This is one of the questions I hear most: "What one thing or one recommendation can you tell me that will have a huge impact on my life?" My answer is always the same: Accept 100% responsibility for everything in your life. It sounds obvious, but it's one of those recommendations that's easier to understand as an abstract or general idea than it is to implement. My holiday gift to you is what follows:

Accepting 100% responsibility means accepting that whatever happens in your life is either caused or encouraged with your complicity. Didn't get the job you wanted? What did you do, or not do, that resulted in that consequence? Spouse left you after a long marriage? What could/should you have done differently to produce a better result? Your business went "belly up?" What was your complicity in that failure? Until you accept responsibility for EVERYTHING in your life, you are destined for a circumstance somewhere between "average" and "failure."

The acceptance of total responsibility does not mean that outside forces do not conspire to ordain your defeat; quite the contrary! It means that you will go to great lengths – EXTREME lengths – to produce an effort to countervail that outcome. Acceptance is NOT resignation.

Take this one step further, from the abstract and philosophical to the concrete and practical. Here's what you have to do when you decide to accept total responsibility:

Give up blaming anyone for anything. This is really tough. Dr. Robert Resnick, a psychotherapist in Los Angeles, created the following equation to explain how to discard blaming and accept total responsibility: E + R = O, in which "E" stands for "event," "R" stands for "Response," and "O" stands for "outcome." Any time an event, positive or negative, happens in your life, you have a choice as to how to respond. Events can either be positive, negative or neutral. You cannot control events that occur outside of you. Dr. Wayne Dyer used to say "the world doesn't care. It's just out there worlding." Your response is what matters. You can choose to be a blamer and a victim, or you can choose a more productive response. The only thing you can absolutely choose is YOU! In my book, Consensus is not Kumbaya, I said the following: "Some people marinate in a cauldron of psychic dysfunction. They whine about the world and complain about how 'put upon' others make them feel. They continually, boringly and irritatingly place the blame for their circumstances on everyone but themselves."

These people set themselves up for failure in three ways: First, they imply that someone or something has imprisoned them. Implicit is the assertion that they cannot change their circumstances until someone else does something to free them; Second, they imply that their misery makes them unique, as if the world should lay success at their feet and that no one else has ever overcome a similar challenge or obstacle; Third, they embark on a recruiting mission so that they don't feel isolated in their misery. Their two clubs – the Loyal Order of Irritating, Recreational Whining Victims of America and the Submissive, indulgent Enablers of the Loyal Order of Irritating, Recreational Whining Victims of America – meet daily at every Starbucks in America.

You cannot be one of these people and be successful unless you decide that being a blamer and victim meet your criteria for success.

Give up making excuses. Like whiners and victims, excuse makers focus externally. They find or CREATE reasons that they could not succeed. Rather than creating excuses, successful doers understand that the world rewards action. They take the first step into the abyss. They use their failures to cultivate wisdom rather than letting it beat them down. They ask themselves compelling questions: "How was I complicit in my defeat?" rather than questions like: "Why is the world against me?"

Give up complaining. Have you ever noticed that most complainers complain to the wrong people? It's true! They complain about their home lives to their colleagues at work. They complain to their spouses about their fellow workers. They complain about their bosses to their peers and about their peers to their bosses. Losers complain endlessly. They're psychological vampires who suck the life out of every room they enter and all of the people in it. Winners ACT!

If you want to give yourself a REALLY BIG holiday gift this year, vow to own your life! Own all of it, which includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. Owning your life doesn't mean that situations, circumstances and people will never present tough challenges. It simply means that you are one of those people who accepts that the only person you can change is the one in the mirror.

Author's Bio: 

Rand Golletz is the managing partner of Rand Golletz Performance Systems, a leadership development, executive coaching and consulting firm that works with senior corporate leaders and business owners on a wide range of issues, including interpersonal effectiveness, brand-building, sales management, strategy creation and implementation. For more information and to sign up for Rand's free newsletter, The Real Deal, visit