By Alice Wheaton
100% Accountable + 100% Responsible = 100% Trustworthy
75% Accountability + 75% Responsibility = 75% Trustworthiness
100% Accountable + 100 % Responsible = 100% Trustworthy
Trust is all about Ourselves
When our words and actions match, we are congruent and trustworthy. There is only one test to tell us if someone (including ourselves) is congruent and that is the test of time. When we give our word, to others and ourselves, and keep it, we are perceived by the world around us to be trustworthy. Ultimately, we are all known by our actions.
Right now, there may be many, many circumstances towards which you feel powerless. The choices are to adopt either a submissive, defensive, or fully accepting stance to those situations. Some resistance to this concept is very natural. After all, one does not want to be adrift on the sea of life, alone and assuming 100%, responsibility might seem like a formula to face life alone, without the support of others. The opposite is true; your relationships will be even better than before when you make a decision to practice the Art of Leadership. Think about these words of a popular song of the seventies: I am a rock…I am an island… Who wants that? Almost no one. Asking for help is still accepting responsibility.
For example, what if you have a job that you promised to complete on July 17, it is now July 12, and you have come to a dead end. You don’t know how to accomplish a very important part of that job, yet you are 100% responsible, so what should you do? The answer is to ask for help and in doing so you will still maintain 100% responsibility.
Now, imagine a team brought together to accomplish a task. The objectives and measured outcomes are presented. Everyone on the team personally and voluntarily accepts (for no one can mandate this to another) 100% responsibility for the result. This is imperative for a great team to function. Imagine saying to a chain: Okay, you three links here are only 50% responsible, but the other 110 pieces are 100% responsible. The point of lowered responsibility in the chain is where the efficacy of the entire chain is weakest.
Would you want that particular chain with several weak links holding the gates of your neighbor’s yard closed with a pair of ferocious, dedicated guard dogs behind it? Probably not! Any relationship where each of the members assume 100% of the responsibility will function much better than if one or the other accepts only partial responsibility. The language of someone who is not willing to be accountable and responsible sounds like this:
It takes courage to accept 100% responsibility for our lives. If I assign 85% responsibility to me and 15% responsibility to you, for the remaining 15%, I am in a potential ‘victim’ state. Assuming 100% responsibility for our participation in the past will free us from projecting guilt, and resentment onto others.
Let us say someone really did something bad to you as a child. How can you take 100% responsibility? You can, by saying: This ‘bad’ thing happened and I can let it affect me for the rest of my life, and I can choose 100% responsibility for my attitude toward it. I can observe how my thinking about the past event colors my life today. I do not like or want that, so I let go. The past is done – I cannot change it. It does not exist. If I continue to live there, I am controlled by an illusion for an illusion is something that does not exist but that I give energy to anyway.
Taking 100%, responsibility for the present is also freeing. Notice when something bad occurs, there seems to be a frenzied witch-hunt. Whom shall we blame for this? What if someone stepped up to the plate and said: Let’s stop looking for the person who did this and start looking for the solution. The quicker we assume responsibility for the solution, the more likely we will see ourselves and be seen by others as having the traits of a leader. The future will provide us with freedom, abundance, challenges, rewards, pain, setbacks, joy and success, all of which make up the rich tapestry of life. Do not spend time affixing the blame; fix the problem!
Like the past, the future is also an illusion – it is not here yet, but we can be prepared and give ourselves the edge by assuming 100% responsibility for ourselves as we go forward. With this proactive attitude, we have focus. This is one of the reasons top performers achieve their position; they have a have a concrete plan for their life. It means they have already taken the time to create priorities for the future. There is something magical about that. Our expectations have a greater chance of being achieved, when we plan. In addition, with a plan we give ourselves the freedom to add, delete, or change in response to the actual events as compared to planned events. If we have no plan and leave everything up to fate, then we must accept what comes blindly and fit ourselves to it as best we can. When we have a plan, life still delivers tragedy and sorrow, but when it does, we are resilient and are not thrown off course for long.
Our attitude of living 100% responsibly will keep us vigilant as we complete due diligence before getting involved with someone else’s project, thereby preventing the disasters associated with ‘trusting the untrustworthy’! Moreover, if we should err, we are able to trust ourselves to deal with the consequences.
Let us look at the pattern of trusting the untrustworthy. This is a common weakness, or character deficit. Even the most well informed and sophisticated of individuals are ‘taken advantage of’ more times than they care to admit. This is unjust and unfair, but so what! The trend will not change unless we learned to ask ourselves the all-important question: What is it about me that cause me to trust the untrustworthy?
Some of the answers to this one question may be:
When you discover what your reason is for trusting the untrustworthy, plan to spend some time in quiet reflection, and see where you had something to contribute to almost every situation that hurt you. When you take 100% responsibility, it does not mean it is open season on beating up on yourself! It is more a matter of: Oh, so that’s the cause. Now I need to learn new skills so it does not happen again.
One of the tools you can put to work right now to mitigate the danger of trusting the untrustworthy is a balance sheet – listing pros and cons of any decision you are about to make and then giving yourself a week just to sit with the process and ask some ‘call to truth’ questions such as:
Most decisions made in a hurry turn out to be wrong. Your new mantra could be: I make my decisions over time with lots of due diligence. Another step is to require the other person to put in writing, in measurable terms, what they will be delivering. If they cannot or will not, the answer becomes clear – Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Frequently, when something goes wrong, most individuals rush in to lay blame, defend, and justify as to why they are not responsible for the disastrous event. Many relationships that begin with love and trust deteriorate into blame, shame, resentment, and distance. The partners may change but unless each individual learns to take 100% responsibility for his or her own life, the results will eventually be the same despite the geographic cure where they move to another city but take themselves with them!.
Justifying and defending yourself may work from time to time when you manage to escape repercussion; however, as a mode of operation, this does not help anyone get the results they really want in life. The process of taking 100% responsibility is simple, but not easy, because our society holds a CYA (Cover Your Ass) mentality.
There are many situations in life over which we have no control, but ‘acting as if’ we have ultimate control will increase our options. You will be surprised at the capacity for power we have to change our circumstances and influence others simply by assuming the attitude and behaviour of responsibility. Life will work out in the process of life itself.
Alice Wheaton is a best selling author with books translated into ten languages. She is a consultant, and speaker, working tirelessly to help bring out the best in others.
By Karen Styles
Owner & Chief Imaginer, KarenMakes
A featured vendor at What A Woman Wants Summer 2018
Am I the only one who worries too much? In particular, I have a fear of making mistakes that holds me back too often, in too many areas. I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with my fear.
Fear can paralyze. All the what ifs pile up into an unscalable wall and I feel like I can’t move forward. What if I make a mistake? What if I make hundreds of mistakes? What if I embarrass myself in front of everyone I’ve ever met? What if I do it all wrong? When these questions start to swirl around in my head, I get overwhelmed.
In the middle of 2017, I got fed up with all the fear and worry. It took up too much space in my mind, and I decided I didn’t want to let fear run the show. Part of this inspiration came from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.” When fear creeps up, it does help a bit to say, “Oh fear, it’s you again! Hello old friend.” I had to learn to be okay with this fear of making mistakes.
I’ve got a simple lettered art sign that says “Make Mistakes & Learn.” It had been tucked away in a box after a move. But I dug it out, framed it and remembered why I had been drawn to those words in the first place. “Make Mistakes & Learn” became my mantra. And after allowing myself to make mistakes, I realized there was a specific type of mistake I wanted to make.
I decided that I wanted every mistake I made to be a mistake of action rather than of inaction. “Well, now I know something I didn’t know” is way better than the regret of “I wish I had tried that.” And you know what? Allowing myself to make mistakes gave me a huge sense of freedom.
Guess what? Mistakes are not so terrible, because I can make mistakes and then learn. That shift, that positive spin on mistake-making helped me understand that each mistake is actually moving me forward.
Another thing about mistakes. The are fixable. Why didn’t I realize it before? It’s the simplest thing. If I make a mistake, I can change something and fix it. Take a second and think about a mistake you are worried about making. If you actually make that mistake, will it be catastrophic? I’m willing to bet that in most cases, the answer is no.
So how does this relate to real life? Well, in 2016, I launched KarenMakes – a creative side-business and Etsy shop. Part of stepping out in spite of fear means putting my art out there. (Hey, I just noticed that “art” rhymes with “heart.” Putting my art out there = putting my heart out there. Yep, that’s how personal and vulnerable it feels sometimes).
I’ve always loved to paint, sew, knit, do photography, and just generally dabble in all sorts of creative projects. But most of these things were done at home, alone, for myself or sometimes as gifts. Making and creating have always brought me joy and a sense of groundedness. Don’t get me wrong, hobbies in solitude are wonderful things. But I wanted to share my work and see if the creativity that I was tapping into resonated with others. I discovered that I could have my artwork and photos printed onto journals, leggings, pillows and a whole lot more. So I’ve been selling online and in local markets. It’s so exciting to see my work take on other forms, and even more exciting to see the reactions of people who find their own meaning in what I do.
None of this would have happened if I hadn’t taken action – despite the fear that accompanied me along the way. It turns out that most of the mistakes I was worrying about either didn’t happen or didn’t matter. And this is where the freedom to make mistakes and comes in. I realized, if this product doesn’t sell, I’ll make something else. If this market doesn’t work, I’ll try another one. Even if this whole business doesn’t work, I will learn and I will do something else. None of these (possible) mistakes have to limit me.
Fear of mistakes kept me stuck. But realizing mistakes were okay meant I could move forward. And moving forward continues to be the most important thing for me. Just keep taking action. Taking action has opened up new opportunities new relationships that I would never have found if I hadn’t taken the risk of putting my art (and myself) out there. More than that, I’ve had the chance to truly connect with so many amazing individuals.
As I reflect on the past year and look forward to a new one, I know there will be some mistakes ahead of me. But I’m curious and maybe even a little excited about how I will adapt and continue to learn. Because every mistake is actually an opportunity.
Will you experience the freedom of making mistakes this year?