Do you take full responsibility for the results you get in your life and your career as a lawyer?

Before you answer with an automatic and resounding “Yes!” think about it. Have you ever uttered the following excuse (or something close to it)?: If it weren’t for the economy, my #%$@&! boss, the political climate, the interest rate on my mortgage, the kids, myspouse, or the fill-in-the-blank, I would be happier, an equity partner, a huge rainmaker, general counsel of a Fortune 500 company, thinner and fitter, more open and loving, living in a bigger house, or driving a nicer car.

Where Are You Abdicating Control?

If your natural default is to blame things on someone or something else when you don’t get what you want, you’re in good company. It’s natural to want to vent your frustration when things don’t go smoothly. And blaming outside circumstances, getting hot under the collar, and doing a lot of eye rolling may feel good for a few minutes.

But here’s the hitch. You’re still not getting what you want.

When you allow your results to be dependent on the whims of others, you are abdicating control of your professional future to outsiders. You are putting all the power in their hands. Do you always want someone else deciding how much money you make, how many hours you work, which client matters you work on, or whether you make partner?

No matter how well-intentioned, those people are not focused on ensuring your success and happiness. They are too busy navigating their own paths.

Take Control by Stopping the Blame Game

Author Jack Canfield says “[r]ecognize the fact that you either create or allow everything that happens to you in your life.” That’s a powerful concept. Other than true “Acts of God,” you either create or allow everything that happens to you.

I’m not suggesting you stop holding others accountable for their actions or that you eliminate the natural mourning process that healthy people experience in the face of tragic events. But routinely blaming outside forces for your failures or plateaus damages you far more than the target of your disdain.

Successful people live life by design, rather than by default. They continue to move forward despite roadblocks, large and small. If they can do it, so can you. They don’t possess some magical powers – the difference is that they are proactive instead of reactive. They chart their own course.

Take Control and Get What You Want

So, it’s all up to you. Does that seem overwhelming? (Yikes, it’s all up to me!) Look at it another way – making the choice to take responsibility for what happens to you is incredibly empowering. It means that you have virtually unlimited potential to do what you want to do, because you have the power to make it happen. Success and happiness are within your reach.

Make the choice right now to take control of your own career and your own life. Decide that, from now on, you will call the shots and make the decisions about what your future will hold. Articulate and visualize your ideal professional future, sets some goals, and start making it happen. Here’s to your success!

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