Distraction

Sometimes,
we discover in hindsight,
that we have wasted our energy
on a distraction.

When this happens,
it may be easy to blame ourselves
for not having had
foresight.

But without a clear direction,
what counts as distraction
and what does not
may only become obvious
in hindsight.

To decide with foresight
may we gain clarity of direction
first
to helps us discern
what counts as distraction
and what does not.

May we choose
to take responsibility
instead of blaming ourselves.

Responsibility vs Blame

Responsibility
is response + ability.

It is our ability
to respond.

It points to our potential
for autonomous action.

It is distinct
from blaming ourselves
or anyone else
for being
at fault.

Unless you believe
your greatest potential for action
lies in blaming
yourself
or others.

p.s: Much gratitude to Margaret Rose for the email exchange that inspired me to write this post.

Unshared Weight

“The weight
of responsibility
is so heavy.”
remarked the Founder.

“No.”
I responded.

“The weight
of unshared responsibility
is heavy.”
I continued.

“The weight
will be the same
no matter what.
The choice you have
is with whom
you’ll share it
and how.
The choice is yours
and yours
only.”
I remarked.

Hampered Responsibility

If responsibility
is response + ability —
as in our ability to respond
to a given situation —
then
it is only human
that when we experience too much tension,
our responsibility
gets hampered,
the range of our responsibility
gets diminished.

Others
may wish to hold us accountable
or our own sense of duty and obligation
may haunt us,
but neither
helps us recover
our hampered
responsibility
or restore
our range
of responsibility.

To take responsibility
back,
our tension
has to be released.

My Fault

There are times
when it seems so clear
that the fault
is ours.

I raised my child poorly.

I lead my company to bankruptcy.

I failed to support my spouse.

This often happens
when there are two things
equally clear
if you’re willing
to see them.

First,
is that you’re someone
who is willing
to take
responsibility.

Second,
is that you have
emotional needs.

Perhaps the need
to be forgiven.

Upon seeing these two things
clearly,
may you learn the choice
to take responsibility
for fulfilling
your own emotional needs
as well as worrying
about the emotional needs
of others.

Happy Parents, Happy Kids

10 years ago,
my mother
realized empathy with herself
and discovered
that all this time
she had unconsciously assumed
she had to do what she felt
was not worth doing,
only
to make others happy.

Ironically,
once she felt
she was given permission
to stop doing these things,
those around her
felt happier.

Why?

Because
She behaved toward them
less out of the resentment
left over
from doing so many things
out of obligation.

Something similar
happens in leadership.

Some founders I coach
started out thinking
it was their responsibility
to make everyone around them
happy.

A tall order.

Especially so,
because behaviors arising
from the tension they held
from that very sense
of responsibility
was contributing
to the unhappiness
of those around them.

But they needed permission
to invest the time and effort
to manage their own tension.

Because it felt selfish
to do so.

So instead,
they chose
to be strong.

The saying,
“Happy parents,
Happy kids”
is not a permission
to be selfish.

It is an invitation
to journey into
the vulnerable
and creative process
of survival
together
by striving
to be the best support
we possibly can
for each other.

Still a tall order,
but together.