Understanding self-direction and taking responsibility for your life is vital to your personal success. How you handle adversity, face challenges, and make everyday decisions will shape the course of your future. In the absence of self-direction you may one day discover that you are on a different life path than the one you want to follow. You can change that path by redirecting your life and taking charge of your life decisions, thus reclaiming your personal power.

Two primary pillars of your internal support system are key in attaining self-direction and personal power: a healthy internal locus of control and emotional resilience. Your internal locus of control governs how you handle the situations that impact your life and, ultimately, how you support yourself and direct your life; it is how you use your inner determination, self-direction, and self-motivation. Resilience is how you rebound from adversity and return to your place of inner power and support. Resilient individuals do not just simply cope; they are able to flourish after enduring tremendous life challenges. Your internal locus of control is significant in developing resilience, and both are protective emotional factors. This combination of internal locus of control and resilience enables you to play out the hand you are dealt rather than folding. Taking charge of your life is a skill, and just like with any other skill, you can practice personal responsibility through developing your internal locus of control and resilience until you are confident and are able to play your cards and win the hand of success.

Individual resilience grows through the support of others during childhood and continues into adulthood. This support can be found in parents, mentors, siblings, teachers, peers, and inspirational books. If you didn’t receive this support as a child, you can work to develop it in adulthood. You may choose to work with a counselor who can support you and help you to gain a greater understanding of what you have endured emotionally; a counselor can also help you to work through emotional issues and move into your power. We all know how great it feels to have someone support us emotionally when we pursue our dreams, are excited about a new adventure, are worried about work issues, are physically ill, or feel disappointed or sad. Think of how you feel when someone you love congratulates you on a job well done or how you felt as a child when someone stepped in to help with your homework or a difficult project you needed to tackle. Perhaps someone listened with a compassionate ear when an important romantic relationship ended. Self-motivation and determination coupled with an external support system are a powerful team.

You might ask what causes one individual to choose a productive life and another to lead a less desirable life when both have faced similar adversity or lived in the same environment. You might wonder about the determinant that causes some people to achieve great success and rise out of poverty, in comparison to others, who may have had privileged childhoods and yet live lives of mediocrity and quiet desperation. This determinant is your internal locus of control. With a strong internal locus of control you are self-directed and motivated. You look to others for support, but you assume responsibility for your choices.

Resilient people with a strong internal locus of control

* are able to give of the self in order to help others or support a cause;
* use healthy life skills, such as responsible decision-making;
* are assertive or confident in interactions with others;
* use impulse control and are able to delay gratification;
* are problem solvers and critical thinkers;
* are able to be a friend and form positive relationships;
* have a healthy sense of humor;
* are perceptive to the signals of others;
* are autonomous and independent;
* have a positive view of their personal futures;
* are flexible regarding change;
* have a capacity for and interest in learning;
* have the ability to follow through;
* are self-motivated and develop talent and personal competence;
* have a feeling of self-worth and self-confidence;
* value integrity;
* have faith in something greater than the physical or believe in God or a divine source.

Review these characteristics, and take positive action in the areas you need to develop. Having a sense of your inner power, working for what you want in life, taking steps toward your goals, persisting with discipline, and holding on to your dreams are the internal characteristics that will drive you to rise from the ashes. Surround yourself with supportive people who can help you to achieve your dreams and live a more fulfilled life. Sometimes, our emotional wounds are deep and inaccessible without closer examination. We may need someone, a professional counselor, who can offer guidance in healing. While your internal support is perhaps the most critical component in determining your happiness and success, it is also beneficial to have a reflection of that strength and vision from those who support you on your path.

Begin to take charge of your decisions today. Free yourself of those who sap your energy, and keep company with those who see your light and support you on your life path. Use the following affirmation as a tool to help you connect with your personal power, take responsibility for your life, and strengthen your internal locus of control. Your success awaits you!

I take charge of my life today. I take steps to move forward in the direction of my dreams. I surround myself with people who support me and release anyone who is hindering my growth and personal development. I let go of the naysayers and bless them out of my life. My life is on track with my highest good, and I fill my life with people who support my highest good. I also support them on their life journeys. We share a mutual trust and encourage happiness, health, and abundance. I find greater support as I connect with my personal power and take responsibility for my life decisions. This connection provides me with great strength and determination as I take charge of my life and create success today.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/greatways.html

Author's Bio: 

W. Jane Robinson is the author of The Divine Declaration—Awaken to Your Divine Inner Power, Your Life Depends On It. Having grown up in the state foster care system, she learned about self-reliance and personal power at an early age. She holds a BA in Psychology, and human behavior, motivation, and spirituality have been the central focus of her education and life experience for 20 years. She has studied both areas academically and experientially. You may contact her at Infinite Endeavors Publishing Company, P.O. Box 1236, Oxford, GA 30054, e-mail her at wjr@ieservicegroup.com, or visit her at http://www.ieservicegroup.com.