Taking Responsibility For Your Actions Essay Outline

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Taking Responsibility for Your Actions

When we make excuses or try to blame other people or external factors for the eventual outcome of something, not only are we failing to take responsibility, but we are demonstrating a character trait which is very common in people who fail to succeed in anything.

In shouldering responsibility ourselves, we are giving ourselves the power to shape the outcome ourselves and are therefore taking an active and not a passive role in how the outcome turns out.

Realisation

It’s only when you accept that everything you are or ever will be is up to you, that you are able to get rid of the negativity of excuse making that can so often prevent you from succeeding. You may find yourself in your current position in both your personal and professional life and remain convinced that if all’s not going well, then it’s ‘so and so’s fault’. However, we all have free will which means that we are completely responsible for all of our successes and failures and of our happiness or state of unhappiness.

When we realise this it can, at first, seem like a huge responsibility which we are placing on our shoulders but when you rationalise it and accept that you are responsible for every action you take and every decision you make, that there is virtually nothing that you can’t achieve, have or accomplish if you accept that it’s within yourself and yourself only, to reach your ultimate goal.

Get Out Clauses Don’t Work

One of our biggest problems is that we don’t like to fail and, more importantly, we don’t like to be seen to fail. The problem with that train of thought, however, is that we then tend to set ourselves a goal but at the same time we create an excuse to keep as a ‘spare card’ we can use so that if we don’t succeed, we can blame something or somebody else. However, the more personal responsibility we take, the more in control we are and the more control we have, the more likely we will reach our goal as there will be no excuses to fall back on if we fail.

Therefore, taking responsibility for our actions equals success. It also makes us feel good about ourselves and rids us of negative personality traits such as anger, fear, resentment, hostility and doubt.

Replacing the Negative

If you’ve ever been around somebody who always appears to be ‘down on their luck’, you’ll have noticed that their whole personality seems to be riddled with negative comments and that they have nothing positive to say. It’s quite true that you can’t really hold both a positive and negative feeling at the same time, so by replacing the negative with a positive, it stops you from feeling unhappy as you have come to accept that you are now going to be solely responsible for how you feel, not other people or other external factors.

Accepting Responsibility

Once you accept total responsibility for everything that happens to you in life, you will soon discover that this also enables you to find solutions to life’s difficulties far more quickly.

For example, take work colleagues or someone you are in a personal relationship with. Say you’re having problems with them and it is causing you stress. A negative person who likes to apportion blame might say, “Since I met so and so, it’s been nothing but trouble” whereas somebody who accepts total responsibility might say, “Hang on a moment; I am responsible for having this person or these people in my life. I took that job or I embarked upon this relationship – no-one forced me to.” Therefore, if they’re not happy with the situation and have taken responsibility for it, they are also able to find the solution – in this case, by leaving the job or getting out of an unhealthy relationship.

Similarly, what about those who are feeling bitter because people earn more than they do. Well, whose fault is that? If you accept total responsibility, then you’ll look to do something about it if it’s important to you. Find out how you can earn more money. Speak to others and find out what it is they are doing differently to you then start applying all that knowledge to make the changes you need to make to create the kind of life you want.

In accepting responsibility, you are accepting a willingness to develop your character and in doing that, the stronger your character will become and your life will be improved as a consequence.

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I'm in a relationship with a wonderful man. All he had asked of me is to be true, honest and have integrity. We have had numerous falling outs because I say something that is inconsiderate of his feelings and I'm not sure why I can't seem to stop it before it happens. And then after he's asking why I did it and my answers are ridiculous.Please help

Lori - 13-Mar-18 @ 1:20 PM

Lenrock- Your Question:

Can you help me. After 5yrs of being verbally abusive my wife has sent me this link. Not saying it doesn’t make sense or make excuses but now that you know where I stand can you Help me


Our Response:

Why did she send it to you? Was it to excuse her own behaviour or to accuse you of being negative? Sorry it's not clear what you're asking.

LifeCoachExpert - 26-Jan-18 @ 10:06 AM

Can you help me . After 5yrs of being verbally abusive my wife has sent me this link . Not saying it doesn’t make sense or make excuses but now that you know where I stand can you Help me

Lenrock - 24-Jan-18 @ 7:50 AM

I was sent this link by my wife who after 5yrs of being what I consider verbally abusive. But it’s all my fault is what you’re saying .

Lenrock - 24-Jan-18 @ 7:44 AM

I have been victimized.I am not responsible for what has been done to me, I am responsible for healing from it.Part of personal responsibility that gets left out is that it includes the way you treat others.Living by personal responsibility is not an excuse to mistreat others and blame them for causing their own pain.

Katie - 4-May-17 @ 7:34 AM

Love the article!! I agree and yes we all have to take responsibility for our own actions. However, my boyfriend constantly makes comments like, "You hurt me. What is your response to that?" I've complained several times and explained that he only needs to focus on his responsibilities. Then he started "owing up" and will wait for me to own up to my part in the disagreement. I in turn react by saying, "It's not for you to try to force an apology out of me. If I never apologize it will be alright." I'm not sure he's capable of thinking that he made a choice and took offense or responded a particular way. He defaults to telling me how it was my fault that he feels a particular way.

SemiMo - 30-Apr-17 @ 6:45 AM

I agree and yes we all have to take responsibility for our own actions. However, my boyfriend constantly makes comments like, "You hurt me. What is your response to that?" I've complained several times and explained that he only needs to focus on his responsibilities. Then he started "owing up" and will wait for me to own up to my part in the disagreement. I in turn react by saying, "It's not for you to try to force an apology out of me. If I never apologize it will be alright." I'm not sure he's capable of thinking that he made a choice and took offense or responded a particular way. He defaults to telling me how it was my fault that he feels a particular way.

SemiMo - 30-Apr-17 @ 6:44 AM

You do have to accept your limitations though...not everyone could run as fast as Usain Bolt even if they put in the same number of years of self discipline, training and hard work as he did/does. That's just ridiculous

Merlene Ottey - 10-Mar-17 @ 2:42 PM

All I'm seeing in most of these comments are people who still don't get it and are still blaming everyone else and everything else for the things that have happened or are happening in your life in a round about way. And that comment about not being like Usain bolt is just as dumb. You think he was born the fastest man on earth? No. It took years of self discipline, training and hard work to get where he is today. Even at the last Olympics he knew the other Jamaican guy was his competition and a strong contender for his crown so what did he do? He took responsibility for his own life instead of blaming others and trained and disciplined himself with his strict diet and exercise regime in order to ensure he achieved his best and kept his crown.

She can she will - 10-Mar-17 @ 6:15 AM

Hello, I hate excuses,yet I find myself making them all the time.I am looking for opportunities to shoulder my responsibilities and finding success in doing so.But if there are situations where you are given things to do under unrealistic deadlines and the end result will suffer one way or the other, when do you draw the line with giving the reason when the poor outcome was already expressed and you were given no other alternative but "this is the way it is, so just get it done" and at the end they are not happy with the outcome?I want take responsibility for my part.Should I take responsibility for theirs as well?Sorry for the novel, but any advice would be appreciated.

BigM - 25-Jul-16 @ 3:42 PM

You say... that there is virtually nothing that you can’t achieve, have or accomplish if you accept that it’s within yourself does that mean I can be another Usain Bolt? I can strive towards being a sprinter but I will never be as fast as Bolt. The point I'm making is that sometimes there are very real reason why we can't achieve something (disabilities and the like). You wouldn't expect a colourblind person to be an electrician, but I've read somewhere there is an app now, it obviously isn't the best choice in life for that person. We should take responsibility in our lives, sometimes we do need other people to help us.

Jan - 19-Mar-16 @ 11:15 PM

its true my life is my responsibility and the sky is my limit.My own life is characterized by my choices so if some of them fail its my duty to stand up and try something better.

Hannah - 16-Jan-16 @ 6:51 PM

It is up to me. That's all there is to it. My life my responsibility

petey - 19-Dec-15 @ 1:50 PM

"here is virtually nothing that you can’t achieve,". This is a very bold and huge claim.

Timothy Holden - 9-Aug-15 @ 11:14 PM

Everyone must take responsibility for their own actions, you must try to make it right, especially if you hurt someone by taking no responsibility. Put yourself in their place, if they did that to you. Responsibility says it all , like character.

michelle - 12-Aug-14 @ 8:43 PM

Great article, you are right.....i must take responsibility, thus allowing me to make changes needed. Not sure what miriam is talking about though? There is equality in all walks if life. Im willing to bet, more attractive females earn more than non. Well spoken earn more than not etc

Edward - 6-May-12 @ 8:52 AM

So if male and female coworkers are doing equal work, have worked for a company the same number of years, and have indentical education backgrounds have unequal pay, it is the fault of the gender who consistantly are paid 73% less than their coworker of the other gender?Assumption that both genders are being just as agressive on average asking for raises and promotions.

Miriam - 6-Feb-12 @ 9:24 PM

Back on the topic of the Leadership Principles, we’re going to explore one that even Tommy from Rugrats understands: responsibility (or “‘sponsbltee” as he pronounces it). The principle states “seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.” While it seems relatively straightforward, this principle requires some parsing and deeper exploration.

Many managers (which I do work hard to differentiate from leaders) understand they are accountable but few make the leap to being responsible. Responsibility is all about ownership. Accountability is simply being the first person they call when things get screwed up. Big difference. To really understand this principle, I think some fictional examples might be helpful.

First we’ll explore the “take responsibility for your actions” clause because it’s simpler then we’ll move into the advanced class about “seeking responsibility.”

Accountability and responsibility are somewhat different animals. To make the point, allow me to offer two responses to the same scenario. The situation is the business unit just cratered and completely missed its earnings target. The leader of said unit is called onto the carpet to explain what’s happened. Here are the responses.

Accountable manager: “Well, I know it doesn’t look good that we missed by 27%. It makes sense I’m the one here explaining it as I run the business unit. But here’s what happened – our managers aren’t trained enough in what they do and they didn’t have the skills needed to cope with a rapidly changing economic environment. On top of that, I had a lot of pressures from IT to keep within a spending target so they could make their numbers which means I wasn’t able to make all the investments I wanted to. I’m sorry we missed our numbers. We’ll get ’em next year Skipper!”

Responsible leader: “I didn’t deliver on my commitment to the organization. I failed to ensure my people were properly trained and I didn’t take fast enough action in correcting their shortcomings when they became clear. Despite IT budget pressures, I wasn’t able to figure out a way to deliver the desired results through other means versus relying solely on IT. To ensure this doesn’t happen again, here’s the plan I’m going to roll out to better prepare us for next year.”

The accountable manager knows his head is on the block and deflects blame for the poor results on factors outside of his control. In his mind, it’s the market’s fault and his team’s fault that things didn’t get delivered on. Contrast that with our responsible leader who takes FULL responsibility for EVERYTHING that happens on her watch (this dynamic is similar to the “you see it – you own it” approach). In the military they say “the commander is responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen on their watch.” There are no excuses. The responsible leader understands and embodies this.

Seeking Responsibility

The idea of not only taking responsibility (as our responsible leader above does) but going beyond that and seeking it out would, unfortunately, blow the spec of many “leaders” in those roles today. The simple notion of looking for more areas to be responsible for is a completely foreign concept. The thing is, it’s a factor that truly differentiates outstanding leaders from their peers.

Here’s the notion: after you’ve taken responsibility for everything that occurs (or doesn’t occur) in your world, take a giant step back and figure out where else you can have a positive impact in your organization. Scary, huh?

A huge benefit of this principle of seeking responsibility is that great leaders right their own houses and spread their influence into the darker recesses of the organization. When they seek responsibility, many times those responsibilities come in the form of larger roles or taking on work their immediate manager used to perform (ostensibly freeing that individual up to take on larger responsibilities themselves). The growth and advancement of both individuals and the organization as a whole are embodied in this leadership principle. This type of growth goes hand in hand with the type of personal and professional development I advocate in today’s rapidly changing world.

Seeking responsibility is good for all involved. You benefit because you’re building skills and expanding your capabilities. You also benefit because people around you see you’re dedicated to changing the organization for the better rather than simply being satisfied sitting around collecting your paycheck. Your team benefits because they get to see a great example of true leadership that they’ll hopefully emulate. Your boss benefits because she can expand her own responsibilities and grow her skills while you take things off her plate to enable her to do so. The organization benefits because everyone is growing and seeking to do the right thing on a larger scale.

So please – never throw someone under the bus if they’re on your team. If they make a mistake, you’re responsible for it. Chucking people under the bus saves you in the short term but you’ll soon find you’ve run out of bodies to chuck because they’re either all bus crushed or they’ve fled the scene to avoid being the next sacrifice to the Bluebird gods. Second – look for ways to expand your responsibilities and do so for the good of the organization. Subordinate your interests to those of the greater good and you’ll do fantastic.

Let’s hear about leaders you’ve had and how they’ve exemplified this principle (or share the jerk stories and how they didn’t – but no names or identifying specifics please). So who’s going to be the first to share a story with us? Comments please…

– Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

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