Running, Rants and Revelations: On Accountability

Are we becoming less accountable? How often do you own your part?

I do my best thinking when I run. And I do my best running when I think – especially about things that get me charged up! I run faster.

Today I ran fast.

A friend recently sent me a book that someone was writing about online dating. After 50 pages of ranting on about how tortured he was by the dating process, insulting his dates, and trying to contain his anger in a book disguised as a helpful tool to those new to online dating, I couldn’t stand to read one more page. The negative, defensive energy exhausted me.

What charged me up about this? His overall energy was blame. He blamed the online sites for how they operate. He blamed the dating process in general. He blamed men for not understanding women and women for not understanding men. Blame, blame, blame!

I kept waiting for the part in the book where he had an “ah-ha moment” – when he woke up or discovered something new about himself. Something! Anything! My friend warned me there would be no Hollywood ending. I certainly wasn’t expecting to see him walk off into the sunset with his shiny new love after the end of his rant nor was I expecting to learn about how his new awakening sent him on a pilgrimage to India for the next year. But geeze….in 125 pages, not one moment of self reflection.

And as my fingers type this right now, I’m struck by how I’m also blaming him. I’m blaming him for what his book didn’t do for me and I’m blaming him for not looking at himself. Ha! Caught!

So what’s the lesson here? For me it was to ponder this. How often am I really accountable for my own actions or for my impact? What’s the impact that we want to make on others and the world and are we willing to look at ourselves in the process? As leaders in organizations, how often do we blame others – our clients, our employees, the system etc without owning our part?

These are often the questions that I ask my clients when I coach them to become more successful in the impact that they want to have. Self-awareness is the first step in being a great leader in your life.

So this is why this book charged me up: his lack of and accountability. And perhaps my ability to be blind to my own.

That’s humbling. And that’s probably worth another run.

What are your thoughts?

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