The doctor handed me a small bundle, my newly born daughter. She was only a few minutes old, but I knew things were never going to be the same, because with that truly newborn child in my hand, I realized the immense responsibility that I had been entrusted with. Debbie and I had been married over four years at this point, and to be honest, living with someone comes with responsibilities – responsibilities towards each other and responsibilities that are shared. By making the decision to bring another life into the world, we now had the responsibility to raise, nurture, care and love the child we now have. And with being blessed a second time, though that one point of clarity did not need occur, we still had an equal responsibility. For Gab and Bec to be successful in life, it was (and to some extent, still is) our responsibility to prepare them for their futures.
I find it interesting, as I go through life, hearing people not always wanting to take responsibility. You can hear it in conversations where outside forces seem to supersede personal responsibility. Once someone starts down the path of “pointing fingers” as an explanation, it has the potential for making things easier by relieving the responsibility for oneself and one’s actions. I once heard speaker George Zalucki explain that many people have a thick chain attached to their backs. Attached to the chain is a heavy, wooden trunk that you are dragging along. The trunk is labeled excuses. This is where one goes when they make an excuse – “I could have done that, but [fill in excuse]”, “I meant to do this, but [fill in excuse]”… In what might have been a two for one sale, there is a second thick chain with another heavy, wooden trunk. This one is labeled blame. Once you make the excuse, it is time to reach into the second box and start pointing fingers – “It’s [fill in person’s name] fault that [fill in excuse].” This visualization is for a person that does not take responsibility. As Dr. Wayne Dyer, bestselling author of “Excuses Begone!” writes, “Blame is a neat little device that you can use whenever you don't want to take responsibility for something in your life. Use it and you will avoid all risks and impede your own growth.”
I know these are some hard hitting words. Nevertheless, becoming more aware of this over the past few years, through speakers, writers and listening to people talk, I can see the way this lays out. The box of excuses is not always for after the fact; it becomes the source prior to an event. Once the setup is there and the “event” occurs, the excuse can be re-enforced afterwards and then the finger pointing, or blaming, can begin. “Well, if you don’t do this, such and such will happen and it will be your fault.” This sentence deflects the speaker from looking at him or herself, from taking on the responsibility for their part, and already made it clear that they will not be responsible.
If we are to live our lives to our fullest potential, we have to be the ones responsible for ourselves, for our actions and for our results. No successful person, in sports, business or life, pushed off their responsibilities and made excuses to get where they are. I happily took on the responsibility:
- As a parent, to raise Gab and Bec to the best of my ability
- As a husband, to be the best spouse for Debbie I can be
- As a person, to living up to my potential as best I can
- For my success, to achieve on my own and on my terms
- As a volunteer, to give of my time and help others
I like being responsible – this way, I do not waste time on excuses and for blaming other for my failings…