Several years ago I attended a personal development training and it changed my life. Two of my biggest takeaways were accountability and being your word (do what you say and honor your agreements).
But this week I have a BIG awareness that I often confused accountability with over-responsibility.
Something would happen, and it could be anything like someone running a red light and they almost crash into me, and I would immediately go into the question of “how did I create/attract that?” Or more commonly “Was that my fault?”
Asking this question in every situation is really powerful, because the bottom line is we are accountable for our results. WE are the ONLY common denominator in our life.
There are days I wish this wasn’t true. And every day I’m glad this is the truth because it means I am not a victim to any circumstance in my life.
The trap with this is to be accountable for your portion and leave anything that isn’t yours to the other folks involved. Taking accountability for how others feel, how they perceive you or their own results is actual being over-responsible and it’s killing your business.
Being over-responsible is almost always linked to your need to be liked. As a heart-based entrepreneur, it can be tough when people don’t like you but more on that a little later when I talk about “Hate Mail.”
Real examples from my business and my clients:
The Client Who Quits:
You have a program and someone signs up for it. They get scared and they ask for a refund before the program even starts.
Option A: Take accountability by asking yourself if you really felt they were ready to join the program. If you know it wasn’t a good fit, then considers the refund and get clear about your ideal client.
Option B: Take accountability by being the best service provider you can be and have a conversation about how often fear comes up in the client’s life and do they usually quit even before they start?
Option C: Turn accountability into over-responsibility and make the client “happy.” So you give the client the refund.
You Don’t Get What You Paid For
Signing up for a program and receiving the outline that you would get specific items from the program (number of calls, trainings, etc) and not everything in the program is delivered.
A: Accept it as your choice and tell yourself that you got what you needed and you don’t want to be a pest.
B: Double check your contract and the program details then ask the program host to either deliver the missing pieces of the program or ask for a partial refund.
You Don’t Get the Results You Were “Promised”
Let’s take that SAME program as in the above example and pretend that you received everything that was promised. But you didn’t get the desired outcomes that the program “promised.” Maybe it was to lose 20 pounds or make an extra $5,000 in a month and that didn’t happen.
A: Take accountability by being honest with yourself about if you did everything the program outlined for you? Or did you do it part of the way or you did it, but then you also did it “your way.”
B: Take accountability by knowing that your intuition told you not to sign up for the program but you did it anyway. Your results are your results and you make it the best decision you’ve ever made and you move on noting how to work with your intuition in the future.
C. Blame the program for your lack of results and maybe even create some drama by talking to others in the program first to see if they had the same experience and then you might talk to the program host to figure out how you can improve your results.
D. Be over-responsible by beating yourself up for making a “bad decision once again” and stay in feeling defeat.
I remember a mentor telling me that you’ve hit a level of success as soon as you receive your first hate letter. I thought “hmmm, okay, I’ll keep that in mind.” Then it happened. The girl who told me she wouldn’t come to my event because I had gained weight and she didn’t want to learn from someone who let herself go.
Or last week, someone named “Blah Blah” on my list (yes they put their name as Blah Blah) emailed me and the subject line was “I’M SO FED UP.” BlahBlah told me that there was a broken link to apply to my program and that the promised replay from a training I did a few weeks ago wasn’t there.
My accountability: I checked out the link. Yep, it was broken. I got my web gal on it right away and it was fixed within an hour. And we fixed any other links that didn’t transfer over with a recent domain switch. I was very grateful for BlahBlah to point that out because it was something that was missed.
My accountability: I checked out the replay problem and noticed that BlahBlah didn’t open any of the emails I had sent with the replay link. Since there isn’t anything I can do about that, I trust that BlahBlah is getting the support they need for their business and leave it at that.
I replied to the email and apologized for the problem and I would be happy to remove them from my email list. (Their email also indicated that they didn’t want to receive any more info from me.)
The old me would have felt bad because BlahBlah didn’t like me any longer. Never mind the 3,500+ other people on my email list who get my emails, I would have focused on one person not liking me. This is where accountability turns into over-responsibility.
I take accountability for how I feel and what I do. By trying to appease to this person’s feelings about me, I step into the trap of over-responsibility.
You are on a sales conversation and the person you are talking to is a great fit for your 6-month program. They want to do it then comes the money excuse. “I just can’t afford it.” They then proceed to tell you about their daughter needing braces and the roof leak, etc….
Option A: You take accountability for the value you know you deliver and hold to the truth that if they want it bad enough, you know they will figure it out. It’s their choice. You don’t convince, you just hold the power of your truth and empower them to make the decision they truly desire, not from a decision out of fear or scarcity. You accept their decision either way and move forward.
Option B: You accept their money story and be over-responsible and let them off the hook. You don’t want to “take” the money for the daughter’s braces. You wish them luck and let them know that when they are ready you will be there.
Option C: You hold the sale and the client tells you later that she paid you with the daughter’s braces money. So then you over-deliver services to the client because you “feel bad.”
Is it showing in up in your sales conversation? Your marketing? Current clients?
Your clients create their own experience. You create your experience. Stop taking ownership of their results, good or bad!
Being accountable doesn’t mean you have to feel bad about your decisions and results, it’s about noticing what are your current results, spot the patterns, make a new decision and move forward. Wallowing in beating yourself up doesn’t do anyone any good, most of all you.