Giving up ‘responsibility’ and standing in the ‘space of Responsibility’ is a powerful access to getting stuff done

I want to share two experiences with you and what I have learned from these experiences.  Lets start with the experiences:

A number of times I walked up and down the stairs and noticed dirt on the stairs.  Each time i sang the following song: “Hoovering the stairs and keep them clean is my son’s responsibility.  Did he do his job of cleaning the stairs on Sunday?  Did he do the job right? i  don’t think so else the stairs would not be this dirty.  You simply can’t count on people to do what you are counting on them to do.  i should have a word with him and get him to hoover the stairs.”   What I (the one committed to ‘Playing BIG’) noticed is that nothing changed in the real world.  i did not speak to my son – not that it would have done any good.  The stairs continued to be dirty.  Furthermore, I noticed that it is I (and i) who wants the stairs to be clean.  Now if I want the stairs to be clean then who is generating that demand on the world?  I am.  Once I got that I picked up the brush and dustpan and cleaned the stairs – twice during the week so that they could be pristine. And I felt great about it.

For about a week a bunch of boxes and the metal stand for the Christmas tree has lain upstairs on the landing.  Once, during the night, I tripped over the stand and almost hurt myself.  What came out of my mouth?  I cursed my wife for leaving the stuff there.  And I asked myself: “Why the heck has she not put the damn stuff up in the loft?  She wanted the Christmas tree and decorations.  So it is her responsibility to put the damn stuff away!”  Guess what that damned stuff stayed where she put it for the week. She was perfectly content for it to be there and so were my three children. Who was put out by it and wanted it moved off the landing and in the loft? Me.  Today, I and not i was present and it noticed that I is responsible for the demands that I (and i) place on the world.  Guess what?  In less than three minutes the stand and the boxes were up in the loft.  And I was left feeling joyful.  Why?  I had taken responsibility for making happen what I wanted to happen and not pester others to make happen what I want to happen.

So what is the lesson?  There is great wisdom in Nike’s slogan “Just do it!”  The access to just doing what I want done or what needs to be done is for me to stand in the ‘space of Responsibility’.  What do I mean?  Specifically, I mean stepping out of the already, always context (space) in which i, you, we are automatically embedded.  What is that space?  I call that was space “responsibility” – notice that it is responsibility with a small r.  In this space of responsibility when what i (you) want to happen does not happen then i (you) find someone to blame – i points the finger, i criticises, i bangs the table, i insists the other party does what i wants done.  The alternative place to stand and to live from is the space of “Responsibility” (notice that it starts with a big R).  In this space I (You) take the stand that I am Responsible for what shows up in my life AND I am Responsible for bringing into my life what I want in my live and keeping out of my life what I want to keep out of my live.  By taking this stand I look always to myself to get done what needs to be done. Now I might choose to get that done through other people and if I do go down that route and the stuff does not get done (or not the way I want it done) then I take a good look at myself and ask the following question:  who am I being such that I do not create the results that I want in my life?

Finally, I am clear that if I want to be powerful in my living then the access to that is standing (and operating) from the space of Responsibility and not responsibility.

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant working at the intersection of strategy, customer, and technology. Combine a tendency to think strategically with a penchant for getting my hands dirty at the coalface of implementation.

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