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Personal Accountability – A lesson learned

For regular followers of my blog, as well as members of my network, you will know that I am a big believer in personal accountability. I write about it a lot, I speak about it and I most certainly coach others on it a lot. Bottom line, my belief has always been that we are all personally accountable for our actions. As soon as we get caught up in a victim complex, we are trying to blame others and remove our own personal accountability. The most successful people I have ever worked with, and look up to, have always demonstrated a high degree of personal accountability. Hence the reason in my work and personal life I have always tried to hold myself personally accountable for my actions. If I screwed up, I will admit it. If I have erred in judgment I will cop to it. In all cases I try and learn from the experience to better myself as a person and also so I can be a better coach to my operations clients (and on a personal level, to my family.)

Police StoppedThe reason I am blogging about this subject and the reason I gave you the preamble above is because I screwed up the other day. For all the time I spend coaching and preaching personally accountability, I totally went against what I believe in and what I try and instill in others. I became a victim, or at least that is what I tried to do. I blamed other people for my actions. What did I do? Well, nothing horribly egregious – I got a speeding ticket. Yes, I know people get them every day, but this was the first ticket I have ever received in my life!

Here’s the scoop, there were multiple accidents on the major highway I take home from work. I tried to be clever by taking alternate routes, none of which worked as everything was gridlocked from these accidents plus the usual back to school traffic. My clever decision to take an alternate route had me stuck in construction traffic for well over an hour. I then decided to take another route home (after I cleared the construction) to make up some time. It was at that point in time I was flagged for speeding. (Truth be told, I just wasn’t paying enough attention, I was focused on taking my new found short cut route) and not wanting to be any later than I already was.

After the officer handed me my ticket and left I began my shameful drive home. What a lousy feeling it was getting a ticket. As I continued my drive home, I got madder and madder. “It’s not my fault that I got stuck in traffic for all that time and that it made me late getting home.” “The stupid GPS sent me on this new route, if I just went my usual way this never would have happened.” “Don’t the police have real criminals to catch? Why are they wasting their time on catching someone going a few kilometers above the speed limit?” I went home and began Googling all kinds of ways to beat the speeding ticket in court. I must have spent 2+ hours surfing for this information the other night.

Then it hit me. I was deflecting all blame and accepting no personal accountability. I was trying to make myself out to be a victim. I was embarrassed. Embarrassed that I went against what I believe in terms of accepting personal accountability. I was embarrassed that I spent, no, make that wasted, more than two hours of my life trying to figure out how I could “get out of” paying the ticket. That was two hours I could have spent with my family. Most of all, I was embarrassed that I felt like a hypocrite.

Bottom line is that I needed to walk the walk and practice what I preach. By not accepting personal accountability, I wasted time, energy and effort as nothing positive came out of trying to be a victim. My personal relationships were not enhanced because of this. This was no one’s fault but mine. I needed to accept that and move on. For me, personal accountability is all about learning from our mistakes. In this case, I learned a valuable lesson – be more mindful of the speed limit and don’t blame others for your own poor decision making. Rushing around and trying to “make up time” just doesn’t work. Don’t blame it on someone else – all that did was make a lousy day worse! I am accepting accountability for my actions. I will stop whining about getting the ticket. I am moving on. I have accepted the consequences and will pay my ticket and be a better driver.

What about you? Can you accept personal accountability for your actions? Will it make your life and career better? As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/digidreamgrafix


One Response

  1. […] you take personal accountability of your personal actions whereas planning or pursuing something worthwhile you’ve gotten […]

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