As I am writing this blog, it is Saturday morning and I am sitting in the waiting room at Bob Jane Tyre Mart, waiting for my tyre to be replaced. Why am I telling you this? Because there is a story that led me to this moment I thought would be worthwhile sharing. The day before, just as I was on the verge of complaining and blaming, I stopped, took a breath, and then took full responsibility for where I was.

Rewind about 18 hours from now and I was just leaving for an appointment at a café nearby. It was almost 5pm, the rain had started, and I was cutting it fine, as I sometimes do. As I drove down the one-way street, through a traffic moderator, I wasn’t paying attention as I should have been, and I heard and felt a thud. I had hit the protruding barrier that was there to deliberately slow down drivers. I was jolted back into the present moment and kept driving, until I felt something not right. The car was pulling to one side and there was a rough sound.

I stopped and got out in the rain to discover I had punctured my tyre. I was annoyed, as you can imagine. I looked at the time, and thought, I will keep going, driving very slowly, go to my meeting and then change the tyre afterwards. Hopefully the rain will be stopped by then. As I drove, every second person was trying to get my attention to let me know I had a flat tyre. I thanked them and let them know that I was aware. Finally, I got to the place, parked, prayed I had not done too much damage to the rim of my wheel, and went to my meeting.

As I arrived, I couldn’t see the person I was meeting anywhere. I walked around, looking in every corner, to no avail. I waited about ten minutes, made several calls to try and reach him, again to no avail. So, even more agitated, I left to go and attend to my massacred tyre. On a good note, the rain had stopped, just as the sun was going down. Well, the rain stopped just long enough for me to get the jack and spare tyre out of the car and then it started raining again, this time heavily. My irritation level was rising. For the next 30 minutes or so, I changed the tyre in the rain, in a puddle, in the dark, and finally finished saturated and infuriated.

I was just about to spiral into blame mode, as I was saying to myself, if only this person had cancelled earlier, I would not have come out, would not have rushed, would not have had a flat tyre, and would not have had to change it in the rain. I was justifying to myself why it was not my fault and looking to shift responsibility. Then I stopped, and thought, come on Andrew, this is not you. You are not a blamer or a victim. I took a deep breath and then I took 100% responsibility. It was no-one’s fault except mine that I was rushing. It was no-one’s fault except mine that I wasn’t paying enough attention on the road. It was no-one’s fault except mine that I ended up with a flat tyre I needed to change in the rain and then replace with a new one. It was all my doing. I am responsible.

Did that make me feel any better? Not really, I was still wet, out of pocket, and annoyed. However, I did learn something from it, and it did provide me with content for this blog. You see, when we blame others, for anything, we can never move forward in that area of life. Blamers, from my experience – and I should know, because I was one – are miserable, stressed, anxious, and never move forward to create great things in their lives. When you take full responsibility, even if the responsibility was shared, you will be given the most amazing gift of lessons, opportunities, and freedom. Taking a breath and taking total responsibility will empower you beyond belief.

I now have a new tyre, have written a new blog, I met a new friend at Bob Jane, and I have rescheduled the appointment I missed on Friday. So, all is great and, as I write this, I feel awesome. All is wonderful when you take responsibility. In my podcast this week with Billy Ballard, called Spread the love, we discuss his spiral into drug addiction and the chaos it caused in his life. Billy talks about the moment he took a breath and then took full responsibility and how, in that moment, everything changed for him.

No matter what you are facing right now, and no matter how easy it may be to shift the responsibility elsewhere, I want to encourage you with all my heart to stop, take a breath, and then take 100% responsibility. In the moment you do that, your life will change for the better.