I’m 100% responsible for every action in my life.
Imagine if that were true!
I used to think that I lived by this mantra completely. I was talking to an old friend of mine last week and were remembering how we used to talk a lot about this a lot. We both left school early to follow our career dreams and had to work really hard to get where we both have today.
We always thought this meant we were living ‘above the line’ so to speak.
But do we really? Above the line behaviour means accepting responsibility for whatever happens in my life. The buck stops with me. I am responsible for every result or non-result in my life. This means that even the friends that I attract, the clients that I have (or do not have), my health, my time, my family and what I do with my perceptions of all these– all this reflects back on me.
Big statement. But empowering.
The opposite is living ‘below the line’. Words that show someone living below the line include ‘blame’, ‘should have’, ‘must’, ‘could’, ‘reaction’.
Whereas above might be words like ‘did’, ‘do’, ‘can’, ‘responsibility’, ‘respond’. There is a sense of assurance with those words.
Living above the line is a powerful motivator and enables you to overcome many mental barriers. It is also vitally important to build this mentality when you are creating your team.
3 years ago we had what we called The Appointment Disaster Of 2012 at work. (Yes, it requires capitals.)
Our computer crashed. The computer that we used to keep all our bookings and our client database.
We lost all the bookings that had been made, changed or rescheduled for an entire month for our team of 7. Even worse, our backups also failed.
I cannot tell you how terrifying this was. I wanted to run, I wanted to scream, and I wanted to get really cross at our IT guy. Thoughts like “How could this happen to me???” and “It’s not fair!” went through my head. I’m not going to lie, I was really, really angry, upset, frustrated, annoyed, embarrassed – all perfectly normal emotions to feel in a crisis.
But being angry and upset didn’t make the problem go away. We still had clients we needed to book in, a business to run, a team that needed to work.
The word ‘responsibility’ ran through my mind over and over and over. So my team and I went to work and we fixed it.
We created a system for dealing with it that everyone could follow. We kept our story consistent as we shifted focus onto serving our clients instead of on the problem. We told people what had happened and what we were doing to fix it. That shift took all the anxiety away and allowed us to deal with it.
What was interesting was the responses we had from owning the problem, finding solutions and keeping our clients informed. People were genuinely sorry for us and very compassionate. No one had a bad word to say and they were impressed at the maturity they were seeing.
In the end, from the 250 appointments or so that were lost, we only had 3 double bookings throughout the month as a result of the crash, all of which are still regular clients now.
Where in your life would you like to see different results? Is there something that comes to mind?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Was there an episode in your life when you did live above the line? What was the out come? What about a time when you didn’t? When you look back now, what would you do differently?
Leave your comments below.
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