My mentor, Dr. Kate, with whom I worked when I first launched my business and continued working with in my first couple years, once asked me, “How much do you care? Do you care enough to made a radical change?” in response to my seemingly never-ending complaints about how things at work were going and how it was negatively effecting every other aspect of my life.

The question took me aback it was so unexpected, but it turned out to be the catalyst question that set me firmly on the path to quitting a corporate job that had long since ceased being good for me and starting my own business. (Kate interviewed me on the topic a couple years back in conjunction with an online video summit called “Unstoppable: Self Care for Fearless Living“.)

I still find myself contemplating, again and again, ‘how much do I care?’ I think it’s an incredibly helpful way of looking at one’s life, career, health, etc. If I find myself feeling stuck, overwhelmed, confused, not healthy, I know it’s time to stop, apply a little nurturing self-care, and then ask that question of myself. If I feel any of the above, it’s likely something may not be working anymore; something I’m in the habit of accepting as usual may, in fact, need to change in order to improve the situation.

Owning Your Triumphs AND Failures IS Self-Care

The fact of the matter is, until the question is asked, it can be difficult to know what may need to change or what you want to change to bring equilibrium and joy back in. And let’s be honest, change can be hard so most of us procrastinate or outright avoid it — but we’ll keep complaining.

The thing I both love and loathe about the question, ‘How much do you care?’ is that it puts the onus of responsibility for my happiness and success on my shoulders alone. It empowers me to own both my triumphs and failures, my shadows and my brilliance.

True responsibility is powerful, scary, burdensome, and freeing all at the same time. If we accept it, it means we get to choose. We get to choose how happy, successful, sad, fearful, mad, inquisitive, adventurous, etc. we want to be in any given situation and overall in life. I don’t know about you, but I call that empowered self-care.

Change is Hard Self-care helpsAdmittedly, it’s not always easy to identify just what it is you’re feeling and not liking. We can’t always instantly tell the source of that restless, icky feeling, so when we find ourselves in that place, it’s really helpful to get some outside perspective and support from friends, family, coworkers/colleagues who know us well. If you’re not comfortable talking it out just yet, then it’s a good idea to take some time to be more in an internal space … journal, run, hike, meditate … do anything that will get you quiet so that you can hear what your True Self really needs you to hear, because that’s the only way you can make the changes that will ultimately make you happier and healthier.

Empowered to Choose

At the end of the day (and yes, even those days in which meltdowns have happened), I still choose to be responsible for myself. I don’t want anyone else holding the key to how I live my life. I LOVE being fully empowered to choose. Sometimes I’m so jazzed to run my business I feel I can do anything and succeed, and then there are those inevitable times when I’m not and I’d much rather not make one more decision. BUT, even in those darker moments, I still know I’m choosing and it’s all mine. I know that I control the path of my life. And I know that if I’m not happy with something, or things aren’t working the way I want them to, I just need to stop and take a moment to ascertain if what’s happening is temporary or is it time to care enough to make a change.

How do you approach this question? How do you approach figuring out if it’s time to make a change in your life? In your business? I’d love to hear from you — and please share!