(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)
Being responsible for your life is a position of strength. Own your actions; own your results. That’s being fully responsible. It doesn’t mean that everything always works out in the way you want it to. It simply means that, however it works out, you have the opportunity to learn and grow from it, and, if necessary, redirect your actions. Being fully responsible for your life puts you in charge of your life.
When you take the blame it means something else is going on. Perhaps you think life happens to you rather than you being at cause. Perhaps there is some victim-y stuff going on. Perhaps your opinion of yourself is not as great as it could be. Taking the blame is not useful.
Consider a teenager attending a party and afterwards having a car wreck because, “Someone pulled out in front of me. It’s not my fault.”
Responsible questions might be — “Was I as clearheaded as I could have been?” “Was I paying attention?” “Have I had enough driving experience for the conditions I was in?” Notice the difference in those questions versus “It’s not my fault.”
When you’re responsible you get to grow. When you take the blame you’re stuck in victim-hood.
Coaching Point: Are you fully responsible for your life?
Copyright 2008 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.