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Who is Responsible? Who is to Blame?

November 7, 2011

Many of us are good at drawing up abstract plans but not as skilled at identifying the resources we need to see our plans through to the end. We over-shoot with all kinds of great ideas and then get down on ourselves for not getting it all done! Plus, follow-through is tough if we feel isolated or competing demands seem to always take the driver seat.

It’s easy to blame others when things don’t work out the way we want them to. As far as I can tell, it’s up to us and the strength of our commitment that makes things work.  Self-accountability is based on commitment to yourself. Here are 4 rules that guide me every day into acting on what matters the most to me. (Thanks to Angeles Arrien, an incredible wise woman leader, for teaching me these!)

1. Show up and be present. No strategy, no newfangled idea, no action plan works by itself. You work it. The same person, in the same conditions with the same resources can make it work or not. It’s up to you to give it your all. Or as a friend of mine says: “no-thing works”.

Have you ever been on a river with hefty rapids? The way to flounder, the way to get sucked into the eddies is to hesitantly paddle. The way to get through? Dig deep and paddle hard. Even better? Do it together. As a team.

2. Tell the truth without blame or judgment. You know if it’s working or not. Set up a way to figure that out before you are all the way down the stream.

If the boat is leaking air, pull over to the side and get out the kit. If it’s not fixable, hike out! Or jump in another boat. It’s not much fun to ride a sinking boat to the bottom.

3. Pay attention to what has heart and meaning. If you don’t care about what you are doing, if you are not passionate about the direction you are heading – figure out what will ignite your passion. The hard things get easier when we are responsible to ourselves – when we look for and go for what has heart and meaning.

The easiest and safest way to get down the river? In the center of the flow where the stream moves the fastest. It’s the sweet spot with less turmoil, fewer big rocks and more fun.

4. Be open rather than attached to outcome. If you make yourself wrong, beat yourself up or throw a fit when things don’t happen like you thought they would you’ll decrease your morale. Continuing to work through problems is good. Unrelenting clinging to one outcome is sticky and clogs up the power of  your commitment.

OK, back to the river one last time: I almost cried after one rafting trip when everyone recounted how much fun they’d had. I’d counted on sun and it rained and rained. In my disappointment, I forgot to notice how much fun it really was! (After all – you’re wet anyway, why does it matter? :))

It’s your business and your life.  Unrelenting, enduring, dedicated commitment involves your head, emotions, and body. Get them all involved in developing a wise system of keeping yourself on track based on these principles and you’ll have the best year ever in 2012.

BTW: Today I posted 7 questions to use in assessing your past year and getting yourself ready for the next in my business coaching blog on Me Ra Koh’s SOAR!.

How do you hold yourself in the center of your commitments? Is there a principle that works for you?

Karen

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2011 5:12 pm

    Yes! I love these. I think number 2 is key; when I’m at the beginning of something it is so difficult to tell whether it is working or not. I don’t know. It may look like it isn’t working at all and I think I’m in a leaky raft and just need to bail out, but maybe I’m just paddling inefficiently. Figuring out how to tell whether things are working or not, and how long to dig deep and keep paddling before truly being able to tell that they are not working, seem to me major issues, whether in business or in anything else. I think that’s where a good coach can come in. It also ties to number 3, though; to tying what I’m doing to both the longer term vision of what I want, but also some shorter-term sense of — am I able to enjoy the journey as it is? Like being wet anyway so enjoying the rain….

    • December 27, 2011 10:05 am

      Julie, YES. It’s sometimes tough to see accurately what is and is not working. A wise talking partner can be so important and my wisdom partners have helped me jump ship (rather than going down with it) and learn how to paddle well at other times. I appreciate that outside perspective so much! well said.

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