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You Are Not My Responsibility

You Are Not My Responsibility

It happens to the best of us.

Nurses, healers, social entrepreneurs, coaches, therapists, moms.

We try and take on the world’s problems. We try and take on the world’s pain since we are strong enough to handle it. But then we just burn out and help no one.

Something like that happened to me over the past two months. After announcing The Conference Of Men I felt this huge weight on my shoulders. The weight of the men who need the work and the weight of the women who wished more men did the work.

Every story of a woman who’s leaving her husband because he won’t open up to her emotionally.

Every story of a man who’s terrified of jumping into the dating pool because he never done so and now he’s worried that he’s too old.

Every story of a woman who’s been physically or sexually abused.

Every story of a man who doesn’t know how to feel his emotions.

Every story of a woman who’s tried everything to be more attracted to her partner, but to no avail.

Every story of a man who has difficulties in the bedroom.

And as I travel the world hosting events, meeting readers, and writing unapologetically about my life, the stories just keep rolling in. And for the past two months, the weight I’ve been carrying has just been getting heavier and heavier.

Until now.

I had a session today with Laura Hames Franklin and this theme kept coming up in every exercise we did together.

It’s something I coach my clients on all the time, but for some reason I wasn’t following my own advice. My goal is always to leave every person I meet better than I found them. And I have been, to the detriment of myself.

Conceptually, I get it. I’m only one person with 168 hours a week, just like the rest of us. I can’t say Yes to every request on my time and I can’t help everyone who I encounter in my life.

But from a spiritual perspective, I struggle with this idea. I struggle a LOT.

If I have the ability to help someone with just a quick phone call or an hour of my time, why wouldn’t I?

If someone takes 45 minutes to pour their heart out and tell their life story in an email to me, then why wouldn’t I write back a similar response?

And who the hell am I to say, “No, I just don’t have the time to be your friend.”

When I first started getting started in the internet entrepreneurship space I used to judge some of the “internet rockstars” who made themselves inaccessible and only hung out with each other. I thought they were selfish and rude. I thought they were opportunists. I thought they felt that they were too good to hang out with the rest of us.

But now I just see they were conserving their energy to do the work that matters. And who the hell was I to judge them for how they run their lives and their businesses?

So today I’m getting back to what has always been a huge part of my life, up until two months ago: Radical Self Care and Self Love.

And in the effort to be crystal clear and to give you permission to do the same, I’d like to formally declare:

You Are Not My Responsibility

Just as a parent’s number one job is to make her children independent, our job as coaches, healers, authors, or speakers is to help others find their way. Not pick them up and carry them on our backs.

The only person who is responsible for my happiness is myself. The only person that is responsible for my success is myself. And the only person that is responsible for taking care of my mind, body and spirit is myself.

So I’m getting back to the basics.

A lot more movement. A lot more exercise. A lot more sleep. A lot more water. And a lot more fun.

On the exterior, not a whole lot will change. I won’t look different, I won’t walk differently, and I won’t wear a sign that says, “Sorry dude, I can’t help you.”

But deep down inside, where it counts most, I’ll operate from a place of self love, self care, and deep connection to self. And from that grounded, centered place the little decisions will start to make themselves.

Which will ultimately involve me saying No a lot more. Which breaks my heart, but it’s just what I have to do in this moment to continue to show up as my best self.

Because at the end of the day what good am I to the world if I’ve given all of my time and energy away and left nothing for myself?

And more importantly, what good are you to the world if you do the same?

  • joshlipo

    Strong post, Mike. Really strong. Enjoy the Self Love!

  • Sean Carley

    It is by caring for self that you will arrive as the greatest possible force in the world. You can’t help everyone, but by caring for self first, you ensure you can help the most possible to the greatest possible effect. Well done, Mike.

  • RebeccaTracey

    awwwww yeah. I have been learning to set boundaries like this and it’s making a world of difference in my life. I show up fully for the clients that pay me (because this is the job I have set out to do), and I have created simple easy referrals and resources to send to the people who I just simply can’t give the time to for the sake of my own well-being.

    It’s a hard lesson to learn, but every entrepreneur has to take back the reins a little and really evaluate where their energy is going, if they want to stay sane


  • Max Nachamkin

    Indeed. We have to take care of ourselves first and foremost, selfishly, to be selfless and help others. The key is to show up in the world and help everyone (including yourself) at a net gain – and if that means you have to say “no” to others more, then so be it.

    Taking care of yourself feels good, too, yeah? 🙂

    • Mike Hrostoski

      Yeah, it feels freaking amazing. But it’s really, really hard to have a certain level of healthy apathy in order to serve the greater good. It will be a constant struggle and I’m sure I’ll keep micro-calibrating for the next couple of months.

  • Deb Burnett

    So true Mike. Thanks for the reminder and for your willingness to be vulnerable by sharing this.

  • Lu

    I have often said that “No” doesn’t mean never, just not right now. I have been more comfortable over recent years with this particular “n” word. If I am not a good to myself, how can I be in good condition to help anyone else? Thank for sharing this Mike.

  • Constantine Arzate

    I had a coach who made me realize I had to look out for number #1… Me. Because no one else was going to do it for me. I ended up with more energy and better quality time being spent with friends, loved ones, and clients. Its about quality of time, not quantity. Thanks for the reminder mike.

  • Lukas Sliz

    I’m feeling you Mike. The same happened to me, with exactly the same thought patterns, and the exact same consequences – and fortunately the same conclusion.

    Do the best for yourself and you will do better for everyone else. As a being you are a well of energy that brings everything to life that you touch – but when there’s no water coming to the source, what water can you keep on giving when there is no water left?

    To greatness,


  • Max Mendoza

    Thank you man. Really needed to hear this again my self. I gained so much from when I first truly / fully / freely embracing loving my self. You supported me on that path.

    It’s easy to take for granted when all that self love makes you feel full to serve & give to the world. Now I see that I need to recenter to that so I can be the best version of my self – serving my self so that I can continuoue to come from a place of fullness as I serve.

    Much love to you – from you and to me – from me.

  • Aarti Mulani

    Beautifully written…wow

  • Ramona Russell

    Great post. This is something I started working on a year ago (after a shitload of personal loss), which totally opened up space for me (within my business, personal and financial life). I wrote about it here ( Thank you so much for writing about this (and for being so open and honest). Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • Andreea

    Wow, what a great post! I can totally relate to this – I’ve been feeling like I have to say YES to everyone in order to be a “nice person,” but you are so right! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • Liz Flores

    Thank you for this because it’s just what I needed. I am a worrier-I worry about my sister not doing well in school, my parents not doing well financially, the guy down the street asking for money, etc. Like you I desperately want to help people but I realized their issues were slowly seeping into my life and becoming my own even though I had no control over the actual outcome. In the past when I started to think of myself or when I thought about resting instead of continuing to work I have felt guilty-but this post has reminded me that self love is necessary and nothing to feel guilty about. No one knows exactly what I need except for me. Thanks Mike!