The Responsibility of Doing it Yourself

“Don’t bother people for help without first trying to solve the problem yourself.”  Colin Powell

I’m a big fan of both working in teams and doing it yourself.  There’s incredible power in knowing that you were able to do something amazing all by yourself.  There’s another kind of awesome power that you feel when you’re part of a team that accomplishes something amazing together.  However, I’m not a fan of those people who say “here, fix this for me” and walk away.  Those people are not only turning away an incredible lesson, they’re denying their own power.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support delegation and letting your team handle things so that you can take care of the things only you can do.  But when it crosses the line to giving them responsibility for your well-being and life and holding no responsibility for yourself, I shudder.

How do other people recognize the difference between delegating and a lack of responsibility?  A lot of it shows up in your attitude and actions.  If you’re cavalier about your life, your kid’s lives, how you respond to others, and what is apparent to everyone around you as your true responsibilities, people see this.  People will instinctively shy away from you, quit working for you and not give you any more trust than they can quickly regain.  When this happens you’ve got a choice to make: continue down this path or change.  Most people won’t change because they like not being responsible and not having to do anything for themselves.

However, this attitude towards life, relationships and work is one of the worst you can have.  You’re not only giving everyone the power over you, you’re choosing to not make choices about your own life.  You can never become the man Colin Power is or the woman Mother Teresa was without making your own choices in your life.  Will you choose today to take on the responsibilities you’ve been ignoring, or continue down the path of willful ignorance?

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