Some people wish for a better future. Some merely watch the present unfold. Others simply wonder, what happened? Those of us who are successful, take responsibility. We are the ones who make success happen.
As a society, we have been oversold the quick fixes. Be the boss now. Lose weight faster. Outsource your life. We want to believe that there’s a secret cheat code, a hack, or a hidden shortcut. But, deep down, we see through the lie. And that makes us anxious. Maybe we settle and tell ourselves that we are good enough. Maybe we blame our parents for not steering us onto the right career path, or we blame the bosses who never recognized our true potential. Plus, we don’t have time to develop our professional skills. By the way, it’s also too expensive.
I work with organizations every day to help leaders influence others to achieve outcomes. Leadership requires that we take responsibility for our vision, but in a crisis, I see a lot of blaming others and dodging responsibility. It’s the CEO’s fault, the client’s fault, the sales team’s fault, the engineer’s fault, the front line’s fault… and the list goes on.
We need to find the courage to tell ourselves the truth and point the finger at ourselves. There is great power in holding ourselves accountable to our vision, values, goals, and actions. We can achieve our dreams if we take on the responsibility to uncover the truth about our influence on the current state of affairs and act effectively.
But breakthroughs take time. Meaningful outcomes take effort. No one outside ourselves has “the answer,” the quick-fix solution, or the winning lottery ticket. No one can do what we need to do—except ourselves.
This book was written to inspire every reader to adopt a Responsibility Ethic. It is for those who are ready to take responsibility for their life and career—and a gut check for those who already have. The following chapters explore ethics that sustain our happiness and success.
Take responsibility. Take action. Be a person who makes happiness and success happen.
The Responsibility Ethic exists to challenge and heal everyone who has been told to follow their dreams. We’re sold the dream, but we don’t read the fine print: hard work and laboured action. We must transform our dreams into a vision and a plan. Then move into action.
The first step is to acknowledge that career, family, and life don’t just happen to us. We, and only we, create our futures through our choices, actions, and conscious habits. Our daily choices have led us to today and our choices today will take us in any direction we chose.
We must take responsibility for building an environment that pushes us to act effectively. Get a coach. Ask a friend. Seek a mentor. Build a team.
Picking up the Responsibility Ethics in this book and rucking them on your back is a relief. Adopting these strategies will take a lot of effort, and that’s okay. You now have this book on your team. We generate far more negative stress when our dreams are unaccompanied by hard action when we shirk into the shadows instead of wading into troubled waters. It’s time to stop wishing, hoping, and worrying—three overused excuses for inaction.
As a conference presenter, executive coach, and trainer, I have shared these ideas with hundreds of thousands of people and I continue to receive positive feedback. Countless people have asked me to write a book. What follows is a labour of love and gratitude to all who have invited me to share my thoughts on business, life, success, and failure.
This book is one part biography, one part business case studies, and one part personal development insights. I have designed the book to inspire you, the reader, to realize your full leadership potential and gain more momentum toward your next Gold Medal Moment—a purposeful goal that aligns with your core values and takes at least four years to achieve. You will find stories from my career as an Olympic athlete, ocean rowing adventurer, and business consultant combined with interesting case studies from the world of work that together deliver meaningful lessons about the Responsibility Ethic. My hope is that the ethics in this book will push working-aged adults to accomplish more of their leadership potential.
Somewhere along the path to growth, we discover, then misplace the Responsibility Ethic. Reclaiming accountability for your life will provide you with the power to achieve and the freedom to find fulfillment.
Focusing on what we can control gives us the energy and ability to leap when the next opportunity arises. The locus of control is a psychological concept that I teach in many of my keynotes and workshops. It refers to how much authority we feel we have over life. You can either be someone with a strong internal locus of control and make things happen, or you can be a person with a strong external locus of control and let things happen to you. What kind of person are you, and who do you want to be? An initiator of outcomes or a victim of fate? This book is written for people with a bias toward initiative, people who do things, and people who know how to focus on what they can control.
Enjoy the effort. Enjoy the results. Enjoy the freedom and influence that the Responsibility Ethicbrings.
If you are inspired by any quotes or ideas from this article, please post them on social media with the hashtag #ResponsibilityEthic.