Leadership Tactic #40: I Am Responsible

I read an article the other day on how to apologize to someone. The best part was that it’s not a true apology there’s a “but” in there. “I’m sorry I’m late, but traffic was terrible.” Nope. That’s an excuse. For an apology, you remove the second clause. No but.

When I was a teenager, I was crossing an intersection in my parent’s sweet Dodge Caravan when I ran over a broken bottle in the road and destroyed one of the tires. As I waited for the tire to get replaced, I found myself trying to place blame in my mind. Specifically, I blamed the person who carelessly threw a glass bottle in the middle of the road. I got more and more angry at this stranger who had caused me such inconvenience–who had put me in danger, even.

But then it dawned on me: There is no stranger. There’s just a broken glass in the middle of the road. And I drove over it. I did. Some stranger wasn’t driving my car. I was. I am responsible.

I am responsible.

Say that to yourself the next time you make an excuse or point a finger or think the world is out to get you. Stop blaming everyone and everything but yourself. Just stop. And say this: I am responsible. I am responsible.

It’s freeing. We’re talking life-changing freedom here. If you are responsible, you have control of your life. You have the power to improve your life, to do good things, to steer your minivan clear of the glass in the road, to be on time.

I am responsible. Because of that, I know that I have the power to do great things.