Monday, January 26, 2009

Keys to Success: Where the Buck Starts

This is the fourth in my ten part Keys of Success series. Every Monday we’ll feature another key.

Now that I think about it, this should have been the first of my Keys to Success. Before you can do anything, before you can do the work, before you can be prepared, you have to own it. Owning it means being accountable and responsible. The buck stops with you.

Real and exciting change happens when you accept accountability and responsibility. This might be hard to hear but, “It’s no one else’s fault.” You are where you are because of decisions you have made. This can be tricky in some circumstances so allow me to explain. Accountability and blame are two different things. You might not be to blame for something that happened to you, but you are responsible for how you respond to it.

You are accountable for your responses. You are accountable for your thoughts. You are accountable for your actions. It begins and ends with you. It’s not about someone else – what they did or did not do. It’s not about waiting for something to happen – hitting the lottery or waiting on some other magical event. It’s not about past events shaping, molding and dictating your future.

Success begins not when opportunity knocks but when you become accountable for yourself. The food isn’t making you fat; it’s your decision to eat it that packs on the pounds. Likewise, the store doesn’t make you spend, you make that decision. Going back to school, buying a home, getting a new car, are all expensive undertakings, but you are responsible for looking into scholarships, grants, loans and educating yourself on the options.

At first glance, accountability and responsibility aren’t ‘sexy’ concepts. But if you think about it, they are. Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Your personal power begins with accepting responsibility and being accountable for your actions. You are in control and if that isn’t sexy, I don’t know what is!


MoAfrika said...

I really fear for my country South Africa. If the US, with the wealth of talent and brilliance that it has among black people, how come there is still so much negative stuff that attaches itself to black folk. Yours is such a positive blog - I wish some inner-city school kid would read and learn from it. Keep the positive energy going . . .

Karyn Beach said...

WOW Mo! You pose a very interesting question. I could do an entire series on that one question alone!

The short answer is that somewhere along the line, quite a few of us (but not all!) we have come to think that anything worth having should be easy. If it's not easy, or if it isn't fun, then it isn't worth the effort.

I collect quotes and one quote that I love says, "Success often comes disguised as hard work." On the other side of the storm is the sunshine and the rainbow. Too many times, we see the storm and we just stop. We don't go through it, we don't move through it, we just stand there, wet and cold, angry and dejected.

It seems to me that we have several generations of people who have been standing in that storm. They've stood there and taught their children to stand there with them.

I hope the success of President Obama will be enough to get those of us who are stuck in the rain and the mud, unstuck and moving forward again.

You can't see the rainbow until you've made it through the storm.