As a leader, I’m sure you’ve either heard or even said the expression “The Buck Stops Here!” The higher one goes in their career or level of responsibility, the more this is true. In reality, the buck stops here for all of us. We are accountable for our life. We create our own experience. We may not want to admit this, yet it’s helpful to take a step back and understand your role in creating your life’s results. Here’s the good news: if you don’t like what you see, you can learn to choose better so you have better.
Recently, in organizing my bookshelves, I came across a great book I forgot I had, Life Strategies – Doing What Works, Doing What Matters by Phillip McGraw (Dr. Phil). In this book, he talks about the Ten Laws of Life. Law #2: You create your own experience and the Strategy for you is: Acknowledge and accept accountability for your life.
This strategy is certainly not unique advice, yet definitely something we all need to be reminded of periodically. This is very powerful and worth repeating. If you’re a Dr. Phil fan, picture him saying it to you in that special way he says things! You’re accountable for your life, now and always. You create the results in your life, not just some of the time, all of the time. If you don’t like your job or a relationship, you’re accountable. If you’re overweight or smoke too much, you’re accountable. If you miss deadlines at work, you’re accountable.
The important thing about getting this is that you can no longer dodge responsibility for how and why your life is the way it is. Some people can’t see this link between their problems and themselves. They think they’re a victim so they don’t take appropriate action or make better choices to change their life. One way people become victims is to believe they are right in their position and those who disagree are wrong, therefore, it’s not their fault. Dr. Phil asks an outstanding question, “If you’re so right, if you’re so smart, then why can’t you create the results that you want?” Ponder that.
It’s more than just saying, “I’m accountable.” If you truly want to change, you must analyze what you’ve done or haven’t done to create the undesirable results you face. Ask yourself what role you played, what you did or didn’t do that you may want to do differently, what behaviors you want to start or stop doing and what actions you can take to make the changes you want.
Remember, as a leader in your personal and work life, The Buck Stops Here! You’re accountable for your life. What you create is up to you! Make it a good one!