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Be Response-able - Be at cause for your life

Which side of the equation are you on?
Which side of the equation are you on?
(Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Sugar Boese)

Why do we want to be “response-able”, or “able to respond?” Because this empowers us. It gives us choice. It gives us control over our situations. Our response to situations determines our outcomes.

What does it mean to be responsible, or “response-able”? It’s about being “at cause” for what happens to us. We can define the equation that “causes” are what creates an “effect” (Figure 1). You can sit on the “effect” side and come up with tons of reasons why your life turned out the way it is, why you always seem to be the victim (”Why does this always happen to me?”), why you cannot do something. Or you can be at cause, realizing that you are responsible for your life and through your actions and responses you have created your life as it is today. The question is, which side of the equation are you on?

Figure 1: Equation of cause and effect.

How do you switch sides on the equation? The first step is to accept this concept of the equation, acknowledging that we want to be at cause in life. This is a necessary step because your belief in it is required for it to work. If you are not completely sold on the concept, start off with the “fake-it-untill-you-make-it” strategy. Pretending can be just as powerful as fully believing in something.

The second step is to recognize the choices you have available in every situation. What choices do you have to react when someone in your household accidently breaks a dish? Do you get angry, frustrated by the money necessary to replace it, accept it as a part of daily life and bought the dishes to be used, or wonder at the artistic layout of the broken pieces on the floor? How can you respond to someone being late - get irritated that you went out of your way to be on time, update that you’ll be late for your next appointment, use the extra time to meet new people or catch up on your email on your phone? Once you start to recognize the options you have every moment of your life, you begin to really see how much control you do have over your life. And once you start choosing your reactions, you’ll see the effects flowing from your choices. Tired of being stuck in a downward spiral of anger or sadness? Choose a neutral or positive response to events that occur and notice how your spiral changes upward!

The third step is to get rid of your negative beliefs about yourself. You can do this by reading self-help books, meditation, hypnosis, or go through an intensive break-through session (I offer them through If you don’t believe you can do something, be someone, deserve something or someone, then you’ll end up in a cycle of sabotage. No matter how much you consciously want or believe something, if unconsciously you are not in alignment with that belief then it won’t happen for you. You can start to recognize this behavior in others: people who continually return to or find other abusive relationships, people who somehow always manage to sabotage their chances at success in their career, people who want to lose weight and always end up gaining it back. By changing your internal belief systems and values, you can supercharge yourself towards your goals.

The last step is to actualize your goals! Make sure you have filled out your goals from the previous article “Set AND ACHIEVE Your Goals” [1]. Once you take charge of your life, realize you are in control of your situations, making conscious choices on how to respond then you are an empowered “at-cause” person who can achieve ALL of your S.M.A.R.T. goals.


Boese, E. S. “Set AND ACHIEVE your goals.” Succeed In Every Way. May 15, 2009.