Many of us live in the world of What Should Be. Are you stumped and frustrated at the seemingly random work priorities you are given? You know how our manager should prioritize projects, but he doesn’t. How about when you begin a new position and are given entry-level tasks to start out? The manager should know that you don’t need to do the department’s most menial tasks, just to learn the ropes.
Life in the world of What Should Be can be unbearably frustrating. It also consistently shifts the responsibility to other people or systems. The world of What Should Be gives all of us a safe place to land when we are afraid of failure or are unsure of our own competence. After all, if it doesn’t work out, it’s not your fault, right?
Consider this article a formal invitation to come on over to planet What Is! Living and working here gives you the freedom to react to only what your situation is, right now. It doesn’t matter what should have happened, what occurred in the past, or how things should have gone differently until now. It also can feel risky, because even though someone else may have made your job more challenging, you are willing to take it on, with no complaints. You are taking the risk of failure, even though your manager (or others down the line) didn’t.
In the words of one accountability expert, “Living on Planet What Is saves you the trouble of figuring out who’s to blame for what should or shouldn’t have happened. There’s no need to spend your time worrying about how things could have, would have, or should have been, if only something had gone differently. It didn’t.”
Once you have been on the planet of What Is for awhile, you’ll notice that you feel unburdened and less helpless. Contrary to what you might think, taking accountability for the success of everything you do is more empowering, not less. You will be able to let go of your identity as a victim, and start enjoying the feelings of success that come with deciding to choose the path of accountability.
As you repeatedly step up to the plate, you’ll find that you become more confident in your own skills and ability to take on whatever comes your way. And the bonus? Others will feel the same way. You will be seen as someone who can take on anything, and make the best of it. That’s the kind of employee, manager, or leader who becomes invaluable.
Once you choose to create a strategy for overcoming outside conditions that might get in the way of your success, amazing things start to happen. Remember Chesley Sullenberger III, the pilot who safely landed Flight 1549 into the Hudson River in January 2009? Instead of throwing up his hands, and giving in to a seemingly impossible situation, he decided to be 100% responsible for overcoming outside conditions. You, too, are 100% responsible for the outcome of your day.
At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization.