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Published on November 5, 2021

How to Get Over the Fear Of Responsibility And Achieve More in Life

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How to Get Over the Fear Of Responsibility And Achieve More in Life

At a certain point we all stop, we quit making the moves that got us ahead, we find comfort and seek not to challenge the status quo.

This is all very well and good until something strange happens, your inner drive kicks in, you recognise that you’ve stopped growing and the fear of responsibility has taken over.

It can be an unnerving experience to realize you’ve mentally given in to fear, doubt and worry that keeps you from pursuing your greatest capacity and expression of self.

In this article I’ll outline some of the most powerful action steps you can take immediately to give your life a giant boost in the right direction to choosing the hard road, overcoming challenges and expanding your capabilities; so you can start to accept responsibility.

Implementing any of these heavy duty strategies will help you get over the fear of responsibility and achieve more in life.

Make It Your Motto

When I was talking to legendary YouTuber, Evan Carmichael (3.2m subscribers and counting), he shared with me something that stayed with me indefinitely, his motto.

Evan grew up a shy, innovative kid from Toronto, Canada, in his mid-twenties he faced a huge life choice, either go down the normal path, take a 6 figure job and play it safe or branch out and become an entrepreneur.

Evan chose the latter and you will see from his speeches and Instagram posts that he is famous for saying

“F.E.A.R has two meanings, Face Everything And Rise or Forget Everything And Run”.

He is now recognised by Forbes as one of the top 40 social marketers. Evan’s motto that he shared is “I do difficult things”.

By deciding to implement this creed as his mantra for life, it helps Evan take action and step out into the unknown despite the fear. He is able to overcome the fear behind responsibility due to his perception of himself.

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Doing difficult things is quite literally who he is, it’s part of his identity and by cleverly setting this as his blueprint he courageously takes on things that scare him and as a result he achieves more.

The big question is:

What motto or mantra could you set for yourself so that you go out there and grab life by the horns every single day?

The incredible thing is by repeatedly doing the thing that scares you the most, it stimulates a rush of endorphins that set you up for success for the next challenge.

As it is part of your identity to do difficult things, it becomes a habit, and because you celebrate the small wins each day, you reinforce the behaviour and which causes your brain to systematically seek out more opportunities to push the boat out.

As a result you’ll move away from your fear of responsibility and towards feeling more capable to take on responsibilities you previously would have shied away from, in fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if you’re putting your hand up for extra commitments all over the place.

Remember this, the biggest reward is usually behind the door we fear most, this can be the gift of winning new clients, new relationships or simply discovering new talents we never knew we had.

Take Personal Responsibility

Speaking of responsibility, it all starts with you!

No one can make you feel anything, even though it feels real, it is your choice to accept these emotions as your truth.

The way to move through this is to take personal responsibility for everything that happens in your life.

This means that the level of preparation you do for the interview, the traffic jam that causes you to be late and the unexpected low laptop battery are all your responsibility.

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This is an attitude change to complete ownership, when you approach the situation with this mindset, it transforms the energy within, and the flames of passion, purpose and direction begin to fan again.

For example, if you blame your boss for making your life miserable, working overtime, and you harbour feelings of resentment and anger, you totally miss out the opportunity to develop a rock solid confidence that comes from an inner knowing that it’s all you.

Experiences like this become empowering not debilitating.

By choosing instead to focus on what you can control, your attitude and how you show up despite the problems you put the wheels of success in motion.

When you take this path, and you show up early for work instead of resenting the fact that you have to work, you switch your energy to the opportunity ahead of you, it is a game changer.

Instead of ‘having to work’ you now see it as a privilege to work, you get to do your best every day and as a result you end up over-delivering, the outcome being your boss eases up and you give you the autonomy you crave.

Speaking of focus, the next point is really worth noting down.

Change the Perspective

When your mission is to give, you wake up your senses to live life large!

It doesn’t matter how small, it’s the perspective of looking to do more for others, to serve, that is the change agent.

For example, you get offered the opportunity to give a big speech but you’re afraid you’ll mess it up and therefore you decline. When you have it as your mission to give, you operate from this principle and say to yourself, “I will give this speech because I am helping those in need, if I change one life it is worth it”.

When you set this as your barometer for success, the fear drops away and the mission reappears. It is no longer about you and your doubts, it is bigger than that, it’s about the cause, giving and serving on a deeper level.

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When giving is at the center of what you do it creates meaning and purpose to the struggle, it doesn’t eradicate the fear but it gives you the strength to continue on.

It gets you out of your head, it stops the analysing and the worrying and enables you to live a life of heartfelt purpose.

This is where you truly feel alive again.

What can you give today? How can you serve others by doing something you’re afraid to do? What responsibility are you avoiding that, if you really think about it, is an opportunity to give in disguise?

Eat the Frog

When you feel stuck and you’re brooding over what has yet to come, you are not in the present moment, in fact you are stealing joy by worrying about what is yet to come.

When you commit to eating the frog, it means you tackle the hard things first, you get them out of the way early.

You wake up and hit the gym, you get that start building that presentation right away, you send that difficult email, you have that awkward conversation – bottom line, you get into motion and you start doing.

When you witness yourself taking action on things that scare you, putting your hand up for duties and roles that are outside of your comfort zone, you show yourself that you respect and value everything about you.

The next piece is magic, this is what translates all that effort into accelerated progress and deep self confidence, that is self trust.

Self trust is a huge deal, it is vitally important to keep the commitments you make to yourself at all costs – entrepreneur and motivational speaker Ed Mylett covers this in detail in his podcast on this exact topic.

By doing what you say you will do and keeping the promises you make to yourself, for example, “today I will make contact with 20 new clients for my business” it builds self trust and as a result your faith in yourself to deliver multiples.

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By eating the frog you get to practice this daily, and you get the hard stuff out of the way first each day, it’s a win for yourself and you will achieve remarkably more.

Choose To Run With Lions

You might be thinking, that’s a bit odd, why would I opt to instigate a race with the king of the jungle but what I am getting at is, surround yourself with those that empower you, build you up and see your potential.

If you constantly feel pulled down, restricted by others and absorb the negative energy of people who themselves are hampered by a mindset of limitation, lack and problems it is absolutely draining.

Be mindful who you spend time with especially if you are recognising that you’re starting to fear responsibility. This is a big sign that you need to guard your inner circle closely because they might be doing more harm than good.

In fact, this might be your issue in a nutshell, be careful to classify your fear of responsibility as a problem created only by you, it could simply be the case that it is time to find a different crew to run with.

Life is messy, we all get busy, previous ideas or goals can lead us to create habits that are unhealthy, such as not changing direction when needed.

You’ll find that when you upgrade your environment, primarily those you let influence you everyday, you will feel a flood of new energy rush in. When this happens, capitalise on it, and get stuck in.

Similarly, if you find yourself energised, more confident and in peace when you are around certain people, this is telling you something – be not afraid to follow your intuition and make some changes.

All said and done, feeling a fear of responsibility and getting over it so you can achieve more in life has to do with making a conscious effort to be aware of it when it happens and taking action swiftly to address it.

More Tips on Achieving More in Life

Featured photo credit: Surface via unsplash.com

More by this author

Tim Castle

Bestselling Author, Coach and Co-Founder of My Book Habit

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Published on November 29, 2021

Why the 10-80-10 Rule Is Key To Achieving Success

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Why the 10-80-10 Rule Is Key To Achieving Success

The 10-80-10 rule is an extension of the Pareto principle that says 80% of productivity/wealth is generated/owned by 20% of the population.[1] This ratio is often observable in various statistics and studies.

The 10-80-10 rule takes this principle and applies it more specifically to human behavior. It is also malleable, enabling people to move between categories. If we apply it to a company (just as an example), in essence, the 10-80-10 rule looks like this:

  • 10% Highly Productive Elite – This is the core of your business. These people will work all the hours that God sends for your company, leaving no stone unturned and generating the maximum possible productivity/revenue for you that they can.
  • 80% Productive – These lovely folks make up the majority of your business and will work 9-5, getting their tasks done and not making much of a fuss about it. They are less likely to offer innovation, but they are reliable, trustworthy, and dutiful.
  • 10% Unproductive and Defiant – These people are outliers and mercifully low in number, but they create work. They are difficult, unwilling to work hard, and generally take more from your company than they give.

This can also be applied in other areas of life. Morality is another example, with the vast majority (80%) of us being law-abiding citizens who may bend the rules occasionally, 10% being unscrupulously good, and 10% being out-and-out criminals.

Who Came Up With the 10-80-10 Rule?

As touched on earlier, the 10-80-10 rule is an off-shoot of the Pareto Principle, first conceived of in the early twentieth century by Italian civil engineer turned economist Wilfredo Pareto. He simply observed that 80% of the property in Italy, at that time, was owned by 20% of the population. Wealth distribution, according to Pareto, was divided 20/80 across all sections of society. The country, age, gender, or industry didn’t matter. This principle still applied.

Later on in the 1940s, Joseph M. Juran (himself an engineer and management consultant) applied the Pareto Principle to human behavior with the aim of improving quality control, positing that 80% of the success on any one project would be due to the efforts of 20% of the team working on it.

Since then, various researchers and theorists have expanded the Pareto principle into the 10-80-10 rule—observing that 10% are true leaders, 80% seek guidance from others, and 10% wilfully act in a counter-productive manner.[2]

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How to Apply the 10-80-10 Rule to Management to Be More Successful

Well, let’s stay with the team/workforce model for now: if you want to improve productivity in your company, where should your focus be? All too often, “the squeaky wheels get the grease.” That is to say, we tend to try and fix what’s most broken in our organization (namely the bottom 10%) before we move on to the less broken.

When you realize, though, that you’re pouring resources into just 10% of your labor force, it starts to look very inefficient. Moreover, that 10% is comprised of folks who are highly unlikely to change their tune (statistically anyway). You need to focus on the 80%. That’s where you’ll have the most impact and where you’ll create the biggest uplift in productivity. The 80% aren’t (of course) completely equal. Some will sit closer to either of the 10% range, but this means that you should be able to increase the size of your top 10% to be more like 20 or 30%.

How Much of a Difference Would That Make?

Now, before you slam your laptop shut, haul off, and start brainstorming ideas about team-building exercises and corporate days out, it is first very important to understand the metric by which you measure productivity. Numbers on a spreadsheet or letters next to a person’s name only paint part of the picture.

What you value in your company is unique to you. As I’m constantly saying to entrepreneurs and business owners that I coach, you have to be specific with what you are asking of your team, your customers, and the universe at large. Ask a vague question and you’ll get a vague answer.

So, do the work of understanding exactly what is working for you and what isn’t. Simply saying that you want revenue to increase is not enough. By how much? In what areas? Who will we add value to increase their spending with us? Where and whom should we target for new growth?

Who Does This Desired Increase in Productivity Help You Become and Who Does It Serve?

Armed with this, you will have much more clarity to take to your team and with which to start formulating a plan of action. You can look at what would incentivize those in the 80% who just need a slight nudge. That’s where minimum effort will yield maximum results! So, start there.

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A 2014 Gallup poll found that a third of the US workforce felt unmotivated in their jobs, with the highest levels of motivation found among managers.[3] This tells us two things:

  • Firstly, the unmotivated third is comprised partly of those in the 80% camp, but the entirety of the unmotivated 10% is in there, too. If you take them out (because they are those people), the remainder isn’t as many people and they are in a group that still wants to work and get on.
  • Secondly, those in a position of management (i.e. those who feel as though they can effect change in the company) tend to be the most motivated.

Now, let’s not confuse motivation with productivity. You can be as motivated as you like, but without proper strategy or direction, you’ll just be a hammer in search of a nail. Nevertheless, those in management who felt the most motivated to be productive are worth interrogating.

Why Did They Feel More Motivated?

I would posit that the answer is very simple: they felt heard and that they could affect change. It’s a hugely important part of human psychology that we feel as though our ideas, thoughts, and feelings are heard by others. When we feel ignored, we feel unvalued. When we feel unvalued, we are (naturally) unmotivated.

This is not to say that you should make everyone a manager within your company. Your business might be a start-up or just a few people working out of your converted garage. The point is, make sure that they all feel heard. I guarantee you that—especially among the upper end of the 80%—you will see the greatest uptick in productivity if you simply listen to them. Make them feel as though they have a vested interest in growing your business, too.

If they can see the role that they play is important and understood by you, they will push themselves to go further, work harder, and achieve more. You have to put yourself in their shoes, which brings us on to the next point. . .

How to Use the 10-80-10 Rule to Improve Success

Okay, so far we’ve just looked at the 10-80-10 rule as it pertains to the success of groups. But how does it apply to us as individuals? What can we learn from it and use in our day-to-day lives?

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You might be a sole trader or maybe a consultant—someone who does not have a team to rally and simply sells your services to others. In that instance, how does this work for you? Divide yourself up into the 10-80-10. Do it by tasks: what are you most efficient/gifted at, what are you good at, and what do you constantly put off doing?

Here’s an example. Say you’re a writer (where did I get this one from?), and you’re very successful. You are asked to write articles for lots of great, top publications like LifeHack, or maybe you’re writing a book and your screenplay just got picked up by Warner Brothers. Writing is your 10% elite. It’s where you offer the greatest value.

It’s probably not the actual writing so much as it’s the creativity, ideas, and talent that you can bring to bear in your writing. The actual writing—sitting down at your computer, tapping it out, proofreading, and catching spelling/grammar mistakes—that’s your 80%. Sure, you’re good at it. You are competent and get it done. But it’s not where you are at your most powerful, and you usually run out of steam at some point during the day.

Then, there’s your bottom 10%. That’s probably your operational tasks, such as your timekeeping, bookkeeping, invoicing, correspondence, tax return, etc.

Where Do I Get These Examples From?

So, where can you be most effective in taking action that will support you in accelerating your growth? Again, start with the 80%. Try finding ways to improve the writing experience for you. Maybe observe yourself on a typical day, and note when you do your best work. It might be right after your second coffee that you stay at your desk for longer and write with the greatest clarity. So, start structuring your day around that.

What has that cost you? Nothing! It was simply a case of reorganizing your day and bingo, you are doing more of your best work in less time than it took you before. Pretty soon, after you’ve tightened up your day so that you are of maximum productivity, you’ll find that you have more time and resources.

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Once you are better resourced, having landed bigger and bigger jobs, you’ll be able to take care of that pesky bottom 10%. It could be that you eliminate it by outsourcing the work to someone else. Now that you earn more for less of your time, why not? Just take it out of the equation altogether.

Final Thoughts

The 10-80-10 rule is not about adding ridged structures or following strict rules per se. It’s simply a lens through which to view human behavior, including your own. The reason why it is (or could be) the key to your success is that it enables you to identify those small changes that you can make that will have the greatest impact and accelerate your growth the fastest.

If you categorize your labor and the labor of your employees in this way, you’ll be able to more easily identify where you can have maximum impact with minimum input. If you continue to work out from there, your success will snowball, and you’ll have the support in place to maintain it.

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Featured photo credit: Andreas Klassen via unsplash.com

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