Whenever I am in a situation where someone asks me what my superpower would be if I could have one, I always choose full, total and complete self-responsibility for me and for others surrounding me. This is because in an instant if we all genuinely, believed, practised and implemented it the world would become a better place.
By implication, I am talking living in a world of no excuses. Instead of saying ‘the traffic held me up’ we would say I didn’t allow enough time for the trip, I’ll increase it next time. Instead of saying ‘I can’t exercise because of the kids’ we would say I am going to include the kids in the way I choose to exercise. Instead of saying my team dropped the ball on that project which is why it is late, we would say, I am the team leader so I am responsible for it not being delivered on time.
As you can see they are subtle differences, yet incredibly powerful in terms of taking self- responsibility for our world as opposed to undertaking a habitual blaming of everyone and everything else.
I recently read ‘Extreme Ownership’ by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. They are military special forces and have been deployed in many of the worlds hot spots. In one of the opening chapters, they tell a story of being in Afghanistan, surrounding a building that their intelligence told them was hiding the enemy. Through a stroke of luck, immediately before engaging their weapons they found out that the individual inside the building was in fact one of them, a friendly. They had almost committed the unpardonable military sin and shot at their own.
You can just imagine the proverbial hitting the fan if that shot had of been taken. The commander of the unit then had a choice, to investigate every little nuance of the entire process to work out systematically who had made the errors and apportion the appropriate blame (Option 1) or alternatively to take the harder leadership path and to put his own hand up to take responsibility for the errors that had led to the near miss.
In that moment, he had to make a choice that would significantly go on to impact his leadership style, directly affect his teams support of him and ultimately could see him taking full total and complete responsibility.
Think about your life, work, relationships, health and wellbeing. In what areas could you step up to take full total and complete responsibility more obviously in your world. It could be one of the below or it could be something different. Is there somewhere in your world you are about to shoot a friendly?
Perhaps you have a team member that is not up to scratch. You can take full responsibility by ensuring that they are fully trained, understand what is required of them and so that you know what personally motivates this individual.
Maybe you are the CEO and your Executive team are high-levels of conflict. You can step up to take responsibility for this and also for fixing it to make the team more effective.
Maybe you run your own business and you use this excuse for doing poorly ‘it was the market, not me, not us’.
Ultimately our life is full of choices, if we take full total and complete responsibility for those choices and decisions we are much more able to create the world and the business and relationships that we want to see. What can you do immediately in your world to step up and take full total and complete responsibility in your life? Guess what, the commander chose to step up and so can you.