Winston Churchill said, "The price of greatness is responsibility." We all want to be great at something, even if it’s just talking to friends. But to be great in more areas requires us to be responsible in more areas. This means that we are the ones accountable for what’s going on. One day, as a manager, I was getting frustrated with everyone bringing me all their problems. I went to my mentor to vent and he stopped me after the first sentence and asked, "Aren't you the one responsible? Isn't dealing with problems what you do? Step up to your responsibility!" Wow! What a shut down but true.
When dealing with our personal lives we have the responsibility to govern our actions. Which means dealing with our own personal problems and issues. Freedom doesn't come if we continue to push our responsibilities to the side. Friedrich Nietzsche said it this way, “Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves first.” True responsibility brings freedom.
3 Responsible Areas
1. Errors – It's inevitable, we all make some types of errors or mistakes daily. However, the irresponsible thing to do is to allow ourselves to live in the error – continuing to practice or support the mistake we’ve made. Responsibility responds to errors and mistakes with quick confessions and sincere efforts to make things right as soon as possible, no matter the cost. This is a challenge for me and I'm sure it is for all of us but is necessary if we want to live effective lives.
Accepting more responsibility calls for you to looking at your messed up, accept your consequences, and work to make things right. Freedom comes by owning up to your errors not by covering them up.
2. Excuses – When we make comments like "I’m not responsible for this because..."or "I would've, but...” we could be making excuses to lighten the load for ourselves. Being responsible calls for us to know our place in what we do and then shut down the excuses we tell ourselves.
Overcoming the habit of making excuses is one that must be developed. Start by admitting the real reasons why you did or didn’t do what was needed. If you’re too lazy, too tired, or just felt like doing something else, that is the truth. Admit the real issue instead of lying about it but, keep in mind that just admitting to it doesn't necessarily take away or soften the consequences. Josiah Stamp said it this way, “It may be easy to dodge your responsibilities, but you cannot dodge the consequences of dodging your responsibilities.” Be willing to accept the consequences of what you have done without giving in to an excuse.
3. Earn – Every stage of responsibility should be earned. It’s like climbing a ladder; we can’t get to the top unless we first stand on the first step. We should not be entitled to a higher level of responsibility if we cannot master the first step. My son was asking me one day to move the car so he could play basketball, I said, "I don’t know son, you haven’t been doing too well at parking and moving the lawn mower." I wasn't telling him that he could never move the car, I was saying that you need to prove yourself more with less responsibility. His freedom was where he was, moving the lawnmower successfully. More would come as he master that.
If you desire more work, more trust, or more opportunities you must prove yourself on step one. If you're not moving, check yourself for signs of irresponsibility. Do you take for granted the responsibilities you have on step one? Watch how you say things like: this is boring, stupid, or a waste of my time. Work to take every opportunity as one that could bring freedom to your next level.
Summary – Accepting responsibility is a must for success in your life. The facts state that – a more challenging, fun, and new thing will not keep you engaged in being more responsible in the long run. The things that will keep you engaged in a new responsibility are your deep values. Having a commitment to a clear purpose backed by your values like - honesty, positive attitude, respect, diligence and self-control are key to you having long term success.