First Blame Yourself–wow, you’re thinking that sounds harsh, right? Harsh? I don’t think so. For me, truly  learning that the buck stops with you and learning to take responsibility for your own actions is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. A wonderful way to start the new year.

Too often in life we look to others for the answers and the solutions to the problems we have technically created ourselves. While others can provide wonderful insight and ideas, at the end of the day if anything is going to change in your life the only person who can change it is you.

The problem is, we equate responsibility with something negative, when in reality the definition is quite positive. According www.dictionary.com, the definition of responsibility is “being answerable or accountable for something within one’s own power”. WOW! How positive is that? If something is within my own power, then I can influence it, change it, or repeat it. It means that I am in control — and I love being in control!

First Blame Yourself gives you that opportunity. That opportunity to look at what is working in your life or your business, what isn’t and learn from it. When you stop blaming the economy, your boss, your employees, your customers etc. . . you get the focus off what you can’t control and put it back on what you can control. This is the amazing opportunity in responsibility. When you own it, you can change it. When you stop wasting energy on blame, you’ll use that energy to generate new ideas and the right connections that create solutions.

The problem with blaming others or the situation is even if you’re right, you are still stuck in the same spot. Nothing changes. When you blame yourself, you quit worrying about who or what is “doing something to you” and start focusing on what you personally can do about the situation. The result? Your life begins to change and your business begins to grow.

So, how do you First Blame Yourself?

1. Take Inventory — Give yourself an hour each day and really think about your business and your life. What is going well, what have you accomplished? What is not going well, what needs to change? By taking inventory, we get a list that tells us where we are succeeding, so we can continue down that path, and where perhaps we are wasting our efforts and losing opportunity.

2. Be Honest — This is not for anyone’s eyes but yours, so leave your ego at the door. You want to be brutally honest with yourself and understand your role in what is working and what is not. Take credit where credit is due. You have a lot going for you and much you are doing right. You’re also doing some things wrong, so own that too. By owning what isn’t working, you remove all the obstacles to changing it.

3. Take Action — While taking inventory and being honest are great, the truth is nothing is going to change until you do something. It is great to know what in your life and your business is not working, but there is no power in that until you take action. Once you know what needs to change, decide how you are going to change it. Can you do it yourself, or do you need help? Whatever you need to do, do it!

So is First Blame Yourself too harsh? No, I think you’ll agree: learning to take responsibility first is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.