The Lindsay Lohan Approach Doesn’t Work

For those of you fortunate enough to not be media hounds, let me catch you up. Miss Lohan is in the news again. DUI and cocaine possession. Haven’t heard much on the DUI, but she says the cocaine wasn’t her’s, it was a friend’s and she was just “holding it” for him. Sure it ain’t, sure it is, and sure she was.

Obviously I don’t buy it, but hey, it could be true.  Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Her approach still doesn’t work – in either scenario.

I have had the pleasure recently of making a phenom new friend (Hi Lani!). We were discussing a past event in my ancient history. She asked a great question – “What gift did you gain from that terrible experience?”

First, let me explain why she’s a great friend and that’s a great question.

  • She didn’t focus on the negative.
  • She didn’t ask me to focus on the negative.
  • The question is a gentle way to insist that I redeem something valuable from everything.

Yep – she’s cool.

The answer is “lots.” But, the single, most important one is personal responsibility.

For all you die hard voyeurs that love a good drama – go ahead a stop reading. I am not getting into the details.  You can read all about my views on internet posting here. The important part is it was bad, it was relational, it’s over and it’s ancient.

While going through it, it is hard to learn anything from it. It’s kinda like becoming a great football team – you have to go back the next day and watch the tape.

After the dust had settled, I was mad – really mad. I blamed the entire world for my mess – a mess I had gotten myself into. And there it was…I made choices that inserted myself into a situation. Regardless of how offensive the other parties involved were – I picked them to be in my circle. I chose to allow them into my life, even when I knew better.

And there’s the lesson – personal responsibility.  You can justify just about anything, redirect almost any blame, and renounce all consequences. But, at the end of the day, the only thing you have full control over is your personal actions, feelings, and plans for tomorrow.

This gift has translated into every aspect of my life – family, friends, business – all of it. It has created a mantra of sorts into how I decide which course of action to take in any given situation. “Do whatever it is you want to do – as long as you are ready to accept whatever consequences come from said action.”

  • So it wasn’t her cocaine – did she not know that even being around it was a bad idea?
  • So your client has gone to another provider – shouldn’t you have returned their phone call?
  • So your bank account is steadily rising – good on you for going the extra mile to provide that great customer service.
  • So your kids are doing better in school – setting aside time to be engaged in their life has worked out.
  • So your not as in shape as you would like to be – go ahead and skip the gym again.

All of these situations can have outside influences – people, schedules, difficulties, dislikes – guess what – oh well.  The point is to understand that regardless of the outlying conditions, the choice is still yours. The ownership is on you.

Is there a time you have taken personal responsibility? I am not asking you to air your dirty laundry, but I would love to hear of other life lessons learned and personal building experiences. They are the things that make us great people and wonderful friends.

 ***Update***Going through my reader, I found this post by Carpe Factum. Good stuff! 


  1. April – love the emphasis on personal choice. It’s amazing how many “abdicate the throne” of responsibility and accountability to our circumstances and to other people… regardless of our status in life. I’ve caught snatches on the Lohan story… too much success too soon is almost always a bad thing if you don’t already have your head screwed on straight. Thanks for the trackback/link love to Carpe Factum.

  2. You missed one superior quality about Lani – she’s a UT alum and fan (and that would be THE UT, Texas. I know in your parts some people think UT means Tennessee… though ironically I’m sitting here in a U of TN t-shirt.)

    Phenomenal post April. It’s frightening how personal responsibility just seems to be tossed by the wayside so much these days. I’ve long felt if I can instill only that in my kids, then I’ve done well.

  3. Oh, and thanks for the linkage!!

  4. Tim – are you kidding? I always look for reasons to link back to your site…I just could think of anything to add to that amazing SWAT experience.

    Jay – you are welcome! It is the least I could do to support the cause of great customer service – that was a great story!
    Um…nope – didn’t miss the UT fact…you obviously didn’t click the “great football team” link.

  5. I clicked the football link. I can’t pass up a football link! Got to a Georgia Bulldog page. I’m not getting the UT connection…

  6. Right…that means I do not hold the fact that Lani likes some other team against her. Because I value her friendship, I choose to ignore this one fact about her. It seems I must implement the same rule with you.

  7. April, what a huge surprise- this IS the challenge (wink)! I would find it hard to believe that anyone would hold my Longhorn-ness against me… (& thanks for the nod Jay, ol’ buddy)

    I learned some time back that ALL negative things in life lead to something positive. April, I don’t usually ask that question because most people seem to WANT to talk about the negative, but I quickly sensed that you’re a positive person!

    So my life lesson:
    I went to a long weekend retreat at church and conciously decided NOT to befriend a woman 20 years older than me with hair parted down the middle and a tie-dyed T-shirt. No biggie, we all choose to not approach people different than we are… I stuck to people more like myself.

    The last day of the retreat, I became very sick with a head cold (kinda wanted to die a little). At breakfast, I couldn’t eat and my friends preferred to jibber jabber, but Tie-Dyed shirt sat next to me and silently pet my back as she ate her food (we never spoke, I was delirious).

    A week later, I emailed her and confessed that I had judged her based on her hippie looks. She was taken aback by my honesty but responded “I am vegan and love tie dye, you judged correctly.” So, I invited her to coffee, hugged her immediately when I saw her and told her that I was sorry for judging her.

    The lesson I learned is that we ARE different, but I CHOSE to open up to her about stepping out of my comfort zone. She is now one of my closest friends- our girls even play together and I’ve learned to cook tofu- who knew?

    APRIL- YOU are an awesome friend and I look forward to our challenging each other for a long time to come! Thanks for the kind words! Amazing article!!!

  8. Lani – I am glad you liked it since you are the one that inspired it.

    Your comment was awesome – that is one of the things I noticed about you right off – you, when appropriate, put yourself all out there. Your are reckless, but you are real.

    It is an exciting thing when you have friend that makes you a better person.


  1. […] week, over on Making Life Work for You, I talked about personal responsibility.  It was the first attempt at an idea Lani and I have been brainstorming over. When she mentioned […]

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