You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. -Jim Rohn
The role of Story in individual growth and leadership development is fascinating, powerful, and foundational to personal success. The invitation of Story is to listen, learn, and lead; the reward is accelerated growth.
Not only are we given the authority and power to edit our Story, it is in fact, our responsibility.
Last week, my journey highlighted the connection between personal responsibility and success. For some time, I’ve been working on my soon-to-be-published book – THE PEOPLE PROJECT: Your Guide to Personal Development and Growing Your Influence.
My copy editor, LeAnn, has the manuscript 99% complete; Jim Stovall wrote a great Foreword and cover designs are ready to choose from.
What happened Wednesday? The resistance; you know, opposition.
Finally, in a note to LeAnn I owned it, “I’m stuck.” I listed the things paralyzing my progress. Desperation exceeded my fear of making a wrong decision and something wonderful happened; I took responsibility AND action.
Giving thought to “What’s next?” combined with the act of writing it down freed me to take action; the strangle hold of fear was broken.
Giving thought to “What if?” allowed me to see the silliness of my procrastination which is driven by a lingering perfectionism (yes, I’m a recovering perfectionist). The reality (truth) exposed my deceptive thinking and set me free. Within 30 minutes I pulled together what LeAnn needed to finish her part of the back cover and sent it off to California. Up and at ‘em, Atom Ant!
Now, my book is 95% complete.
Have you experienced how the suffocating effect of the resistance? Listening to the story helped me hear the truth (facts/reality). To illustrate…two simple bit so truth from my story were:
- Reality Check #1: Cover Design…most likely any of the designs will work.
- Reality Check #2: How I secure my book’s ISDN number really doesn’t matter that much; just do it!
Listening to Story for truth allowed me to “learn”; freedom came and I stepped up to lead the project; to edit the story. The action moved me toward successful completion of my goal: publish my book.
Simple, Just Not Easy, Accepting Responsibility
There’s no “secret” here, but maybe this will help you or someone you know experience personal success by accepting responsibility. Think of a traffic light: yellow, red, green.
1. SLOW DOWN (yellow light) pay attention to the indicators, all rooted in self-deception.
Blaming – Yes, attributing responsibility to someone else
Complaining – Unproductive expressions of unhappiness with a situation
Excuse-making – Creating an invalid reason to avoid something
Victim-mentality – Hiding as helpless in this situation
Once we notice these warning signals, what then?
2. STOP (red light) as you catch yourself thinking or saying words that are blaming, complaining, excuse-making, or victim-am-I oriented, stop.
Stop and breathe. Yes, the amazing grace gift of a cleansing breath
Think, ask questions such as
What really happened?
Who am I blaming for this situation? Why?
Why am I complaining…really?
How am I making an excuse for my role in this…?
What effect is “feeling helpless” having on me right now?
Open up to other viewpoints; How can I edit the Story?
Probe for the truth in the Story: What did I expect?
To stay at the intersection of life’s journey now it’s time to GO.
3. GO (green light) own your story.
Edit your response and change the outcome
Accept responsibility and use your authority to act
Focus on the desired outcome and focus on others in the story
Create your preferred future
When we accept responsibility, creation can happen. When we edit our Story we create stronger relationships and responses which will lead to future success.
Everyone has a story.
Every day we add to our story.
Today, you will influence someone’s story.
Our narratives intersect, the story develops; accepting responsibility, we write the Story.
Where do you need to accept responsibility?
Please share your comments below.