I have become way too accustomed to taking on responsibilities that don’t belong to me or that are dropped into my lap with the “because you are good at solving problems” compliment.
And it has become such a reflex that I was taking on problems on without even being asked.
Now, I’m on a challenge to break that bad habit and I came up with this visualization trick after listening to a podcast…
I picture myself standing with my hands behind my back while someone is throwing problems at me. Because my hands are behind my back, every problem that hits my body falls to the ground. As I look down at each one of those problems, I ask myself these sets of questions for each one at my feet:
“Are any of these problems really my responsibility to handle?” (Yes or no)
“If not, who do these problems really belong to?” (Assign a name to it)
“If I take responsibility for these, what will the ripple effect on me be? If I don’t take responsibility, what will the ripple effect be on me? What kind of emotional, physical, financial toll will I be under?” (Think it through in detail.)
Little anecdote: Last summer, my niece wanted to take a long weekend trip outside of the city and I agreed to accompany her (she had just turned 18 and her little friends had no budget). Before I knew it, I was in full ninja-travel planning mode until my texts to her about coordinating our schedules went unanswered for days and days at a time.
I used my visualisation trick and I suddenly realized that I shouldn’t get frustrated about a trip that I really didn’t need to take.
If the trip didn’t happen, there was no skin off of my nose, right?
I switched gears and sent my niece my travel criteria. Then I sat on my hands and went on with my life.
Not only did I save myself the stress of trying to pin down a teenager, but my niece quickly learned that trips don’t magically plan themselves and that she could have stretched her budget if she had taken action earlier.
Think about it…what are you taking responsibility for that doesn’t belong to you? And wouldn’t it feel so much better to unload other people’s jobs?
Believe me, it feels good. 🙂
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