In our previous Wisdom Note, we focused on mastering your discomfort. This week we will explore accepting responsibility, or in other words, “the buck stops here!” If you miss any of our Wisdom Notes please go to the blog to catch previous installments.
The whole space/time continuum really makes my head spin sometimes. What seems like a few days ends up being years, and the opposite is also true. That is certainly the case with the current worldwide pandemic. That is why it is so important to make sure that we are accountable for investing our time wisely to have the greatest positive impact as we are living our legacy each day. One trend, though, that appears to be growing in our modern world is the lack of accountability, especially when it comes to personal responsibility. Maybe it has always been an issue, but it seems that fewer and fewer people are willing to be responsible for their own actions in life. That is why our Wisdom Notes this week we will explore what it means when we hear the phrase…
The Buck Stops Here!
“The buck stops here” is a phrase that was popularized by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who kept a sign with that phrase on his desk in the Oval Office. The phrase refers to the fact that the President has to make the decisions and accept the ultimate responsibility for those decisions.
It should be no different for each of us. We are ultimately responsible for our decisions. In other words, if you’re a parent, it’s time to act like a parent. If you’re a leader, then lead. If you want to be treated as an adult, then act your age. If you’re a politician, remember you weren’t elected to merely show up; you have a job to do. And if you’re not happy with your standing in life, don’t fault others. Success and happiness begin and end with personal responsibility.
· Take Charge of Your Life
Personal responsibility puts you in the driver’s seat to make the most out of your life. You have the freedom to choose the direction that you want to take, determine the choices that you’ll make, and decide how hard you’re willing to work to achieve your goals. The key is to personally “own” your life, rather than abdicating the responsibility to others. The fruits of your efforts are yours as well, to keep or share, to invest or spend.
Personal responsibility shouldn’t be a burden. It’s a blessing when you assume complete responsibility for your life’s successes and failures. We will all have our share of both. Hard work and commitment are required. If you want to lose weight, start with diet and exercise. If you want money for retirement, begin with a getting out of debt and committing to saving. If you want to be successful, you must possess the knowledge, integrity, work ethic, and determination to win. There is no genie in a bottle and “your ship is not going to come in” unless you build it.
· Get Motivated
Life is not a spectator sport, but some people sit on the sidelines and expect to be rewarded for the hard work and effort of others. If something goes well, they line up to receive the accolades. And if things go bad, they make excuses or find a scapegoat to pin the blame on. Life doesn’t work that way. If you’re not willing to make the personal investment and sacrifices required to be successful, then don’t complain when you don’t achieve success. Using the farmer’s analogy, if you don’t plant in the spring, don’t go looking for the crops in the fall. They won’t be there.
If you take a chance, and you succeed, you reap the rewards of your success. If you take a chance, and you fail, you have to accept the consequences. There are no guarantees in life and just because you’re willing to work hard for something, you still may not obtain success. Here is the key that you must understand, by accepting ownership rather than abdicating your responsibility, chances are you’ll get closer to your goals.
The fact is that the world doesn’t owe you anything. If you want something in life, you must work hard and earn it. Even then, you must be willing to accept the responsibility of the outcome, good or bad with humility and grace.
The fact is that the world doesn’t owe you anything. If you want something in life, you must work hard and earn it.
To have the possibility of success begins with a positive attitude. Here are some principles to get you on the right trail each day:
1. It’s your choice.
If you want your life to be different, change it. If you’re waiting for something to happen, it won’t without your efforts. It’s not enough to think about what you want to do, or worse yet complain. Get up and do something about it!
2. Believe in yourself.
One of the things that may be holding you back is a lack of self-confidence. If you don’t have the confidence in yourself, why should others? It may be time to invest in yourself so that you’re proud of who you are and what you represent.
3. Raise your game.
What additional skills do you need to achieve your dreams? Take an additional course, or do self-study if needed. Find a great role model to emulate. Turn every experience, especially failures, into a learning opportunity. In today’s ever-changing technology environment, if you’re not learning something new each day, you’re becoming obsolete.
4. Actions have consequences.
Think before you act. Then accept responsibility for your behavior. Remember, you own your choices. The decisions and choices that you make every day have consequences. In almost every situation, you are where you are today because of the choices you have made in the past. If you don’t like where you are, then from today forward make different and better choices and accept the responsibility for those choices.
5. Be accountable.
Give everything your best effort. When things go well, accept your well-deserved rewards, and when they don’t, make peace with it. Get back up and shake off the dust. Don’t point a finger when mistakes occur. Admit fault, learn from your mistake, and then keep moving forward.
6. Be self-reliant.
Everyone gets into a bind once in a while and may need a helping hand getting back up. That’s okay, and graciously accept it when it happens. Don’t let it translate into a life of dependency. If you break a leg, use crutches for a few weeks to get back on your feet. But you shouldn’t lean on the crutches forever.
If you break a leg, use crutches for a few weeks to get back on your feet. But you shouldn’t lean on the crutches forever.
7. Failure is a part of life.
As Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” Accept failure as a part of life. As I said earlier, learn from it, and keep moving forward.
We will do well to take the exhortation from Paul in Galatians 6:4-5, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.”
Let us revive the motto, “The buck stops here!” and be willing to accept personal responsibility in all areas of our lives. This ties into our next Wisdom Note when I will share some advice I would give to my younger self. In addition to our weekly Wisdom Notes, encourage your friends and family to also join us on our daily podcast – Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.