What is Personal Accountability?
This seems easy enough to answer. Many people think of personal accountability as accepting responsibility for the things you do. Some tend to narrow it more by thinking personal accountability is related only to things that they or others do wrong—being accountable for one’s mistakes. But it’s more than that. Much, much more.
Personal Accountability is Freedom!
Let me explain why.
Personal accountability means accepting responsibility for your life, Your Whole Life. This might seem extreme. It might make you uncomfortable and set off alarms in your mind. After all, haven’t things been done to you by others? Hasn’t life thrown you a few curveballs, maybe even blindsided you a time or two? Haven’t things happened to you that were outside your control?
The answer to these questions is undoubtedly “Yes!”
So how are you accountable for those things? And doesn’t that mean you can’t be accountable for your whole life?
The answer is, of course you aren’t responsible for what others, life, or nature do to you. You have no control over others. You have no control over nature or the weather or random acts of chaos. And yet you are still accountable for your whole life because you have the power of choice! You choose what these events mean to you.
Your actions related to any event—or series of events—are based on the meaning you’ve assigned. If someone hurt you and you decided to never be a victim again because of that, then that’s the meaning you’ve given the event. Your actions are going to be very different from the person who was hurt and decided to never trust anyone again. If you survived a severe accident and that gave you a new appreciation for life, your actions are going to different from the person who survived a similar tragedy and now lives in fear.
Why Does Personal Accountability Matter?
Through choosing the meaning of things that happen to you, by being accountable for your life, you create your future.
Okay. That’s great. But how does personal accountability equal freedom?
I’m glad you asked!
Understanding that your choices create your future–and that the meaning you give events impacts your actions—allows you to realize that no matter what happens, you get to choose what you’re going to do with it.
You get to choose. You choose your thoughts. You choose the meaning. You choose your actions. You choose the path of your future. No one can ever take away your power of choice!
If there’s something in your past or present that’s bothering you, try asking yourself these two questions:
“What else could this mean?”
“What good can come from this?”
Be honest with yourself when asking these and open yourself to possibilities you hadn’t considered before. You can even write down your answers. I’ve found that helps in examining all the possibilities.
These questions allow you to re-frame the thing that bothers you.
For example: I was at a movie with my wife and daughter last night. The person behind me kept accidentally bumping the back of my seat. I could have chosen to feel angry or cheated at these interruptions to the flow of the experience. I might have confronted the person behind me and asked them to stop. But I could tell it wasn’t deliberate. So instead of introducing conflict, I chose to use it as a chance to improve my patience.
The movie was wonderful. I enjoyed it much more than I would have if I’d chosen to feel angry. And I grew as a person. That’s a win-win!
You Are The Master of Your Destiny!