The concept of responsibility has ethical and affirmational qualities, yet it also has an edge — a sharp one that can cause resistance.
Think about world peace or climate change. Global challenges elicit a paradox of human response. There is universal concern, and individual denial. Can one person possibly take responsibility for the cause or the cure?
When we relinquish personal responsibility, it is often because our initial feelings of inspiration or ambition have turned into a sense of burden or resentment.
Rejecting the reactionary
It’s hard to think or talk about responsibility. In our complicated modern lives, being responsible blurs with being reactive. In our knee-jerk reactions, we often default to defensiveness.
We’re quick to blame a world full of problems instead of taking time to imagine possibility — the infinite opportunities available to anyone with authentic desire to lead change in a positive direction.
When we let go of reactivity, we consciously recognize our role in holding responsibility. What if, instead of being responsible, and carrying the weight of that mindset, we shifted toward being response-able?
The difficulty we associate with responsibility lessens when our reactive feelings become proactive. That’s when we can begin to create space for putting theory into action.
We all want our leaders to be responsible for our world. And while we all know how easy it is to be reactive, being responsible and proactive is to have a different level of responsibility. In choosing to lead, we awaken a sense of conscious response-ableness, and in doing so, we empower our creativity.
Responsibility is your choice
This level of responsibility requires intentionality. It leads from being theoretical to being practical, and it’s a much more accessible way of understanding the term “responsible for my world.”
Respond-ability comes when you realize the gift of being able to respond. The “able” part of the response is your choice about being able to consciously interact with whatever is happening around you — in your personal world, in your family world, in your neighborhood, in a world that is however big or small you want to make it.
You can always choose whether to respond negatively or positively. And when you choose to pull burden away from responsibility — like when you take tangible steps toward a plan of action rather than making excuses for why your actions might fail — you become an innovator in your own life.
The joy of the response
By imagining what it’s like to hold a sense of responsibility in a light and joyful kind of way, responsibility can become a neutral word. How you choose to respond to the inevitable challenges of being a person in the world is what gives the responsibility its power.
This is how we weave our own powers of leadership into our daily lives. In any given moment, you can ask yourself how you might want to respond. By bringing consciousness to your responsibility, you can discover the sweet spot of your leadership.
What’s one thing you can do to bring more responsibility into your leadership?