Who is ready to get a little bit better. You should comment, YES! Today’s topic could be a total game changer. I think I heard this first form TD Jakes a decade or more ago on a podcast. It was such a short little snippet and I just grabbed hold of it and it rocked my world. Now I’ve been taching it more and the concepts have expanded a good bit, but everyone here knows the frustration and disappointment when people don’t do what you want them to do, what you think they should do, how you think they should do it, or they just do stupid things, right?! It is downright frustrating.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like watching the people I care about go through hard things. I get frustrated when my people in my life don’t do the things I need them to do or want them to do or don’t do things the way I want them to. THese things create disappointment along with frustration.
Would you like to know how to end 99% of the frustration in your life? Anyone? I was thinking before I wrote this, can this really end 99% of your frustration? And here it is: knowing the difference between two things – Responsibility versus Concern.
There are things in your life that you are 100% responsible for. Let me tell you the biggest things that you are responsible for; you are responsible for the decisions you make, just like I am. No one can make a decision for you. You are responsible for what you choose to believe, what you choose to do or not to do, because that is your choice. You are responsible for how you respond to what happens to you and how you respond to what people say to you. No one can make you do anything. You are responsible for the meaning that you bring to any experience in your life.
Life is not what is happening to you. Life is the meaning that you give to what is happening to you.
So don’t tell me what is happening to you. Don’t play the victim. Do not act powerless. Tell me what you are going to choose to do as a result of it.
You’re responsible for the emotions you feel on a daily basis. I know bad things can happen, but even in those moments, you get to choose to decide how you are going to respond. You choose what you are going to feel as a result. You, my friend, have responsibilities like I have responsibilities. We have certain things that we are responsible for and no one else can be.
And then there are things in life that you are concerned about. What makes it a concern is that it is not your responsibility. But, we all know what it is like to have a big concern, especially with people you love. You’re concerned about what they do or do not do. You’re concerned about how their life turns out. Parents with adult children are concerned about their kid’s making it, their marriage, their career… But those children have grown up and become adults, they’re not your responsibility any more.
I’m trying to help some people out here; you’re concerned but it is not your responsibility.
You might be concerned about what your clients do or do not do. You might be concerned about what your employees do or do not do (now I understand to a degree that they are your responsibility, BUT you and I cannot take responsibility for what they choose to do or not to do. I am responsible to fire them if they don’t do their job right. At the end of the day, everything else is their responsibility.) I can be concerned about the weather, for example the hurricanes that are happening BUT I cannot control them. I actually did a Facebook Live about this a little bit ago. I just wanted to take time to soak into this a little bit more because it is powerful. I’m going to give you another layer that I didn’t do in that Live. And so you’re concerned about how you respond when a hurricane happens. You’re concerned BUT you can’t take responsibility for whether it came or didn’t come, right?
Responsibility versus concern is knowing the difference. If you tried to take a concern and turn it into your responsibility, you know what happens? You are going to create an opportunity for frustration that will lead to disappointment. And if you hold onto it long enough, making that thing that is only a concern your responsibility, it will inevitably lead to pain and suffering in your life.
Realize that it is a concern and not your responsibility. You cannot, at the end of the day, control the outcome. I’m telling you, there are so many things in your life, in my life, that we take as a responsibility that should have only been a concern. I’m going to take that, I am going to take this, I am going to make it my responsibility… and then you take ownership of whatever it is when you shouldn’t have.
There’s another way that happens, when other people don’t take responsibility, they can end up throwing it on your shoulders. And if you don’t throw it back at them, you take that “thing” that should have been a concern and you have made it yours. Now, you are going to be frustrated and disappointed. And you don’t have to use your imagination, because we’ve all been there in that situation.
And then there’s other times when there is something that is your responsibility and you refuse to take responsibility. In my experience and 25 years of being a pastor and all the coaching that I’ve done, just the life that I have lived so far… There are two reasons that you do not take responsibility for something.
The first one is living in denial. You might think, that’s not my responsibility, I don’t have to do that. It’s not mine. And so, you’re avoiding it, resisting taking responsibility and so you don’t do it.
The second one I see happen so many times is extremely prevalent in the world in which we live today. Some people do not take responsibility because they have been crippled and handicapped from taking responsibility in their lives because of well-intentioned people who have taught them that they don’t have to because they’re going to take it for them. They’ve been crippled because they’re been free from responsibility because they had a parent that took everything as their responsibility. Or they had a spouse that took care and solved all the problems. Sometimes they don’t even know how to take responsibility.
If you want to eradicate 99% of your frustration, learn the difference between concern and responsibility.
Now what do you do with all that? This is where this blog is going to change your life. Are you ready? If you’re a notetaker, now is the time to get ready to take notes.
What do you do with a concert that you care deeply about; like a person, a thing, a situation, an outcome that affects you in a real way? Or it affects the person you love in a real way? What do you do with something that is a concern and you care deeply about it?
There are two things that you can do and I am going to give you an illustration here, first. This will help you. What you can control is the itty-bitty circle in the below image. And what can you do with that circle? You can be responsible for the things in that circle.
The circle that is around that is the circle of influence. Now there are two things that you can do with something that is a concern but not your responsibility. The first thing you can do is exercise influence. You can exercise influence with intentionality; that’s the first thing you can do. The second thing you can do is on the outermost circle and that is treat it like a concern. I would almost argue that the outermost circle shouldn’t have an end… because the concerns that are outside of our control and influence can be endless. Let that sink in for a second.
You got this small little circle of control that you can take responsibility for and then you’ve got your circle of influence over everything in your life… there’s a lot of things that you care about, you might be concerned about, but you do not actually have the opportunity to exercise influence.
And what can you do with all that is categorized as concern? You might not light this word… It is a big deal: you have got to learn to trust, you have got to learn to let go, you have got to release it because when it comes to something you are concerned about there are only two things you can do. You can exercise influence or learn to release it and trust.
Now let’s be honest because some of you want to exercise influence because you don’t want to take responsibility… make sure that it isn’t your responsibility. Some of you when trying to exercise influence, you cross over and you end up using tactics of guild, shame, control and manipulation. This is not the kind of influence I am talking about. If you are going to exercise influence, it needs to be a means of support, encouragement, wisdom, sharing insight, etc. But even as you exercise influence, YOU have to Release Expectations because it is not your responsibility what they do with your support. Take this as leading a team. You are responsible for the team ultimately. BUT if you want to get your team to do what they need to do, what you want them to do, you’ve got to exercise influence. If you do it in a way that breaks down trust, it is not going to have long-term results.
So you need to exercise influence with healthy team dynamics; building trust, making people feel – seen, heard, valued. You can’t control, manipulate, condemn, guilt, shame… that is toxic and you need to run away from it. And some of you have not been exercising influence… Some of you have been trying to control the situation and it is not yours to control.
On that very outer circle is concern. You have to let it go. You have to trust.
The difference between Concern and Responsibility? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to check where these “things” fall.
Is this a responsibility or a concern?
What is my responsibility? Because maybe you said it was a concern and it is really a responsibility or vice versa. And this may take a little bit more work because you need to define what is a concern and what is a responsibility.
What do I need to let go of?
What concern do I need to release?
What expectation do I need to release? Some of you like the word surrender. When you let go of something, you can let go of it, surrender it to the person who is responsible. You can trust and surrender.
You can let go of it to whoever is actually responsible. If it is someone else’s kid, you are not responsible, let it go to their parents. They are responsible. There are other situations where there’s a person of authority that’s accountable and responsible, so you can release it to them. If you’re a person of faith, let it go to God, let it go to the universe… let it go to your faith in a higher power. For me, that is one of my greatest advantages letting things go to God, my God that loves me, cares more about me. I am able to release it in prayer and trust and say, All right God, this is above my pay grade, I am going to release it and let it go!
If you can operate in a place where you are able to discern between what is your responsibility and what is your concern, you might remove 99% of the frustration in your life. That’s my hope that you’ll take this and practically apply it. It applies in every area of your life: your business, your marriage, your parenting, your relationships, your physical health… Everything.
So look for ways that you can apply these questions. I hope this serves you well. You should go out there and give your greatness to the world because somebody needs what is on the inside of you. Don’t hold back. You are responsible for your greatness in the world. Give it away!