Win Harper | Life and Leadership Coach


I discovered a few years ago that Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” has a hidden message.  No, you don’t have to play it backwards to understand it.  Did you know if you play a country and western song backwards you get your dog, your wife, and your truck back? Anyway, from Jimmy’s hidden message, I developed the Margaritaville Philosophy of Life.  Commonly referred to as MaPoL (pronounced like maple). This philosophy comes from the following three lines of the song: “It’s nobody’s fault”, “it could be my fault”, and “it’s my own damn fault”.  A lot of people stop at the first line.  They say things, such as, S—- happens, they did it to me, and poor me.  If we continue the progression, however, we start to take more responsibility for our own lives.  And at the moment we arrive at “its my own damn fault” you are then in charge of your life.  Saying, “its my own damn fault”, doesn’t mean you were wrong, and it isn’t a sign that you are weak, it is empowering and equips you for success. 

You are complicit and participate in the events of your life. Taking responsibility helps you access confidence and feelings of fulfillment. This allows you to seek solutions and take action steps.  Playing the victim game dis-empowers you, leaving you with emotions of hopelessness, helplessness, and even bitterness. 

Simply stated, “If you are not part of the problem, then you can’t be part of the solution.”

The next time you hear Margaritaville listen for this message:  I am responsible for my life and what does or doesn’t happen to me.

Accepting Personal Responsibility

Next is a list of what accepting personal responsibility includes. Coaching is a great way to access this powerful and empowering trait.

Accepting personal responsibility includes:

o Acknowledging that you are solely responsible for the choices in your life.
o Accepting that you are responsible for what you choose to feel and think.
o Accepting that you choose the direction for your life.
o Accepting that you cannot blame others for the choices you have made.
o Tearing down the mask of defense or rationale for why others are responsible for who you are, what has happened to you, and what you are bound to become.
o The rational belief that you are responsible for determining who you are, and how your choices affect your life.
o Pointing the finger of responsibility back to yourself and away from others when you are discussing the consequences of your actions.
o Realizing that you determine your feelings about any events or actions addressed to you, no matter how negative they seem.
o Recognizing that you are your best cheerleader; it is not reasonable or healthy for you to depend on others to make you feel good about yourself.
o Recognizing that as you enter adulthood and maturity, you determine how your self-esteem will develop.
o Not feeling sorry for the “bum deal” you have been handed but taking hold of your life and giving it direction and reason.
o Letting go of your sense of over responsibility for others.
o Protecting and nurturing your health and emotional well-being.
o Taking preventive health oriented steps of structuring your life with time management, stress management, confronting fears, and burnout prevention.
o Taking an honest inventory of your strengths, abilities, talents, virtues, and positive points.
o Developing positive, self-affirming, self-talk scripts to enhance your personal development and growth.
o Letting go of blame and anger toward those in your past who did the best they could, given the limitations of heir knowledge, background, and awareness.
o Working out anger, hostility, pessimism, and depression over past hurts, pains, abuse, mistreatment, and misdirection.

Copyright 2009 by Win Harper.