As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, one foundational principle is the importance of accepting responsibility for our own thoughts, decisions, and actions as a core component to character building. Accepting responsibility is the first step in rising above our situation and escaping the trap of blaming others or our surroundings for the choices we make.
Accepting personal responsibility is important. It does not mean we always make great choices. The reality is that we will fall short in some of the decisions we make and actions we take. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Our character is strengthened when we fully accept the effective and the ineffective choices we make and the positive and negative outcomes that they may bring about.
An important dimension to accepting responsibility is acknowledging our influence on others. Yes, each one of us owns our decisions, but we all play a role of influence on others:
- Students make the decision to learn in the classroom, but a great teacher can raise the level of engagement and interest to make the classroom a more conducive environment to learn.
- A great coach can inspire teamwork and commitment, but ultimately it is the decision of individual players to work together as a team.
- A strong leader in the workplace can build energy, excitement, and efficient systems to keep the team heading in the right direction to accomplish goals, but it is the decisions of individual team members day to day that sustains top performance in the marketplace.
- The examples we all set in the home have influence on those closest to us.
What happens when those in our circle of influence stumble and fall through poor choices and bring about a difficult outcome? One truth we should not back away from is that they must own it and make more effective choices moving forward to get back on track and head in a better direction.
However, there is an important element that often gets overlooked in the heat of the moment as we are sorting through the damage of a poor decision by someone close to us; The role we played around influence. An important question we need to ask ourselves is, “What could I have done differently?” We all have the ability to influence others. Could the decisions I made and actions I took influenced a more effective choice that would have yielded a better outcome?
“What could I have done differently?”
A genuine self-assessment around this important question and a commitment to improve will help each one of us be more effective in our ability to positively influence others and help others make more effective decisions.
In terms of moving forward after someone close to us stumbles, there is one additional step that can influence a better tomorrow. Extend a helping hand to get back on track as opposed to leaving someone alone in the struggle. This is especially important in the home. Extending a helping hand, again, and again, and again, and again to those closest to us will help to build and strengthen our home and set an example of understanding and compassion that is missing many times in sustained family conflict.
As we acknowledge our role as influencers and guide our thoughts, decisions, and actions by principles like encouragement, loyalty, and commitment, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to influence others in a positive way and help those around us reach their full potential.