead? Because the interior light was on all night. Why was the interior light left on? I was tired when I arrived home and forgot to turn the interior light off. This example is simple but an excellent representation of basic troubleshooting.

Identify an appropriate solution.

The solution will often be a series of steps or actions that will move you toward the desired outcome. Continuing with the example above:
1. Turn interior light off.
2. Gather necessary tools for jump-starting the engine. You will need another vehicle that has a functioning engine or a starter power pack and jumper cables.
3. Pop the hood and connect the red cable to the positive (+) post and the black cable to the negative (-) post.
4. Allow a few minutes for the battery to receive some charge from the powered engine (you will want to make sure the vehicle you are using to jump the low battery vehicle is on).
5. Have a person in the powered vehicle rev the engine to 2000 RPM’s and proceed to turn the ignition on the car with the dead battery.
6. Assuming the engine starts, disconnect the red cable and then the black, making sure the two cables do not touch. Touching can result in the battery exploding.

Determine a permanent corrective action.

Ideally, you will establish a protocol or process that will ensure the issue is resolved permanently. In our example, a permanent solution might not be possible, but a note could be a reminder for the driver. The note could say “lights” to remind the driver to double-check that the lights are off before exiting the vehicle. Permanently eliminating the potential for a reoccurrence is the best option. The key here is to not be hasty in determining the permanent fix because there will likely be more than one solution, and one of those solutions will be the best. Often the best solution is removing the potential for failure altogether, but if eliminating is not possible, a simple approach is way better than a complicated one.

Communicate and educate others about the solution.

This is the step we most often overlook or skip altogether. It involves documenting the solution (in a professional setting) and letting others know about the solution. Permanent resolutions resulting from the chosen solution will eliminate the need for this step. Still, all process changes need to be explained and enforced to ensure the problem will not be repeated. Tribal knowledge is passed down from generation to generation to prevent poisonous berries from being consumed. Solving problems is the most fundamental and useful skill a person can develop. Every business, community, family, and country has issues that need to be addressed. Often, humans are not rational in solving problems because they become attached to the problem. If the solution involves a change of any kind, there will be push back and, in some cases, full revolt. When it comes to significant societal problems, the longer issues remain unresolved, the more our youth will pay the price as will their children because of our unwillingness to solve this issue. The point is that being emotionally attached to a problem and solution will make it nearly impossible to solve permanently. We kick the can down the road. The solution often requires discomfort for some time after implementing a solution. Fiscal solutions involve budgets and discipline similar to health solutions involving diet and physical activity.

How we choose to manage and solve our problems can have a significant impact on everything from our daily routine to the state of our society. Choose wisely.

Manage Your Thoughts

Manage Your Thoughts

The mind is a gift and a curse, both stemming from the free will to choose. Humans are organisms with complete autonomy. You are the driver. Are you in control of your thoughts? What excuses do you regularly allow to stop your progress? The choice always lies in your response. Free will is the ability to accept reality and move on. You must take responsibility for your response because the response is the choice that determines your future. The greatest of battles are fought between our ears. What saddens me personally is the number of people I witness losing the battle. People that have all they need but are depressed and miserable. We are taught how to produce and solve problems but are never thoroughly instructed on managing our thoughts.

We control our thoughts.
Thoughts control our feelings.
Feelings drive our behavior.
Behavior determines our results.

Most of us live in the space between what we want versus what we have. Our “compare and despair” society exacerbate this feeling of inadequacy or frustration. We put pressure on ourselves to appear as what we think the world wants us to be versus who we really are. We are perpetually unhappy because all we can see is what we don’t have, and external forces are constantly battling for your attention and money (government, media, corporations).

How do we begin to gain control of our thoughts?

Accept Responsibility

An essential step in gaining control of your mind is to accept responsibility for everything in your life. When we take responsibility, it is like lifting a burden that has been buried deep inside of us. Every relationship in your life is yours. You can choose your attitude toward the other person, and so you are responsible for how you show up in the relationship. You can’t control how they show up and, therefore, should not burden your heart with hurt or anger. All we can ever do is our best. This is trite but especially true in our relationships. Accept responsibility for how you show up and accept the reality of the relationship. You might not like it, but it is what it is for now. Don’t like your job? Own it. Do your best and search for options. Don’t enjoy your living conditions? Make a plan for change. Don’t like your health? Start by getting around healthy people. Take charge of your life. The accepting of responsibility for everything in our lives is how we begin to take control of our lives.

Be Grateful

Be grateful for all aspects of your life. Not much to be thankful for? The likely reason is that you are obsessing over what you don’t have or, worse yet, comparing what you have to what others have. First, we have no idea what the persons’ life is truly like that we are envying. All the world is a stage, and we don’t know what goes on behind the curtain. Second, comparing our lives to others means that we did not act on step one. We take our lives for granted, not realizing that each life is a miracle. Regardless of your station in life, there is much to be grateful for. The only strategy I am aware of to truly live with joy in our hearts is to be grateful for everything. Don’t like your car? Be thankful you have a car. Don’t enjoy your home? Be grateful you have a place to stay. Getting control of our mind and living with joy requires gratitude for what we already have.

Reflect

Taking time to look back at our progress is critically important to our mental wellbeing. Why? Because most of us live in the space between what we want (the ideal) and what we have (the reality). Taking time to reflect allows us to see where we have come from. We have learned many lessons. We have made significant progress in our lives, but fail to reflect on that progress. Give yourself a break. Look back and acknowledge the effort that has allowed you to arrive where you are regardless of whether you like where you are.

Give Yourself Grace

Who is it that resides in our head to make us feel terrible about ourselves, constantly nagging us for not being enough or slacking. The words it speaks to us are demoralizing and demotivating. Here is the deal – we own that voice, and we have power over it. You have the ability to bring back the narrative that takes place within you. Giving yourself grace for your mistakes is a powerful action to take charge of your life. Forgive yourself when you make a mistake. Learn from your mistakes and move on. This is how we build resilience. Don’t wallow in self-pity, and when you do, get up and dust yourself off.

Demonstrate Appreciation

I have often said that appreciation is selfish because it feels so good. It feels good to the receiver (if they allow themselves grace to accept it) and the sender (assuming it was genuinely shared). Start with your loved ones. Write them a note expressing how much you appreciate them. Some ask – what is the difference between gratitude and appreciation? Gratitude is more of an inward focus, and appreciation is an outward expression. This can be debated and is only my differentiation, but there is a difference. Saying “thank you” is appreciation. Offering unsolicited praise is a demonstration of appreciation. Flowers, cards, and cupcakes are all easy ways to let someone know how much you appreciate them. Showing appreciation feels so good.

Stop Seeking Fault

There is no reward for finding the flaws. This is a real problem that can go undetected. We use the faults in others as our crutch for connection. We want others to think highly of us and that we are smart, so we point out the flaws of others, our companies, our friends, our country, our coworkers, our bosses, our homes, our neighbors. The list could go on and on. Do you remember the Wizard of Oz? The man behind the curtain (the wizard) was no different than the others but used his platform to pretend to be all-knowing. How often do you point out the faults of your spouse or your children or your boss? This act does not form a lasting bond with the person you are commiserating with. It is weak because the other person intuitively knows that when they make a mistake, you will be quick to point it out to others. This will be a difficult habit to break, but it will be a must if you are serious about getting control of your thoughts.

Are you ready to take back control of your thoughts? Remember to be patient and give yourself grace. Everything in your life is your responsibility. Every thought you have is your responsibility. If you are feeling trapped, it is time to own your thoughts one day at a time. Form the habits that will mold your future and the future of those that depend on you!