Personal Responsibility

UPDATE: 10/22/12:  I find all of this very interesting in light of recent events regarding Lance Armstrong.


I’ve been thinking lately about personal responsibility and discovered some great information at   This web resource has a lot to say–check it out!

For some this is common sense but for others it challenges the core of their belief system.  At one extreme, some spend their lives being a perpetual victim.  They blame others for their poor choices and decisions instead of taking responsibility and trying to change their circumstances.   On the other extreme, others take more responsibility than they should, blaming themselves for the actions of people over which they have no control.  Both extremes are unhealthy.

Many things occur in life that are out of our control.  In fact, control is really an illusion.  How we handle each situation determines who we become in the process.  If we choose to be a victim, we have no power and will remain stuck.  If we accept responsibility for our circumstances, we have the power to reflect, makes changes, and move forward.

Our choices and decisions have a cumulative effect that ultimately determines who we become in the process.

Here is a sample from

What is accepting personal responsibility?
Accepting personal responsibility includes:
* Acknowledging that you are solely responsible for the choices in your life.
* Accepting that you are responsible for what you choose to feel or think.
* Accepting that you choose the direction for your life.
* Accepting that you cannot blame others for the choices you have made.
* Tearing down the mask of defense or rationale for why others are responsible for who you are, what has happened to you and what you are bound to become.
* The rational belief that you are responsible for determining who your are, and how your choices affect your life.
* Pointing the finger of responsibility back to yourself and away from others when you are discussing the consequences of your actions.
*Realizing that you determine your feelings about any events or actions addressed to you, no matter how negative they seem.
* Recognizing that you are your best cheerleader; it is not reasonable or healthy for you to depend on others to make you feel good about yourself.
* Recognizing that as you enter adulthood and maturity, you determine how your self-esteem will develop.
* Not feeling sorry for the “bum deal” you have been handed but taking hold of your life and giving it direction and reason.
* Letting go of your sense of over responsibility for others.
* Protecting and nurturing your health and emotional well being.
* Taking preventive health oriented steps of structuring your life with time management, stress management, confronting fears and burnout prevention.
* Taking an honest inventory of your strengths, abilities, talents, virtues and positive points.
* Developing positive, self-affirming, self-talk scripts to enhance your personal development and growth.
* Letting go of blame and anger toward those in your past who did the best they could, given the limitations of their knowledge, background and awareness.
* Working out anger, hostility, pessimism and depression over past hurts, pains, abuse, mistreatment and misdirection.

The chart below describes the process of accepting personal responsibility when “stuff” happens to us.   It comes from “The Power of Personal Accountability” by Mark Samuel and Sophie Chiche.  In each situation, we have the choice to either enter the accountability loop or the victim loop.  The victim loops keeps us trapped but the accountability loop leads to freedom.  The best part is that at any point, a “victim” can choose a different path and enter the accountability loop, which ultimately leads to healing and growth.

This is one of my favorite illustrations because it communicates so clearly the process of personal accountability and the path to growth.  Which path do you choose?


At the end of the day, each of us owns the pink slip to our life.  Take ownership and move forward!

One Response

  1. Thanks for sharing.
    i read this book and have given it to several people since i discovered it. it is very useful both professionally and personally. The concept is well written.

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