You don’t have to get everything “right” to be successful and happy. Or have superhuman motivation and limitless willpower. Or master some tired model for prosperity that just doesn’t work anymore—no matter how hard your parents, peers and pop culture try to convince you otherwise.
In fact, with James Boileau’s “Own Your Sh*t” approach to life, you could start with a blank slate, fail a few times, do a fraction of what he suggests, and still come away with a better idea of your life and how to live it than nine out of ten of your friends.
Drawing from his own life and from his experience working with people stuck in frustrating jobs, toxic relationships, and bad habits, Boileau cuts through the noise and outlines dozens of proven techniques and strategies for getting your shit together and making changes in your life. You’ll see how to:
- Identify self-destructive behaviors and how to eliminate or work around them
- Ask better questions to get better answers
- Do less, set the bar lower and simplify everything
- Get comfortable with the uncomfortable
- Bring clarity to the chaos of frustration, dreams, and ideas raging in your head
Direct, honest, and filled with personal wisdom and practical advice, Own Your Sh*t will have you looking at your life in a brand new way.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What is “Owning Your Sh*t”?
Part I: The Foundation
Putting Yourself First
Settling into Yourself
Asking Better Questions to Get Better Answers
Part II: The Key Questions
What Positive Did I Learn?
Am I as Overwhelmed as I Think I Am?
What Is Mirroring Back to Me?
Have I Really Grown Up Yet?
Where Are My Boundaries?
Where’s My Focus?
Am I Actively Designing My Life?
How Do I Know When to Make the “Last Call”?
How Do I “Manage the Gap”?
How Do I Handle Judgment?
Am I Doing Too Much?
How Do I Define Success?
Part III: The Four Stages
The Four Stages of Making Sh*t Happen
Stage One: Awareness
Stage Two: Choice
Stage Three: Action
Stage Four: Commitment
Ready, Set . . . Own Your Sh*t!
How Do I Handle Judgment?
I love to sing and dance when I drive, run, work, or walk my dog, yet I am not very good at either of them. Still, that doesn’t stop me. I never used to be comfortable enough to do this, but now I do it in hopes that people see me and smile. To me that is a victory. Actions like these create change in the world at the micro level, which is how every macro change begins. But we never create the changes we seek if we let our judgments rule our lives. It doesn’t take much skill or bravery to judge others and ourselves. Judgment is simply feeling like we are not good enough. The worst judgments we make are the ones we make on the thoughts or ideas in our own head. These self-judgments hold us back from expressing ourselves and taking risks that give us the chance to grow. We have been conditioned to be “normal,” and anything that doesn’t fit “normal” we judge. We fear being abnormal because that would mean we are different and don’t fit into the group. A human being’s main survival technique is being part of a group, so anything that challenges that ability is a primal survival worry. However, a major part of owning our sh*t is figuring out which group we fit into. Our conditioning and environment have informed us of what might be expected of us, but the judgment creeps in when we are not sure whether those expectations match our desires.
In order to move beyond this, throw caution to the wind and ignore that inner voice of self-judgment and fear of not being “normal.” Listen to your body, rather than the endless negative chatter of your mind, to gauge what makes you feel awesome. This may make you feel awkward, look silly, or stand out. Perfect—that’s the real you! Rock it out loud and proud and you’ll be amazed at how it actually connects you to other people in better-fitting groups rather than separates you. Many people will smile and laugh with you, and appreciate you for being unabashed and putting it out there. These are the kind of people that are fun and supportive. They are the people you want to know and have around. Overriding your judgment allows you to see who and what is real and awesome in your world and let go of the rest.
It often feels like we are each waiting for someone to give us permission to let our realness out—quirks and all. This is what you’re looking for anyway and it’s just beyond the point you’re at right now. The best part is that when you go first and own your sh*t, it will inspire someone else to do the same and create a domino effect of awesomeness in your world.
I want to be honest with you: no matter how much you ignore the voice of judgment in your head; it is never going to fully go away. The good news is that this can actually be used in your favor. You can use that little (okay, sometimes huge) voice of judgment you have as a gauge to show you where your “edges” are. Edges are the places at the end of your comfort zone. It’s in these places that we can grow and learn the most. When judgment speaks up, be excited and listen to what it says and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. It is a tool to help you get closer to the you that you want to be. Don’t let judgment cage you in a scared, awkward version of yourself. Judgment is simply a marker to show you your current edges and boundaries so you can focus on expanding your life and being better.
Judgment is simply a marker to show you your current edges and boundaries so you can focus on expanding your life and being better.
Judgment is fed by silence and fear. It cannot survive in truth and light. I used to be afraid of being in the light, afraid that everyone would find out the truth about me. I was sure that I was alone in the darkness and that all my secrets and fears were crazy and that I wasn’t worth the air I breathed. I used to think that I was broken. I used to believe that something was inherently wrong with me. I thought that by being the person others deemed cool, fun, interesting, smart, sexy, and successful I could get rid of the ugly parts of me. I used to think that by starving myself, I could shed the weight of my humanity, or that if I stayed silent nobody would notice the scared and ugly parts of me. I know now that that was the judgment speaking. The truth was revealed when I started to exercise my ability to speak up and understand the judgment. Today I have the courage to say what’s on my mind and act how I feel, knowing that judgment will be passed by others and myself. It no longer stops me. I can transform my judgment through understanding, and someone else’s judgment of me is not my concern or even my business.
The “cure” to judgment is to meet it with understanding. What is the root of the judgmental thought or belief? As I mentioned, judgment won’t stop happening, but it will be transformed when met with understanding. Once you have compassionately explored the root of a judgment, take the type of action you really want to take despite any fears. Sing out loud to your favorite song while driving with friends! You will feel liberated, and will probably be pleasantly surprised by your friends as they chime in over time.