Take Responsibility for Yourself

May 17, 2013

Take Responsibility for Yourself

One of my favorite quotes about responsibility has always been: When you accuse, you excuse.

In other words, when you try to deflect onto someone else responsibility for something you've done, you're really just making an (empty) excuse for yourself.

It's amazing how often I see this.

For instance, one time I was scheduled to take a 6 o’clock flight for a business trip, and when I got to the airport early, I noticed that the same flight at 5 PM was wide open. I called the airline and asked if I could switch to the earlier flight. The customer service rep told me the change would cost an extra $150.

"Why do you charge extra," I asked him, "if there are plenty of open seats on the other flight?"

"That's our policy," he told me.

"I think that's a pretty stupid policy," I said.

"I agree," he said. "But there's nothing I can do."

I almost pitied this guy. He claimed he agreed with me about the policy being silly, but at the same time, he was content to just blame the airline he chose to work for.

When you work for or represent a company, its policies become YOUR policies.  If you respect yourself enough - if you're someone who takes responsibility for your life - you don't "pass the buck" to your employer.

At the very least, say "This is OUR policy" rather than the lame, I'm-just-a-robot and it's "company policy."

Some people even do this with their spouse.

You propose something to a friend, and they say, "My wife doesn't want me to do that."

You two are together. You chose to share your lives.

So at least have enough respect for your spouse - and yourself - to say "WE don't like doing that."

I realize that sometimes you do have to just fall in line at work, or that on occasion you do have to blindly follow your spouse.

But at the same time, remember that you chose to work there. You chose to marry that person.

The more you assume that responsibility for yourself, the more agency you'll feel in your life.

And the more successful you'll be!

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