You would think it was common knowledge.
It may be known, but when it comes to application in business…responsibility is not always present…fact!
How many times do you hear people in business complaining about the economy, about cash flow, about rent, about staff, about politicians and never actually taking any of the responsibility themselves?
You can hear it now…. That voice explaining every problem away with reasons of why they are not responsible for the situation or the outcome, especially in business.
As small business owners, you are the business, and your business is life.
Yes, it’s easy to say that there is home or there’s your personal life, and then, there’s business, but at the end of the day, you are your business.
You are responsible for how the results come through your door.
Making excuses for failure or choices in life, instead of taking 100% responsibility for your actions, your thoughts and your goals are classic symptoms of people who fail to succeed, both in their professional lives and their personal lives.
Is there a difference between responsibility and accountability in business?
What Is Responsibility Exactly?
Personal responsibility is taking ownership of how your choices influence the outcomes in your life, learning from those outcomes and taking the initiative to improve each outcome through better choices.
The objective is to take control of your reality by taking responsibility in every situation.
I believe personal responsibility means doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done.
It means setting priorities and taking action on them at the time because when we are responsible, we don’t postpone a task because it makes us uncomfortable, or we can’t be bothered doing it, or you feel that it’s not important.
I have tried that one out in the past and it is most definitely something you don’t want to do.
Being responsible means you learn to manage your time to accomplish those goals and those things you’ve set for yourself.
With that said, at the same time, you don’t set so many goals or tasks that you become overwhelmed because when you do put too many things on your to-do lists or your action lists, it can become one big mess, and nothing gets done.
When that happens, that’s when your itty-bitty-shitty committee that lives inside your brain, that little voice that talks to you, your ego, your alter ego, call it what you will, is talking in a negative way.
Yes, there are many times in life that things happen and that you are not in control of. However, you are in control of how you respond, act and react to that situation.
What Exactly Is Accountability?
Personal accountability is along the lines of habitual commitment to yourself and what’s important by continually choosing to take ownership and responsibility, to the action and results and removing excuses and reasons of why you can’t get something done.
Another way to think of this is, is responsibility is a bit like the before something happens or before the fact.
It’s taking personal ownership and commitment to a result. It doesn’t matter what the result is, but it’s taking responsibility before it happens.
Once this occurs, the second step is taking the action, assessing the risks, assessing what needs to be done to make sure that you can achieve the result that you’re looking for.
Thirdly, this is where accountability comes in.
Being accountable for your results is a little bit like after the fact, or a review of that has happened. It’s about being willing to objectively look at the outcomes resulting from your choices, your behaviours and your actions, and see it as it is.
It doesn’t really matter what the outcome is. It’s being accountable for it.
The first thing to start this process is to make no excuses…full stop!
Part of the power of taking responsibility for your actions is to silence that negative voice in your head. It’s about spending time on thinking about success and goals, instead of making excuses for why you can’t do something.
Free up that emotional space in your head with the good stuff, by thinking of the things you can do.
The next time you catch yourself making an excuse, whether it be for a project or an unmet goal or a job you haven’t finished at work… Things like being behind in your book work, or your BAS isn’t done, stop the excuses.
Interrupt that little tape recorder that goes on repeat in your mind, and stop excusing and rehearsing that conversation.
Being in business myself and speaking to so many business owners, I hear this a lot…where there is a fear or there is something or a belief as to why they cant achieve something.
Let me share a recent example of this. I was speaking to a beautiful business owner recently, and she had quite a fear around technology.
This lady has been in business for herself for a little while. She’s had some success, but she’s wanting to take her business online and really use social media.
Now, to do that, of course, you need to have a good understanding of technology, or a willingness to learn and determination to go with it.
This lady, let’s call her Anna, had a real fear around technology and a fear of not understanding how it works.
After a number of conversations and assisting Anna, it got to the point where she believed her own excuses… “I don’t know how to use technology, it doesn’t make sense and it won’t work for me” so much that I was not able to help her because she held onto that belief so tightly.
Guess what? Anna got what she believed and her business will not grow and mature because she believed her own excuse.
The Secret…The Benefit
Benefits of taking responsibility and accountability.
Reduce Stress…For Real
The big one, reduce your stress.
It keeps you focused on your life and your work, and know where you’re up to.
For example, if you know where you’re up to and how much time you have, it’s so much easier to say yes or no to an invitation or an idea or campaign you want to attend or run.
You make sure you don’t over-commit yourself.
Secondly, it builds trust with people.
Have a think about how you react when someone keeps an appointment, is on time, or replies really nicely to your email?
What about when someone is late or doesn’t turn up at all, who doesn’t reply to your e-mail, or replies abruptly?
How does it make you feel?
Something so simple truly caring about the other person will change your business from mediocre to amazing.
Thirdly, it helps you manage and keep track of where you’re up to in different areas of your business, whether it be your finances, your health, or your social media.
It’s about taking that responsibility and being accountable for every single thing in your business.
With that said, if we take care of our commitments and follow through on the decisions you have made…, even if it’s just something that you don’t want to do or you’d like to ignore, you will feel better about it for yourself.
Each time you take a solid step towards being responsible and the actions of being productive helps raise your self-esteem, your relationships, and trust.
It pays big dividends, less stress, less chaos and more respect from others.
Where To Start
How to take responsibility for your life and your business?
People who take complete responsibility for their business and life enjoy a greater level of feelings of being in control and being in alignment.
They’re able to make choices because they understand that they are responsible for those choices.
The most important aspect of taking responsibility is to acknowledge that your life is your responsibility.
No one can live that life for you. You are in charge.
No matter how hard you try to blame others for the events of your life, each event is a result of choices you made and are making.
However, please note, there are times when things do happen that are out of your control.
For example, right now, seven weeks ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I was rushed to see a specialist, had surgery, had a drain in for a month, and started chemotherapy.
All I can say is it sucks…big time!!!
Clearly, I am not responsible for the cancer.
However, I am responsible for the choices I make around how I want to be treated, how I want to look after myself, whether it be meditation, nutrition, exercise, and my attitude, it’s my responsibility for the choice of the treatment plans.
Check out my post about the reality of cancer here.
Another great example is for those people who want to travel, who talk about it, who follow travel bloggers and have a bucket list a mile long…. then, travel.
It’s not your job, or your partner, or the time, or the cost that has held you back from your dream.
It’s how you set up some plans and goals and productivity to make that happen because if you want to travel, just do it.
Eliminate blame, eliminate excuses.
If the blame game or excuse track plays repeatedly, shift your responsibility and tell that itty-bitty-shitty committee they don’t have a vote and to be quiet.
Listen To The Way You Speak
Do you hear yourself blaming others?
I remember years ago, I was the blame game queen. I would blame the situation around me, especially when I was nursing, and I was unhappy with my job.
When you are not being treated very well at work, I blamed everyone else. I blamed the system. I blamed the rostering, management…I never took responsibility for what I could DO about it.
Looking back, I needed to listen to myself and listen to the words I was saying to myself because I was finding myself pointing fingers at my co-workers or my parents or whoever else I could find.
Making excuses for why I never achieved my goals or a task I might have missed.
You can hear yourself blaming if you take notice. Listen to your blaming patterns because you can stop them.
It is literally a choice away.
In 2016, my family and I spent six months living in London, what an experience.
I met an amazing lady called Mandy, you taught me something so valuable and would say it to me often….”You matter.”
Live every day as if you do. Live every day as if what you do matters because it does.
Every choice you make, every action you take matters.
Your choices matter to you so that you create the life you want to live.
You choose the path of productivity and how you would like to contribute to yourself.
You choose the path that is exactly right for you.
Living with a very serious illness has been a great time to reflect on this very thing, my thoughts and what action I take.
Focus on what you want to do and what you love.