Own Your Sh*t the book by Life Coach James Boileau.

Own your sh*t means to take
responsibility for all the good
the bad and the unknown
pieces of your life.

Some people go about their lives feeling confident, creative, and abundant.

Some don’t.

What separates
these people from
one another?

Is it education?

They play a role, but are not the defining factors.

The real difference
is this: those people
own their sh*t.

That means they take
responsibility for the good,
the bad, and the ugly in
their lives —

Even when it would make
sense to blame, quit or hide,
they forge forward.

They are committed.

They are infinitely resourceful.

They align their daily habits
with their values, their
beliefs, and their goals.

Are you ready to build
better relationships,
a meaningful career,
and an abundant lifestyle?

Are you ready to
own your sh*t?

Change starts now.



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
Embracing Change
Putting Yourself First
Being Authentic
Listening Actively
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.

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Core Values

Own Your Sh*t imagines a world where we all realize the power, success, and fulfillment that come from taking personal responsibility for our lives and the directions they lead.

Anyone can change their lives and careers for the better, starting today. Real boundaries exist in the world—hunger and thirst, mental and physical illness, violent oppression. Yet many of us who’ve been fortunate enough to have lived without those boundaries still find ways to create boundaries of our own—most of which are largely imaginary. Own Your Sh*t is about crushing these imaginary boundaries.

Many of life’s challenges are timeless, but those of us who are Mellennials face economic and cultural shifts foreign to our parents and grandparents, and we have to adjust accordingly. A trillion dollars in student loan debt for degrees that don’t guarantee jobs? This is just the starting point of a new ball game. The speed of change, creation, and communication is outpacing itself and in constant flux. Own Your Sh*t is about knowing how to handle the pace and flux.

Change comes first from knowing yourself through honest—sometimes brutally honest—self-reflection. Deep within each of us lies a “true north” that guides us on our unique path toward our purpose and passion. But we often lose our bearings when ego, apathy, and laziness get in the way. Or when the messages we receive from outside influences vastly distort our priorities and send us spinning off on tangents. Own Your Sh*t is about asking the deep questions that help us cut through all this noise to get to a place that’s more authentically us—a place that is grounded.

Own Your Sh*t is about teaching a person how to fish. We do not define individuals’ beliefs and values for them. We do not presume to know better than an individual what his or her path, passion, or purpose is. Rather, Own Your Sh*t is about giving people the tools to figure out and pursue their best interests on their own. Only from this place are we infinitely resourceful.

We Give a Sh*t

It is only when you own your sh*t that you can truly give a sh*t, because then you know what truly matters.

We give a sh*t about sustainability, education, and social enterprise. That’s why we print responsibly and give $1 from every book sold to organizations that further education or social enterprise around the world.

Every book is printed using 100 percent FSC postconsumer wastepaper.

Proceeds from each book sold help organizations build schools, provide vocational skills and teacher training, and offer scholarships.

Social Enterprise
Proceeds also go to help social entrepreneurs build businesses that make our world a better place.

We will continue to find ways to give a sh*t and encourage you to give a sh*t in the areas that matter most to you.


Coach, entrepreneur, marketer and designer. I provides no bullsh*t life advice to people in their 20s and 30s as they best navigate the intersection of business and personal. Discover the full story.