Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Dirty Word

I’m about to say a dirty word—probably the dirtiest word in our society. If you are reading this aloud and children are within earshot, please cover their ears.

Here goes …


Accountability is a dirty word because we live in a victim society. The folks that wrote the book The OZ Principle call the victim-mentality “living below the line.”

The line to which they refer is the line that separates the failures, stagnators, and blamers from the explorers, originators, and the innovators.

Like it or not, success is never bestowed on you. It is earned. (That is, unless you are one of the Kardashians, in which case we know the dark arts are involved.)

Let me use myself as an example. Now, I have been the King of Excuses in what I will call the “before” time. During “before” time, I could easily find reasons why things did not turn out the way I wanted them to turn out.

It’s always easy to find excuses when you exclude yourself from the equation. During “before” time, I was never the chief culprit. That would have been insanity!

I was always saying things like: “If only they did this. They were supposed to take care of that! They are so incompetent.”

Do you have a “they” in your life? Is your “they” as lazy, horrible, and despicable as mine was? If so, you might be living below the line.

One day, I decided I wanted an “above the line” life. The only way I could do this would be to hold myself accountable. I had to fire “they” and take it’s place. (Normally, it is hard to fire people, but “they” were so lazy, horrible, and despicable that it was pretty easy.)

I had to make a commitment. And by the way, you don’t attempt to make a commitment. You are either committed or you aren’t. In living above the line, you are accountable when you hold yourself responsible for results that you commit to. It does not mean you will always actually succeed. Repeat it with me: Success is not guaranteed (unless you are a Kardashian).

But the magic of commitment and accountability is that they get you half the way there.

In fact, the magic formula for success is to learn from your less-than-desirable results. Learning, adjusting, adapting, and modifying commitments in the face of adversity creates success 90 percent of the time.

I’m not sure what the other 10 percent would be called. Maybe we can call it (cover kids’ ears) “sh*t happens” or (keep covering) “Kardashian?”

(I get paid 10 cents in ad revenue every time I use their name!)

How do YOU live about the line? As my friend Kathy Kolbe says, “Commit! But to very little.”

That is the first step. Understand your role, make adjustments, keep moving forward, and congratulate yourself for the distance you have come. Quantify your commitments. Put a number, date, or numerical frequency to those things you want to accomplish. Enlist the help of supporters. Keep away from the detractors. And finally, resist the victim excuses.

Whether you are or are not successful, you only have one person to blame: YOU!