Meet Adam. Adam is a Sales Manager frustrated with his team’s sales outcomes. He silently – and sometimes not so silently – berates his staff for their underwhelming performance.  Adam daydreams of switching to a new office and starting anew or firing members of his team on a weekly basis.

So many people today feel unhappy with the status quo at the office (and at home!)

Can you relate?

They want a higher salary, greater professional satisfaction and more fulfilling personal relationships. Drained and disappointed, they blame others or complain about bad circumstances.

But let’s be honest: What they’re really doing is letting themselves off the hook and rendering themselves powerless.

America’s foremost business philosopher Jim Rohn famously said:

“You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”

The only way to get the results you desire is to take 100% responsibility for yourself, your life and your choices.

No one brings this lesson home better than one of my personal mentors, Jack Canfield, in his New York Times best-seller, “The Success Principles.”

He teaches that when something is broken in your business, you have to own it.

If your team isn’t performing, own it. If your sales strategy isn’t working, own it. Owning it means taking an honest look in the mirror and reflecting on what actions you can take or what personal characteristics you have to develop to achieve the results you want.

Canfield also shared a formula that gave me a clearer understanding of the “taking 100% responsibility” concept.

E + R = O

(Event + Response = Outcome)

He shared that if you don’t like the outcome that you are currently generating in your business or life, you have two choices:

  1. You can blame the event (E) for your lack of results (O).

Assigning blame to the negative events and circumstances in your life is easy. You can blame the economy, your lack of money, inadequate support, the weather or even the current administration in Washington! No doubt, all of these factors exist, but if they were the deciding factor, nobody would succeed. You simply cannot let your circumstances dictate your outcomes.

Let me give you an example…

I recently met with a sales team. Each member worked in the same market, sold the same products, used identical pricing and had the same opportunities. I had the opportunity to speak with every team member in the privacy of their own office.

“How is business?” I asked Sally, the first salesperson that I met.

She proudly responded that business was good. She had been exceeding her monthly production goals and was excited about the opportunities on the horizon.

The next sales person I approached was Ted. I asked the same question: “How is business?” to which Ted openly shared that business was tough. He blamed a myriad of industry changes and uncompetitive rates for poorly impacting his sales outcomes. He also shared that if he didn’t have to stay glued to his desk, he would be able to produce numbers like Sally.

Here, we have two salespeople in the same market with the same product, pricing and opportunities. Yet, one was succeeding and the other was not. Their outcome was driven by their individual response to their circumstance.

So, what’s the lesson?


  1. You can change your response (R) to the event (E) the way things are, until you get the outcome (O) you want.

There are three things that you have control over in your life: the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take. Your ability to control or change your thoughts and behavior determines your experience.

Sally made the decision to take 100% responsibility over her response to what was happening around her.  As a result, she achieved great outcomes and even exceeded her goals.

Unfortunately for Ted, he chose to respond by complaining and blaming his circumstances. This directly affected his performance.


Do you want to generate different results? If the answer is “yes”, it is critical to evaluate whether you’re taking 100% responsibility in your life.

Ask yourself: What’s not working? How can I improve it? What do I need to ask for? What action and steps can I take to change the results I am getting?

  • If your team is underperforming, don’t point fingers. Take 100% responsibility. Turn the situation around by improving your coaching skills or your own sales skills.
  • If your production isn’t where you want it to be, don’t point fingers. Take 100% responsibility. Prospect more, advance your sales training, or improve your presentation.

Start by choosing one action and implementing it. Then take on another action and another … until you get the outcome you want. This is a proven formula for success.

Remember: When you point your finger at yourself and accept responsibility, you empower yourself to change your outcomes. And that’s incredibly liberating.

Cindy Tomcak is a 30+ year veteran of the mortgage industry.  Cindy has walked in many of the same shoes as you, as a Processor, Loan Officer, Branch Manager and Area Manager.
To impact the industry’s toughest challenges, she masterfully developed the Mortgage Maven Method, the Mortgage Industry’s #1 Breakthrough for Sales Leaders and their teams.
Her other program – Make Every Conversation Count teaches and increases authentic communication skills in leaders, sales professionals, and support teams of all generations.
Cindy is a well-seasoned and experienced expert advisor who delivers her message through speaking, holds a variety of impacting seminars and coaches individuals and teams to success.