As you deepen into the practise of leadership, one of the biggest things you’re going to discover is how well-trained you’ve become at avoiding responsibility.

You might believe yourself to be the most responsible person in the world*, but I guarantee that in the process of leadership development, you will discover new ways that you are shunting responsibility.

Responsibility is a practise of seeing how we can take ownership for more and more of our experience of life, free of any blame.

That last part is what gets people.

Blame is any version of “It is wrong that this happened”, or “It is wrong that this is where I find myself”.

What most of us have learned to do is substitute blame for responsibility.

* For those of you that feel you’re the most responsible person in the world, more often than not, what’s really happening is that you’ve simply become really good at blaming yourself.

Down the path of leadership, you learn how to see more and more ways that you contributed to the experience you’re having.

And because you’ve learned to conflate responsibility with blame, what tends to happen is that you have an experience of feeling more and more like you suck.

This part of leadership isn’t really fun at all. In fact, it sucks.

When people arrive here, they find that suddenly the joy and power they felt from deepening their leadership is replaced with suffering.

And this is the point a lot of people bail out of leadership.

Because we project outwards what we project inwards, rather than being able to take responsibility (free of any blame) for creating this experience of “I suck”, the blame gets projected onto the leaders or the structure that is supporting your leadership.

“I feel like I suck all the time, and that’s on the leaders. They’re making me feel this way”.

The leaders can try to reflect this back, so you can see how you’re the one actively creating this experience, but inside the existing context of blame, you’re just going to turn this into “I feel like I suck all the time, and that’s on me. I suck.”

This is a perilous milestone along the journey of leadership. In order to create the breakthrough of responsibility, free of blame, you have to walk through the path that is riddled with all of your blame.

You can’t let go of something unless it’s being brought to the surface. You can’t heal something unless you’re willing to feel it.

So, many people fall away at this point. That’s okay. Breakthroughs are tough, and they are almost always counter-intuitive. This is the heartbreak of leadership.

A leader, deeply embodied in their work, knowingly allows people to be here, and allows that blame to be projected onto them. Simultaneously, the leader keeps taking responsibility for how they may be contributing to the experience you’re having, and does their best to lovingly invite you to release the blame.

It’s hard to let people leave in the middle of this process. They’re so close — the breakthrough is within arm’s reach. But let them go we must, because breakthroughs can only be chosen, never forced.

Those that stay, discover access to a new level of power in their lives, free of the burden of blame.