Monday, December 26, 2011

Choosing Responsibility

What does it mean to be personally responsible? How do we take ownership of our choices? I believe it involves assessing our strengths, weaknesses, wants and needs. And understand that we invite consequences based on our actions.

We are bombarded with choices from the time we open our eyes in the morning until the time we close our eyes at night.

• I could get out of bed now and start that exercise regimen… or sleep another 30 minutes.
• Do I want cereal this morning… or scrambled eggs?
• Should I meet Sue for drinks after work… or go grocery shopping?

Our lives become the sum of the choices we make. I hate to admit this, but until recently I didn't really 'own' my choices. As a single mom most of my early adult life, I operated on autopilot to care for my daughter and myself. I had responsibilities and made choices every day, of course. What I didn't do was take the time to consider them and make decisions that would benefit ME. I was used to taking care of everyone else. Personal responsibility was not on my radar. I have since learned that responsibility for myself includes thinking about my choices and how to meet my needs and bless others.

Jake Lawson from offers several tips on personal responsibility:
• Refute irrational beliefs and overcome fears
• Affirm yourself positively
• Recognize that you are the sole determinant of the choices you make

Click here to read more.

Fear is a huge obstacle in taking personal responsibility. Fear keeps many of us from reaching our full potential. We often miss out on opportunities because we are afraid of change. As the saying goes, the only constant in life is change. I challenge you to try something new. Start small. Volunteer for that non-profit you support. Take guitar lessons. The point is to step out of your comfort zone. Nobody can do this for you.

Many of us also blame others for our circumstances. This keeps us from owning our choices. We blame our family: "My dad said I'd never amount to anything." Our boss: "She doesn't appreciate what I do anyway." We take shortcuts and don’t try. As adults, we must let go of limiting thoughts and any tendency to blame others. We should strive to develop positive thoughts and cultivate an "I can" attitude. "The longest journey starts with the first step."*

Understanding why you do what you do could help you as you move forward in this life journey. A helpful resource is the Color Code - a tool designed to identify your core motive, and make choices more clear. Click here to take the personality assessment.

I encourage you to continue thinking about personal responsibility as you evaluate your strengths and limitations. Be honest with yourself. Let go of fear. And trust that you are right where you're supposed to be – today. Tomorrow looks even better.

*Ancient Chinese proverb

Kellie Williams, is a certified Color Code trainer and is actively on the path to self knowledge.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Choosing to be Affected!

This evening I received word that a man who I had been working to help re-create his life after returning home from prison, ended his life. 

Over the past months, I had begun to understand his flickering light of hope. Throughout his life he suffered many challenges. From being unwanted, to abuse, to a dark place of self loathing. His spirit had tried to hold onto tiny sparks of hope amidst many storms. 

What I have witnessed in my work and in my life, is our inability as people and as a culture to actually foster change and believe in redemption. As we bear witness to others changing, we are required to change. We are required to respond, to be affected. That is where change for many stops, in the reflections of others fears. 

This evening as I lay in my beloved's arms mourning the loss this special mans light, through the tears, we spoke about the ripples his life have created. How in that moment, we had been touched, the friends who have consoled me this evening, you as you read this post have been touched. 

How we choose from this moment to be affected is our choice. How can each of us foster change within ourselves and others in a way that is patient, kind and faithful? 

I am changed - instead of running away because I am hurt and afraid, am have become emboldened, more than ever, in the work I do. I choose to allow this to fuel my work and strive to help others see the power of faith. 

I ask that you allow others to change and open your heart to how you will be changed to make this world a more loving place. May we each allow ourselves to be affected by a death and be reborn in the love of Christ.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Voice & the Feeling...

gary c. rettinger

There's seemingly never a greater presence in our heads than when we know what needs to happen and an uneasy feeling sets in, ugghhh right?  That's the way most of us know and it's really a bad way to carry about as a day-to-day go-to.  It sets us up for imagined failure and pain right from the get-go, but, you know it's simply what we were given.  That's where it all begins with what we got and what we didn't yet that's not where it ends.  That's where the right decision given life through self-designed destiny will dovetail with the very essence of who you are.  That's if you make the right decision keeping in mind it takes a bit of zeal, a dash of bravado and a lockstep with the wisdom good ol' mom and dad hopefully drummed into you during your very own wonder years.  So, what's the decision?

This is good, I accept it and I'm going to do the right thing.  That's it.  That's responsibility.  It's in us all as we really need not even think about it when it comes down to it as it's been passed down to us through hundreds and thousands of years of the essential goodness of generations that typically fills us all.  Sleep when you sleep, be aware when you're awake.  For many the opposite rings true and we miss doing the right thing and when we do it affects many many people well beyond what you might imagine.  Let it be celebrated that we each have the amazing capacity to set off a chain reaction of synchronicity bringing favor, smiles and harmony and it comes simply and elegantly enough just from doing the right thing.  At times words need not even be spoken as people feel it when the right thing's in motion.  Set off in the other direction and everything's upended, upset and out of whack and maybe even someone really got hurt.  That's the sea of separation in heeding what's right versus saying "too bad I'm all that matters and that's that."  Yet, that's what we seem to be suffocating in and "popular" culture in many sectors certainly's doing it's worst to speed along the demise of the good.

So what can you do about it?  You're just 1 person amongst 7 billion, stunning how insignificant that can  seem in a strictly mathematical sense isn't it?  Nonetheless that's all it takes, just 1.  Just 1 person doing the right thing even just in example shows another and sows a seed of an eventual reciprocating goodness.  That's how it always happens.  That's what makes responsibility or doing the right thing tantamount to everything.  It puts you into the flow and once you're in a good-hearted vision's always met with new and countless helping hands leading to sure-fired success for the greater good.

That's the way of the world.  You in?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How do YOU decide what you are responsible for?

What do you see as your responsibilities?
How do your different roles affect what you decide to own?
How do you prioritize each of these responsibilities?

As we look at this huge topic, we hope you will continue to share how thinking and talking about it has shifted a view, solidified a view or inspired you to seek deeper. 

Our families and communities benefit and evolve because of honest open dialogue. We hope we are igniting you as an agent of change!

Responsibility: How we Define it.

Definition excerpted  from this publication
Life is full of choices. Being responsible means being in charge of our choices and, thus, our lives. It means being accountable for what we do and who we are. It also means recognizing that our actions matter and we are morally on the hook for the consequences. Our capacity to reason and our freedom to choose make us morally autonomous and, therefore, answerable for whether we honor or degrade the ethical principles that give life meaning and purpose.

Ethical people show responsibility by being accountable, pursuing excellence and exercising self-restraint. They exhibit the ability to respond to expectations.

An accountable person is not a victim and doesn’t shift blame or claim credit for the work of others. He considers the likely consequences of his behavior and associations. He recognizes the common complicity in the triumph of evil when nothing is done to stop it. He leads by example.

Pursuit of Excellence
The pursuit of excellence has an ethical dimension when others rely upon our knowledge, ability or willingness to perform tasks safely and effectively.
Diligence. It is hardly unethical to make mistakes or to be less than "excellent," but there is a moral obligation to do one’s best, to be diligent, reliable, careful, prepared and informed.
Perseverance. Responsible people finish what they start, overcoming rather than surrendering to obstacles. They avoid excuses such as, "That’s just the way I am," or "It’s not my job," or "It was legal."
Continuous Improvement. Responsible people always look for ways to do their work better.
Responsible people exercise self-control, restraining passions and appetites (such as lust, hatred, gluttony, greed and fear) for the sake of longer-term vision and better judgment. They delay gratification if necessary and never feel it’s necessary to "win at any cost." They realize they are as they choose to be, every day.