When you think about personal accountability, chances are, your mind goes to the "lack of it."
We tend to notice it most when absent. It looks like this: the politician who is stepping down after it is discovered that his behavior contradicted what he denied doing earlier.
The lack of personal accountability is simply someone not owning their mistakes. We sometimes see this in people we work with. A lack of personal accountability in oneself might be the case if you have a feeling of powerlessness, or when you think of yourself as the victim in a situation.
A victim mentality paralyzes us, we don't move forward. I read of an example just this weekend. I was reading the paper - a personal finance column. A lady had written in and said "I'm 45 years old. I have struggled with debt my whole life and I'm still struggling with it. I don't know what to do. My parents live conservatively and are never in debt, but they did not teach me how to do it." She's 45. She's in debt. Her parents live conservatively, but she's still blaming them for her being in debt. I'm thinking: You spend less than you make. It's not rocket science. Until she stops blaming her parents for what they haven't done, she's never going to change.
There are common victim statements that we find ourselves saying. They often start with words like "When are they……?" or "Why won't they….?" or "When is somebody…?" Here's one: "When is the USDA going to get their head straight?" "When's this weather going to straighten out?" These statements lead us to victim thinking. Here's the way out. We should think about keeping two lists: 1) the things I can control and 2) those things beyond my control.
I can't control the weather. I can't control the USDA. I'm not even going to talk about it. I'm going to focus all my energy on the things that I can do. One of the key phrases of personal accountability is "What can I do?" If I don't like what the USDA is doing, my response needs to be "What can I do to minimize the effect they have on my life?" I can't change them, I can only change me.
John Miller authored the book QBQ The question behind the question. It's about personal accountability. When you read this book, many people you know will likely come to mind. You'll think they should read this book. There are a lot of people we would like to fix, but personal accountability says, "I'll start with me."
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