A few weeks ago I attended a training program where we were assigned some electronics to aid our learning experiences. As much as we did not ask for them, we were entrusted with them for the duration of the training program. As fate would have it, I misplaced or rather lost the gadget to be more precise. I could not locate where I had placed it after a while and now it was time to hand it back.
Panic is an understatement of what I went through as I frantically looked everywhere for this gadget. I could feel my stress levels go up and would gladly make use of a scape goat at the moment but I knew that as hard as it was, I still had to own up. I remember sitting in a taxi heading home and having this internal dialogue where I told myself I choose to believe the best of everyone which makes no one a suspect in this matter.
The mind has a way of getting the most of us. I was already developing a list of potential suspects in my mind and I knew the effect that these thoughts would have on my relationships with these people. By using to own up even at the cost of refunding the gadget, I still chose the believe the best of everyone and assume that some rare stranger had taken the gadget of indeed it had been stolen.
Life is full of choices, and what you make of them determines your entire experience. Sometimes you may swim against the current, and other times you may go with the flow. Recognizing that the outcome of your life is a product of your decisions is what accepting personal responsibility is all about. Weather any storm that may come your way like the captain of a ship, since after all, calm waters never made a skillful sailor.
The real difference between being responsible and being irresponsible is an indication of how effectively we’re managing our lives when the opportunity to make a good or bad choice presents itself. Accepting responsibility is one of the most important factors in defining a person’s true character. When that responsible moment comes, what you do – or don’t do – is an indication of the type of person you really are.
Failing to accept personal responsibility may work to your advantage on occasion or in the short term. For example, you might get away with keeping your mouth shut about something that you’ve done, or even blaming someone else for your misdeeds. You might not face consequences for your wrong actions…at the time. However – make no mistake about this – eventually this poor choice will catch up with you and, it’ll typically cause more pain for you down the road than if you’d stepped up to the situation, took responsibility for it and honestly said, “I did it”
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”
In a typical workplace, you will have several opportunities to take responsibility or to pass on the blame. Make a personal decision to always own up for your mistakes and to apologize as need arises. Sometimes as a leader you will even have to take the responsibility for your team and own up on their behalf then straighten it out with the responsible individuals later. Whichever situation you find yourself in, make a conscious decision to own up for your responsibilities. That is one sure way to guarantee your success in any given career.