Where have all of the responsible people gone? We are living in a society where blame and finger pointing have overtaken ownership and accountability. Not a day goes by where we don’t see evidence of someone blaming someone else for the problems in their life. Personal ownership is an old fashioned value and one that doesn’t seem to be encouraged or embraced.
Parents blame their kids teachers because they are not learning manners or getting the grades they expect. Sales people blame market conditions or busy decision maker’s schedules for not making a sale. Citizens blame too much taxation or not enough for why our economy isn’t flourishing like we think it should.
Blame is the game, and everyone seems to be playing it.
I didn’t grow up in this environment. My mom was a tough-love mom, and she challenged me to be my best and to own my life. My dad encouraged me to pursue my passion and to be the best me that I could be. They weren’t perfect, but they instilled a sense of responsibility and ownership. “It’s not my fault” was not an acceptable phrase nor one that we were often tempted to utter in our home.
Today, as I look at the news and watch the landscape of society, it seems this little idea of being personally responsible for your life has little value. People seem to be looking for ways to express frustration and hurt and are rarely encouraged to be the best me that they can be.
I mentioned in the post “Stop being so Damned Offended” (link to post) we are living in the most offended society ever. I began to wonder why this is. Why is it so easy and so accepted to be offended? The following certainly isn’t a complete list but I do think it speaks to where offense lives and where it grows. Consider these areas and determine if you are affected by any of them.
- You don’t know how to disagree with someone, and also respect them
A simple disagreement today has become equivalent to hate. In an effort to show value to others and live a life that is tolerant of others we have lost the art of simply disagreeing.
- You care more about yourself than others. Your focus is always on how things affect you
If your life is all about me how can it ever be about we? This self-centeredness only sets you up for disappointment. In the words of Zig Ziglar…
“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”
- You believe in free speech (for you but not for others)
This goes in hand with #1 and is usually masked by passion and position. Too many people fight for their right to be heard and to speak up and out, but they don’t value it in others. Leaders shut down their team members when they are challenged. Team members lose the respect of their teammates when they steal the air in meetings and don’t allow room for others to contribute.
- You have unspoken expectations
If my expectation is that you stand up for me in a meeting and fight for funding for our project and you don’t, it is easy to be offended. Have you ever had an expectation of a friend, family member, or spouse that was very clear to you but not to them? Unless you share your expectations, you should forfeit your right to be offended.
- You beat yourself up long before anyone else gets a chance to
Self-doubt, fear, and lack of confidence will all do a good job of beating you up. After you have beaten yourself up for whatever reason, it won’t take much for someone else to come along with a comment, suggestion, or expressed frustration to bring some offense to you.
- You live in a constant state of pain, frustration, or anger
This leaves your nerves exposed so when someone slightly bumps into you, this hurts more than it should. As someone living out of sorts, you don’t regularly experience your best so therefore you are more offended by little issues and challenges because you are starting at a bad place to begin with.
In order to live a life of high accountability and personal responsibility you must seek peace and unity in your relationships. Both your personal and professional ones. Care and concern for others can’t thrive in a narcissistic society. When I can place blame and avoid responsibility why would I ever be motivated to change?
The best way to make sure the blame game stops is to stop playing it. It’s no fun to play a game when no one else is interested.
Lead well, lead often & LEAD STRONG.