You’re running out of time.

The clock is ticking and I need you to take notice, so there are two ways I can play this article.

I can be soft and gentle and so beautifully wilting that you’ll just fob me off as a leftie hippy therapist and carry on as you were.

OR

I can be hard-hitting, tell it like it is, slap you around your slack jaw with my words and be enough of an asshole that you actually let this message hit home.

Just for today, I choose asshole. Because you need to hear this, and if you thinking I’m the biggest jerk ever to walk the planet achieves that aim, that’s okay… I’ll take one for Team Human.

I want to talk about the difference between fault and responsibility.

I want to talk about the line between being a wallower or a warrior.

I want to talk about your choice to drown in anger and self-pity or to use everything you have to swim towards something better.

I want you to realise how awesome you are. I want you to do something with your life. I want you to realise that your life-long hour glass is cemented to the ground and you cannot flip it.

How much sand is left in yours? What will you do with it?

Every day, I do something to make every grain count – even writing this, right now, I’m aware that more sand is flooding from the top half of my timer, so I need to use it in a meaningful way.

It’s the same for you. You can just sit there, watching that timer, feeling pissed off at whoever put it there, tears streaming, fists clenched, rooted to the spot as our sand gradually drains. Or you can do something productive.

So much of life has to do with perspective. Sometimes we get so lost in all the blows life has dealt us that we blind ourselves to the goodness and the potential. We focus too much on the ‘bad’ things that have happened to us, instead of working out how we can use the lessons we learned through those experiences positively. With a change of perspective, things don’t happen TO us, they happen FOR us.

Sometimes, we spend so much time pointing the finger and feeling furious and disheartened with our roll of the dice that we allow our negativity to paralyse us.

We’re blurring the line between fault and responsibility and landing ourselves in quicksand of our own making.

It’s not your fault you were raised in a poor area. Whether to stay or get out, as an adult, is your responsibility.

It’s not your fault your parent was an alcoholic/addict/abuser/criminal, insert your own descriptor here. What you do with your own life is your responsibility.

It’s not your fault that your boss was an ass / you were made redundant / you lost your job for some reason beyond your control. It’s your responsibility to rebuild and make the most of the rest of your life.

See the pattern? I could go on and on here. I’ll always remember one of my teachers saying: “Sympathy’s what you find in the dictionary between shit and syphilis”; it’s a really biting sentence, but it hits the right spot, doesn’t it?

We spend too much time patting people on the head, uttering “there, there, there” in a soft voice and telling people everything will be okay, that the hard breaks they suffered really were unfair, that life dealt them a tough hand.

Sometimes life does that. That’s what life is all about. We don’t pop out into this world and get handed a contract and terms and conditions citing fairness, prosperity and abundance. If we did though, it would likely state that fairness is beyond our control and prosperity and abundance are up to us to create and hold onto.

We need compassion. We do need someone to help us up sometimes, to offer reassurance, to give us love, support and encouragement. But we also need to stop wallowing and get on with making something of our lives.

We need to feel empowered to change things instead of being disempowered by using all the unfairness we’ve been dealt as an excuse for inaction.

And that’s what’s missing all too often.

We get stuck on all the injustice and unfairness and use that as a reason to sink, to stay rooted to the spot, to not pass ‘GO’ or collect $200.

Well screw that!

If you’re not happy with your life, it’s your responsibility to do something to change that.

Don’t like the life you have? Okay… what do you want instead? That’s the first step… create an image of the life you want to have and then start walking towards that. Just do SOMETHING! I don’t care if you believe in manifestation, prayer or reverse engineering… just get off your backside and do something positive to create the life you *want* instead of bemoaning the one you’ve had up to now.

Just look at the word for a moment: responsibility = response-ability = you have the ability to respond appropriately to whatever life throws your way. You just need to believe it and pick it up!

I pretty much flunked at school. I have no decent academic qualifications. I was bullied at school. I went through emotional, psychological and sexual abuse. I had an illness that left me with lung damage, one working only at a third of capacity. I’m asthmatic. I went through years of depression, suicidal thoughts and a breakdown. I broke my back in a car accident and still suffer with chronic back pain to this day. My dad died when I was still quite young. I have no inheritance to fall back on and no hidden savings pot. I have an issue with my joints that had specialists talking knee replacements when I was in my 30s. Medics tell me I have a 25% chance of developing one of those hideous degenerative conditions that doesn’t bear thinking about – one of those that would have many of us booking a one way ticket to a Swiss clinic. And there’s more, but none of you have all day for a sob story!

Here’s the flip side: I climbed to the top of a career in publishing before setting up my own business, training in all kinds of personal development disciplines and creating my own #UnleashYourAwesome empowerment movement. I’ve written two books so far – one of them is still in the bestseller list after two years, the other sold out four times in the first week of publication. I walk on fire AND teach other people how to do the same. I’m a professional speaker and have addressed audiences worldwide. I run three ongoing spiritual empowerment and personal development programmes – one online, two in person. I have celebrity coaching clients (and guess what – they’re just the same as you and I!). I’ve been an invited TEDx speaker and a BBC radio guest more times than I can count. I’m a co-host and regular columnist on America Out Loud. Oh, and I use all that experience of abuse to help other people drop the ‘victim’ label and shift into a place of empowerment and potential. I have two more books commissioned by two publishing houses. I have my own home and car, I’m happily married and we have four furbabies.

I’m making every grain of sand count. What’s your excuse?

I’ll leave you with one final statement, to end with that same intention I began with: If all you can see around you is shit, you probably have your head up your ass. You can pull it out and change your perspective any time you choose!