On Darren Daily, a daily mentoring program, creator Darren Hardy argued that whenever things aren’t going as we’d planned its time to take responsibility for our own role in the situation. As one who likes to feel that I am the captain of my own ship, I initially agreed with this idea. However, as I have had time to think about it, I believe too often we tend to take responsibility for things that are beyond our control (e.g. the actions, opinions, and behaviors of others).
Making note of this tendency, I began to ask myself: How often does this happen? When does my tendency to assume accountability present itself? Is this sense of responsibility coming from an authentic place? Or am I merely attempting to manage my own levels of discomfort around a particular issue? How do I know the difference?
As I have been watching myself in action, I have noticed that often I will take responsibility for a situation (read another person’s actions or experience) because I do not fully trust the individual to take care of him/herself. This tendency became apparent to me after I took my mother to a public yoga class and found myself attempting to serve as a personal coach throughout the session. I even told the instructor, “Oh don’t worry about her. I’ll look after her.” Embedded in the comment was an apparent lack of faith in my mother’s ability to take care of herself or in the instructor’s willingness to provide any necessary assistance or support, as well as a sense of embarrassment on my end.
Interestingly through my attempts to control the situation, and take on responsibility that was not mine to take, I ended up neglecting the one person to whom I am always responsible – ME! For my own personal practice, the class was a total disaster. So much so that I was still frustrated and upset three or four hours after the class had ended – All because I had attempted to assume a level of accountability for another that wasn’t necessary.
For today, I would like to ask you: Can you name what might be truly motivating your actions? And what cost does this action have on the life you strive to create?