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Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything [Audiobook, CD] [Audio CD]

John Izzo Ph.D.
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 14 2012
Stepping Up argues that almost every problem, from global warming to personal issues to business challenges, can be solved if each of us were to look to ourselves to be the agent of change, rather than looking to others. The more each of us takes responsibility and chooses to step up and initiate change, the more we will find personal power and be able to influence change. And with research to prove it, John Izzo shows that by seeing ourselves as the locus of change rather than the victims of change, we are happier and less stressed.

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About the Author

Dr. John Izzo is the founder and CEO of the Izzo Group, a training, coaching, and professional development organization that focuses on helping leaders and organizations reach sustainable success through the integration of purposeful leadership and business practices. His clients include nonprofit organizations, Fortune 500 companies, Healthcare Organizations and mid-size companies.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Practical Dec 27 2011
By J Ball
There are books that are extremely inspirational and others that provide great step by step advise. John Izzo's Stepping Up combines both beautifully. Through sharing the amazing experiences of ordinary people and John Izzo's own life stories, this book provides extremely compelling examples of how our lives and the lives of those around us can be changed forever through stepping up and taking responsibility for what is important to us. The ideas and stories in each chapter build a motivating and practical path that can be followed both in one's personal and work life. I am already half way through a second reading!
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I read Izzo's 5 secrets you must learn before you die, and bought this book based on the strength of the former.

I was very disappointed. The general message of the book is good, and at moments it helped to wake me up to how I was making excuses or how I could be more, better and step up. Those moments I enjoyed, but they were few and far between. The rest of the book feels like filler. The stories come from varied back grounds but all are told in such short fashions that it feels like he copied blurbs and abstracts from magazines with a few words of why they are good examples.

Some of the examples are HORRIBLE. He applauds a lady at the LCBO for deciding to spruce up the store and getting 50% more women buying products. For those of you not from Ontario the LCBO is a Liquor store ... its also the ONLY liquor store - because in Ontario only the government can sell liquor. Her "stepping up" involved sprucing up a store with NO COMPETITION and getting more women to drink...


Beside from borrowing heavily from other books - a story about the KIPP program featured in other books like Malcolm Gladwells Outliers and Talent is overated by Geoff Colvin, the other stories are often unremarkable or mentioned shallowly.

I think at the end of the day the reason why this book sucks is because he tried to write another book in the same format as his previous hit "the 5 secrets you must discover before you die." In that book the short anecdotes worked so well and helped to illuminate simple wisdom held within. Unremarkable stories almost served to punctuate the point - that life can be lived well by anybody.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Arrived fast, Dec 22 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book, heard about it in a meeting, it arrived faster than we could locate it in a store and drive, park and get it, I LOVE IT!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very inspirational! Nov. 10 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well written and easy to follow steps for taking charge of your life. Lot's of great Canadian examples of success.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is 100% guarantee nothing will change if you don't step up... Jan. 16 2012
By D. Kanigan - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It seems fitting that I finished this book today, on Martin Luther King Day -- a day held in memory and in honor of the man who stepped up, took responsibility for what many believed was impossible change and led the way forward. I have read two of John Izzo's earlier books. I find his books, including this one to be inspirational. He makes me want to be a better human. In this book, Izzo offers "practical advice to anyone who wants to bring about positive change in any area - work, marriage, family, community or world - but isn't sure how to start." To support his recommendations for stepping up, he offers up interesting "little" stepping up stories (e.g. picking up trash) to bigger relationship anecdotes (e.g., marriage) to global stories (e.g. bullying, homeless, environment). Each chapter is followed by "how to" steps. As a result, this book is very readable, engaging and a page turner. I highly recommend it.

This book's premise centers around 2 concepts: the need to take responsibility and the results of what happens when we step up and take action. Izzo states that when we focus on what we can change rather than getting others to change, we move into a place of power. Here are the 12 chapters along with the major takeaways for each chapter:

1) The Five Rows of Responsibility: Pointing to someone else is easy and ultimately means no one does anything...when you catch yourself blaming someone, ask yourself, "In what way am I contributing to the problem?" And ask "what can I do to make things better." If each of us begins where we are and does what we can, anything is possible...choosing to act inspires and challenges others to act...
2) It's Not my Job, It's Not My Fault: Banish victim thinking. Rather than focusing on what has been done to you, ask what you can do with what you have. Choose to focus on what you can control...Challenge fixed mindset thinking. Avoid leading with: "I am not _____" and turn statement around to "With effort I can be more ____.
3) I Am Only One Person: When you are tempted to stay on the sidelines, ask yourself which you will regret more, trying without success or holding back. Assume that others are already acting with you or will act with you. This will spur you on. Focus on important and not trivial matters that will prevent you from achieving your legacy.
4) Only Naive People Change the World: Remind yourself that only naive people ever change things. Challenge assumptions. Disregard the voice in your head saying it won't matter if I step up and take step anyway.
5) 100% Responsibility / No Excuses: What is 100/0? When we take 100% responsibility and give ourselves no excuses for why we can't act to make things different, everything changes. Part of being 100/0 is a willingness to look in the mirror first, instead of looking outside. When we take full responsibility, everything changes. Take responsibility. Don't make excuses. Ask yourself "How else can I get this done?"
6) Do Something...Do Anything: Find one thing and get start immediately in the direction you seek. Find some allies and start to meet and talk about improvements. Don't talk about how other people need to step up. Focus on what you can do. Talk about the future - it is often a powerful precursor to change.
7) Always Begin in the Room You Are In: Focus on what you can do right now to move in the direction of improvement or change.
8) Leadership is Not a Position: State your intention. Punch above your weight or formal position. Go bigger than whatever role says you must do.
9) Stepping Up by Speaking Up: Challenge your colleagues. Be constructive. Stop complaining. Break the silence - speak up for the change you believe in.
10) Who Am I to Step Up: Replace the voice that says "Why me?" with "Why not me?" Take a step you don't think you are qualified to try to change.
11) Creating a Culture Of Stepping Up: Leaders need to invite their teams to sit at the table...Ensure you encourage rather than discourage people to step up. Go overboard in praising effort as well as results.
12) One Person Always Matters. "Life is short, and you don't want to wonder what might have happened if you had stepped up."...This is the time to step up, right now. It may not matter if you do so, but you won't ever know if you don't.

Here are my favorite passages:

"It is true that if we step up there is no guarantee that things will change...but here is the truth: There is 100% guarantee that nothing will change if you don't step up. What's more, we are much more likely to regret having staying on the sidelines than we are to regret our failures...People rarely regret failures but often regret not trying."

"Busyness is often the greatest is easy to let trivial matters fill our calendars and days rather than focusing on making a difference...What have you been meaning to step up to do that keeps getting sidelined by the deceptively urgent and ultimately trivial?"

"Whenever we focus on what others needs to do, we give away our power and let ourselves off the hook...this gets to the heart of the challenge. It does not matter what anyone else is or is not doing; the place to begin is always right here and right now. This tendency to think that others, instead of us, need to change is both insidious and disempowering....whether trying to change our family, our company, or the world, we are powerful only when we focus on what WE can do.

"...we all have a voice inside of us that says we can't step up. It tells us we are not good enough, that we are going to screw this up, a voice that says how foolish we will look if we fail. There is another voice alongside it that says you can do it and that you want to do it...We have to be aware of the voice in our head that is keeping us prisoner...we can accomplish so much more than we think we can if we are willing to word hard and be as creative as we can be."

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Book, Inspiring Dec 23 2011
By Book Fanatic - Published on
This book is only 150 pages long but it is absolutely packed with insightful ideas. The central theme is stop worrying about what others are doing or not doing, and to "step" up and take responsibility for what YOU can do. This sounds simplistic but the book aims to show the reader how powerful this seemingly simple idea really is. In that task it succeeds exceptionally well. It's a mix of theory and stories. The ideas are presented and then illuminated with short stories of people exhibiting the behavior. It is all quite inspiring. His 100% Responsiblity / 0% Excuses chapter is worth the price of the book alone.

I highlighted heavily in this book, especially the first part where the main ideas are described. I've found that is a very good indicator of the value I get from a book.

This book is highly recommended to anyone who wants to make a difference in anything and I totally agree with it's message. This is something I have felt for a long time, but John Izzo beautifully articulated it. Well done.

Please take advantage of the Amazon "Search Inside" offered on this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Radical Responsibility Jan. 23 2012
By Stan Pontiere - Published on
Review: Stepping Up by John Izzo Ph.D.

I knew that I was going to enjoy this book even before I even opened it because the subtitle struck home with me. The full title is Stepping Up-How taking responsibility changes everything. Long ago, I adopted the idea in my life of taking what I call radical responsibility. Too many of us are willing to blame the external world for our unhappiness and lack of satisfaction. The fact is-if we take 100% responsibility for our life then we can live a full and rich life. Not only will our life be better but also those who are close to us-our friends, our family, our coworkers and everyone else that we come in contact with. In fact, carried to the extreme, we can change the world.

John Izzo Ph.D. Is the author of the bestseller: The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die. Like the "Five Secrets" I expect that "Stepping Up" will also be a bestseller. I really enjoyed the way that John structured this book. Each chapter he lists a key theme or idea and then provides a short story to support his theme or idea. I have always found this method of taking my medicine far superior to the method so often used in personal development literature. I can learn much more from a short story. It has much more impact for me than someone just telling me a list of ways that I should be doing things.

I also like the way in which John constructed this book, in that, at the end of each chapter he lists the key points and themes that we should remember and at the end of the book he has a separate chapter which we can easily reference to find the key themes and ideas that he taught us throughout the book.

Getting back to the main point of the book-we need to stop blaming the world outside and start taking personal responsibility for our emotions and actions. In a recent survey in the United States which is arguably the richest and most powerful nation in the world, 80% of the US population said they were not happy with their lives. This can only be the result of living our lives in a manner to suit external sources rather than taking personal responsibility and living a life that fulfills our personal dreams. As long as we base our lives on what others think, we are doomed to a life of mediocrity and dissatisfaction.

Taking 100% responsibility for life does not mean blaming ourselves for personal failures but it does mean viewing our life in an objective nonjudgmental manner which will lead to creating a better life for ourselves. If we live our life for others then we will always be dissatisfied. However, if we live a life of personal responsibility that is congruent with our deepest values then we can be assured that we have lived a life that is meaningful.

If you're wondering why I only gave this book 4 stars, it is only because I felt that some of the supporting stories could have been stronger and had greater impact. Other than that, I feel this is an important book and should be on everyone's reading shelf. If you read and apply the idea of radical responsibility and really step up not only can you change your life and those who are close to you but maybe even on a worldwide basis. As John said, it all starts with one step and the rest will follow.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IF, you're planning a great future, you'll need this book! Dec 18 2011
By Full Spectrum Leadership - Published on
"So, you are planning an amazing year ahead, you've got your goals and intentions in your planner, and visions of sugar plums are dancing in your head. Hold on you may say: "What is going to make the next year different from every other?"

Well let me tell you what could make it very different. READ THIS BOOK!

John has achieved what many amazing writers have been trying to do for years. He has, in one concise volume, created a blueprint of what life can be truly like when we Step Up and take Responsibility.

I could certainly give you my own views of what spoke so loudly to me in John's book when I sat with my Kindle at the coffee shop and read the entire thing. I could share what spoke even louder when I reread it at home. But, I'd be spoiling it for you.

Buy the book, read the book, and it will likely be in your bag wherever you go. You'll see."
4.0 out of 5 stars great read June 13 2014
By Julia Huuepfl - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
great read that inspires me every day! however, it does get quite repetative after a while. this is not necessarily a bad thing as it helps you to remember all the important aspects of taking responsibility for your life. all in all I can derfinitely recommend it!
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