Story: Is self-accountability fundamental to happiness? My experience is that many people think they’re self-accountable, yet fail to realize they often behave in ways that are opposite. One way or another, they explain away their unhappy circumstances as somebody else’s fault. I’ve been in so many executive meetings where it became an art form to blame others or hide the lack of responsibility in amorphous terms like the evil “silo.” In fact, silos have been known to be the cause of most organization ills. What malarkey, and a testimony to how insidious unaccountability is. So my direct answer is a resounding, “yes!” Being fiercely and personally accountable is a key ingredient for one’s (and organizations’) happiness.
Gary Vaynerchuk, the widely followed blogger, podcaster, venture capitalist and all around raconteur, recently published a popular blog that connected self-accountability and happiness. He talks about five reminders why he thinks accountability leads to happiness. The headlines are:
- “COMPLAINING GIVES AWAY LEVERAGE.
- BLAMING YOURSELF ISN’T THE SAME AS JUDGING YOURSELF.
- COMPLAINING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE MAKES YOU FEEL HELPLESS.
- OWNING YOUR WEAKNESSES TAKES AWAY THEIR LEVERAGE.
- BLAMING YOURSELF LEADS TO THE OUTCOME YOU WERE LOOKING FOR BY BLAMING OTHERS.”
Key Point: I agree with Gary Vee about the freedom and sense of autonomy that comes from taking full ownership for one’s situation. Regardless of what happens, and any misfortune, a true self-accountable person asks one question first: “What can I do about it?” There is little or no time invested in complaining or feeling victimized, as seductive as a little whining may be. This does not mean ignoring feelings of hurt, regret, guilt or whatever. Awareness about how one feels and self-compassion is vital for personal growth. However, self-accountable people focus their exclusive attention on changing matters they are not satisfied with. They avoid getting stuck in a rut that they find unacceptable. Self-accountable people are also confident enough to seek help when necessary, without giving away personal autonomy. They are respectful of the viewpoints of others, and still avoid being paralyzed by the harshness of judgement.
Where I disagree with Gary Vee, is in his use of the word “blame.” I think all blame is waste and mostly about shame. Self-accountable people that are evolving in the right direction do not invest in blaming themselves any more than they do others. They compassionately accept, learn or unlearn, and then take full responsibility to move forward. I also encourage people to spend less time concerning themselves with leverage over others than embracing the full joy of being autonomous and perusing mastery.
Lead Yourself Moves:
- Recognize that when you take ownership, you are adding to your happiness quotient.
- Always lead with the question, “what can I do about it?” Then ACT!
- Fight against blaming anyone or anything. It is wasteful.
Lead Others Moves:
- When you find people reporting to you blaming someone or something else, constructively confront them.
- Set the example. By confidently and humbly being self-accountable, leaders set the stage for controlling one’s destiny and teaching others to do the same.
- Self-accountability also means being clear about expectations from others. Do not expect them to read your mind so you fall in the trap of blaming them for a disconnect.
Happy self-accountability in Personal Leadership,
One Millennial View: I don’t mind admitting that Millennials might be stereotyped as the most “it wasn’t me” generation, able to professionally throw blame around like Tom Brady slings a football. And unfortunately, we’ve often seen this mindset be profitable, encouraged and applauded. We’ve witnessed shame work as insurance for our own safety, protecting our jobs, relationships and more. So, what can we do about it? Well, thanks to well-informed, logically based messages from blogs like this one, we can put effort into finding and spreading the happiness of self-accountability, especially in spaces where blame seems to recycle through the atmosphere like air conditioning on a plane.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis