Skip to content

Grow up. It sounds a little abrupt, I know, but not many of us manage to become real adults. There are so few role models in public life! The good news is that there is an inner adult in you. Forget about bringing out your inner child. The world is already full of childish antics and behaviors. Cultivate the inner adult in you.

It begins with being witness to yourself. Step outside of yourself and notice what you do, how you react, and the person you become in various situations. Witness your own thinking. What thoughts do you hold that cause you to speak and act and feel the way you do? Witnessing yourself is self consciousness. This is not the self consciousness where you are worried about how you look to others. This is nonjudgmental self consciousness. Just observe yourself and take notes.

As you are observing yourself in various situations, are you a center of influence or are you a center of attention? A center of influence is aware that every thought, emotion, word, and behavior s/he expresses has an effect. If you are in conflict with someone, you ask yourself, “What effect did my words, tone, or actions have on that person?” As a center of influence you see others in terms of their needs, not yours. This is how an adult sees the world.

As a center of attention you see other people and the world in terms of what they have done to you, or in terms of what they should be doing for you. The universe revolves around you. As a center of attention you see others in terms of your needs, not theirs. This is how a child sees the world.

As a center of influence you own your thoughts, feelings, words and behaviors. You see your impact. There is no blame and there is nothing to complain about. There are no excuses. You are not a victim. You are unconditionally accountable for your life. You create goals and you succeed or you fail. Failure is an opportunity for learning. Once you recognize a mistake or acknowledge a failure, you learn and move on. You do not hold yourself hostage with guilt, nor do you expect others to feel guilty over you.

As an adult you consciously play various roles and you live your life. As a child you are your role, and life happens to you. Adults are still emotional beings who make mistakes. Awareness and ownership are the difference. You catch yourself and you make corrections. It takes lots of practice to manage your ego. The ego is the child within you, but it is not who you are. You are the witness, the observer. Who is this me who is observing? That is a grown-up question, and I hope you keep on asking it.

Avatar photo

William Frank Diedrich is a speaker, executive coach, and the author of three books, including Beyond Blaming: Unleashing Power and Passion in People and Organizations.

Bill speaks in organizations, conferences, and churches about leadership, adult to adult relationships, moving beyond blaming, and spiritual and emotional growth. He coaches people at all levels in organizations to help them be more successful. He offers a free e-newsletter entitled Transformation Times.

For more information, please visit

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Wow. That was great. This is one that I will re-read and re-apply to my life as needed (often). Thank you for sharing.

  2. I try wholeheartedly on a regular basis, to practice the great wisdom in this inspiring article so that I may become a better human being. Thank you for the article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *