As you start to venture into a leadership conversation, you’re going to notice pretty quickly that responsibility is a big part of the game. Part of what gives a leader access to so much of their power is the fact that they are able to be responsible for so much of what happens in and around their life.
This can be simultaneously freeing, and a burden. It’s freeing because the life you want to create is no longer held back by the people or circumstances around you. You are the creator of your own destiny.
It’s a burden because you are relinquishing the right to put the responsibility for how your life is going anywhere other than yourself. At the best of times, every leader (including/especially myself) has moments where they long for it to just not be on them to take the high road this time.
“Can’t I just be fucking right that this person is a turd-ass? Just this one time?”
(If nothing else, calling someone a turd-ass will make you feel better for a moment, I promise.)
Here’s the real challenge with responsibility though — it can only be chosen.
The moment I start talking about the path of leadership being one where we take greater and greater responsibility for our life and the way it unfolds, we hear a *should*.
You hear, and probably speak, this all the time. (And if you don’t, I do it enough for both of us.)
“I’m being a victim. I should take responsibility here. Adam said so.”
“That person is such a victim. I read Adam’s post, and if only they took more responsibility for how their life is going, they’d be better off. They should really take more responsibility.”
“I’m committed to being a leader. I’m mad at my friend, but I should take responsibility for how things are going.”
And so on.
Here’s the thing — you can only take responsibility where you are willing. Responsibility cannot exist when it is imposed. Let me say that again, because it’s really important:
Responsibility cannot exist when it is imposed.
That holds true whether the imposition comes from your parents, your friends, society, the norms you were raised by, the holy book that is a part of your religion, or your own internal nagging self.
And so the real path of leadership begins with your own willingness. How much are you currently willing to be responsible for in your life? And whatever that amount is, can you be responsible for that truth?
Let go of the voice that tells you “Yah, but if you just give yourself permission to only be responsible for this much, then you’ll just start coasting and never grow!”
That’s just another imposition of responsibility. Practice trusting yourself where you are. Be right here, now.
That’s the start of real, authentic responsibility.
The rest will follow.