Responsibility vs. Response-Ability: How to go from Victim to Victor
Career Strategist | Empowerment Coach | Author
September 1,2020 at 12:24AM UTC
“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home... It’s your responsibility to love it or change it.”
— CHUCK PALAHNIUK
Yikes. Responsibility. Sounds heavy, and like it’s all our fault. How can we be accountable for everything in our lives when they are so impacted by outside events, people, and structures that we didn’t create?
In short, we aren’t.
This framing can convey a crushing sense of one-sidedness and blame and isn’t particularly motivating. And it can cause the natural rebels among us to reject being stuffed into a box of obligation.
When reframed as response-ability, we are reminded of our agency and the fact that we do have personal freedom and control over our thoughts and level of effort. Always.
It can feel intimidating at first to realize this. But it is necessary to move forward in our lives without blame or shame.
Take comfort in this knowledge and don’t stress what you cannot control. Use your energies to move toward the life you want, one small move at a time. Retraining your brain to focus this way takes practice and time to settle into a habit. But it is essential to living authentically and growing into your potential.
Do at least one thing per day just for you, regardless of others’ expectations and opinions. Start today.
“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain. Whining is not only graceless, but can be dangerous. It can alert a brute that a victim is in the neighborhood.”
— MAYA ANGELOU (FROM THE ESSAY TITLED COMPLAINING FROM THE BOOK WOULDN'T TAKE NOTHING FOR MY JOURNEY NOW.")
“Responsibility” suggests some sort of global accountability for outcomes and even things out of our control, whereas “response-ability” reminds us of our power to make choices regarding the things within our control (effort, thoughts, words, actions, habits). Combined these make a life.
The former can feel draining while the latter is an empowering reminder that we can always choose our response to the circumstances in our lives, and we have the power to learn, grow, and make the most of every day we are given.
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I Love Being Treated Professionally - I am Over "Trendy" Companies
When I left my last position at a major company, I never thought I would find something I liked as much.
At my last job, it felt like a family. I was incredibly close with all of my teammates and there was a very jovial, fun-loving atmosphere. I liked the work I was doing and I knew the intimate details of my co-workers' personal lives. We would have Margarita day, Nerf gun fights, and get up to other management-sponsored tomfoolery.
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I didn't want to leave and let me teammates down, even when I knew in my heart it was what was best for my family. I had a very important role that would have been difficult to replace, and that made me feel trapped. Some of my coworkers would joke and say things like, "You had better not ever think of quitting, because we would miss you too much. We need you here and it wouldn't be the same without you!"
Every time I thought of quitting that would play in my mind. I know they meant well and were trying to say something sweet, but I felt burdened by it.
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First of all, there are no long "heart to hearts" over people getting their feelings hurt. This was a frequent thing with one of my male colleagues at my old work, who was highly sensitive. I liked him as a person, but he was always getting his feelings hurt and it often felt like you had to walk on eggshells around him.
The HR person was also often moody, and while I liked them it was very stressful trying to communicate with them if someone else had upset them. In fact, there were a lot of people whose "moods" needed to be accommodated, and it was stressful - especially when you liked the person. Then their snappiness was even more upsetting because it wasn't just about work, it was personal.
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And I like that.
I like being treated like a professional. I like people not trying to "figure me out." I like less drama.
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