For many it is difficult. For many it is a hard pill to swallow. Many will run from it and avoid it like a plague. I embrace it. I require it. I expect it. It is a huge part of who I am. It is one of my favorite parts of my moral fabric. It is simply one word…….ACCOUNTABILITY!
No one is perfect. That’s a saying that many have heard a plethora of times. Accountability is a huge part of maturing and growing. It is not something any of us are born with. It is taught to us. With practice it is perfected within us. Many mistakes can be forgiven with accountability. Many wrong doings and their affects could be alleviated, with the presence of accountability.
Rather good, bad, or indifferent; I pride myself with always being accountable. No matter what fears or feelings I have about any possible ramifications; one thing I’m going to be, is accountable. I do not give myself any grace or wiggle room in this department. I will not deflect. I’m not going to lie. I will provide my rationale that I was fueled by in that moment. There will be no throwing anyone under the bus. No excuse and no justification. I may even take the blame for someone else, depending on who they are to me. What I will do is stand 10 toes down, with my feet to the fire…. owning whatever it is I need to be accountable for. Now let’s be perfectly clear. This applies to IF I feel I have something to be accountable for. I’m not going to carry no one else’s burden or insecurities. No one’s lack of maturity or thick skin, is going to lead me to be accountable for something I have no business being accountable for.
In thinking about different experiences that I’ve had, directly and indirectly, there is something I need to say. Accountability and apologizing is not the same thing. There’s a big difference. I’m pretty confident in saying that there is a nice amount of people that do not know the difference between the two. Accountability requires change and you cannot change other people, only yourself. Apologizing is a chance to acknowledge and take responsibility for the hurt or harm you caused or were complicit in. The apology is in the changed action, not the words. When you are sincerely apologetic, you modify/improve the behavior. When you are accountable, you make improvements to the person.
In achieving accountability, there are 4 main parts any person should have:
Self-Reflection: you must understand your actions and the impact they had.
Apologizing: sometimes you may need to do this more than once. It depends on if you’re wanting to amend any relationship or not. Me personally? I’m only doing it once…no matter what! Apologizing means that you understand what you did and what the impact was.
Repair: a unique part of accountability because it is done in relationship (romantic, friends, relatives, business, etc.) and not done alone.
Behavior Change: changing your behavior could be hard. It is easier when done with support. Utilize people in your life that you trust significantly. Talk to them about your mistakes, things you’re ashamed of or feel guilty for, and ways they thing you could improve.
Accountable people don’t let their mistakes define or defeat them. At the end of the day, their main objective is learning how to produce positive outcomes. It is also this mindset of strength that makes accountability a top quality in leaders. Procrastination or the laissez-faire approach, at times, will appear to be the most convenient approach. Holding yourself accountable, I believe, will acquire you a more manageable way of living and existing.
When things don’t turn out the way you want or expect, it's easy to deny your role in the situation and look to external factors to blame. And while circumstances, other people’s actions, and even luck can impact your personal and professional lives, refusing to accept accountability can prevent you from ever achieving your full potential. Elaine Welteroth, former Editor-In-Chief for Teen Vogue, provides 3 effective benefits to holding ourselves accountable. They are:
Greater productivity - Staying on track to complete short-term goals allows you to get through longer-term initiatives in a more succinct timeframe.
Increased Confidence - As you set goals and achieve them, you’ll feel more confident about getting through each and every workday. This empowers you to dedicate more time on important decision making or tending to your mental health.
Less Stress - Holding yourself accountable is hard work, but it should make the rest of your workload easier. After you set goals for yourself, sticking to them in a timely manner ultimately equates to less stress overall.