Taking Responsibility Means No Excuses!

02.18.13 | Posted in UnCommon Leadership

noexcuses

Recently on a flight, I overheard a conversation between two passengers behind me. From the conversation, I picked up that the younger of the two had played football at a small school in the northeast on scholarship. The older gentleman had a grandson that was being heavily recruited to play college football so they had something in common. But, the young man seemed to have a lot of excuses about his football career. He chose to go the JUCO route at first because he couldn’t decide what his major should be. I remember thinking “that’s an odd reason to attend a JUCO.” Then he wasn’t drafted by the NFL because he was overshadowed at the combine by inferior athletes that had connections. And, then came the ultimate snub. Since he didn’t get drafted, he drove on his last tank of gas to an NFL team to tryout and when he tried to go through the stadium gates, the guard wouldn’t let him through because he didn’t have a pass. No manner of pleading could get him in and so his football career was over. Politics were the blame according to this young man. Again, my work with students and people looking for a job came into my mind and I was thinking about the strategy and tactics I teach and wondered why this young man would just show up without knowing the protocol. Couldn’t he have called someone such as his coaches or anyone else he might have known that knew people who had tried that path to find exactly what he should do? How many of you would just “show up” expecting open arms to try out for an NFL team? His rationale wasn’t making sense to me. It sounded like a lot of excuses to me!

Then last week I was teaching at a university and discussing with the students how to properly prepare for interviews. I had been advising them that they had to take the document I had prepared, which included the 18 key interview questions and they should write out their answers, and then role play as often as possible so their answers were clear, polished and well thought out. It became apparent after a number of questions from the students that they were looking for an easy way out. They didn’t want to do the work I was suggesting they do!

UnCommon Leaders don’t take shortcuts. They find resources to help them understand the right tactics and strategies to produce the best results. They work their networks and find people who know other people. They practice, they rehearse, and go the proverbial extra mile.  Ultimately, they prepare as long as it takes to achieve the results they desire.

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that more and more people are not willing to take full responsibility for the results they are getting. It’s so easy to blame others, blame politics or blame the weather! There’s no defense witness to step up and say “wait, what about your role in this process? What about you taking responsibility?”

If we are always looking for other reasons why we’re not successful other than an honest assessment of our own personal role, then we never grow. We never learn to take responsibility for our own actions. And, this allows the person blaming people, circumstances and events a way to save face…..or so they think. But, in the end, they don’t grow and that pattern repeats and becomes ingrained and habitual. Sounds like a path to a dead-end, unfulfilled life to me. What about you?

Onward & Upward!

Ed Chaffin

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