Are you getting in the way of your own success? You are the one in charge of ensuring people see your brand in a positive light. Here are three tips for demonstrating to others that you are taking personal responsibility for who you are.

Don’t wallow in the whine

Bad things happen and, sometimes, life throws us curve balls. I empathize with people in difficult situations who are struggling to get on their feet and move forward. At times everyone needs support. Most of us end up frustrated, overwhelmed, and uncertain at some period in our lives. This is part of life. It is important to discuss issues and deal with problems as we adjust and readjust our activities on the way to finding what works for us.

However, I also see people who are regular complainers. Day after day, month after month, they talk about what they don’t like and how they want their life to be different. They whine about what they don’t have. As time goes by, they don’t change a thing but continue to complain. Gradually, the people close by lose interest in helping them.

To ensure you don’t fall into this trap think about what you do when the going gets rough. Do you take charge and make the changes you need to improve your circumstances or do you wallow in your situation?

Own your mistakes and achievements

It would be very stressful to be perfect. Imagine that pressure. Never make a mistake. Don’t take a risk. The beauty of being human is that we are not perfect; we all make mistakes. The challenge is to accept our mistakes and to learn from them. The more mistakes we make, and the more risks we take, the more we learn and grow. Learning from mistakes only happens when we take personal responsibility.

I’m sure you know someone who thinks that nothing is their fault and that someone else is to blame for their misfortunes. Our litigious society tends to promote this behavior. Burnt your tongue because the coffee is too hot or gaining weight from eating fast food? Sue the restaurant. Surely you don’t have to check the temperature of food or monitor your eating habits. That is someone else’s responsibility.

This kind of thinking helps us comfortably settle into a life of entitlement, where we don’t need to take ownership for what we’re doing or where we’re heading. Surely someone else is in charge of that. In a similar way, many people assert they are lucky or fortunate when they achieve success. This is just as dangerous as blaming luck for misfortune. If you don’t believe you play a role in your mistakes and accomplishments, there’s no reason to adjust your behaviors.

Are you taking personal responsibility for your actions? Or do you minimize your part in your mistakes and achievements?

Walk your talk

The statement “Do as I say not as I do.” makes no sense. We all learn through social modeling. Actions are much stronger teachers than words. People will see and remember how you act more than they will remember what you say. And, when your words and behaviors don’t align, others see the inconsistency. They can start to doubt what you say and will find it hard to trust you.

If you say you’re going to do something, follow through. If you espouse a value in your brand, demonstrate that value in your everyday life. Talk is easy. Talk is cheap. Showing who you are by acting in a way consistent with your message is tougher. When people walk their talk others find it much easier to believe them and buy into their message.

Take charge of your brand by walking your talk, owning your mistakes and accomplishments, and adapting rather than whining when things get tough. When you take charge of your life you continuously adapt and improve. Others will notice that you are dynamic, authentic, and self-responsible. These characteristics are an important part of your successful brand.


Donna Dunning, PhD, is a psychologist, certified teacher, member of the MBTI ® International Training Faculty, and director of Dunning Consulting Inc. She is the author of more than a dozen publications, including her two newest books, 10 Career Essentials and What’s Your Type of Career? 2nd edition. Donna’s guiding principle is: Know yourself, respect differences, learn and grow. Follow Donna on Twitter and Facebook and visit her website.