72dpi-website banner

Transcript: Taking Responsibility and Creating a Life You Desire (EP100)


Brendan: Welcome to The Culture of Leadership. We have conversations that help you develop and become a more confident leader. This is my conversation with Christopher Avery, a [inaudible 00:00:25] expert, consultant, and author who has developed a framework called the Responsibility Process. Christopher shares his insight on taking responsibility in creating the life you desire.

We’ll dive into the power of personal responsibility, how to transform your mindset, and the mental state to prevent us from owning our actions. We’ll also discuss the importance of consciousness, intention, and awareness in developing your responsibility muscles. How leaders can use ownership to achieve high performance. 

Stay tuned to learn how you can start practicing responsibility with the capital R today. This is the Culture of Leadership podcast. I’m Brendan Rogers. Sit back and enjoy my conversation with Christopher.

Brendan: Tell us about just your definition of personal responsibility. What is it? And what impact does it have in leaders' day-to-day lives?

Christopher: That's a really good question. I've got so much to say about why it's a good question because responsibility, the word has more definitions than there are people. We use the word in so many ways. We put the definitions of each of these mental states right on the responsibility process poster, which we'll get into talking about later.

I can give you the definition of responsibility the way we use it. We often write about it with a capital R in order to denote that. When I say we, I mean me, my team.

Responsibility simply is owning my power and ability to create, choose, and attract. A lot of people think that that's an incomplete sentence, and they want more at the end. I would say, owning my power and ability to create, choose, and attract my experience or my reality. Our premise of all of this research, it's based on wisdom literature from ages ago and the sages as well.

The premise is that we're powerful people. We're powerful beings. Even in creating our own demise, we're powerful. We're tremendously powerful. We're always free. We're always at choice even if we don't think we are. Our premise is that we're always creating, choosing, and attracting our experience, good, bad, or otherwise, even if we hate it, don't like it.

We're just not always the owning that we are. We tend to own the good stuff. We tend to own the things in our lives that go well. Yeah, I did that. But when we're unhappy with stuff, we tend to externalize that. We tend to express that in ways that we're not owning it, we're seeing that happen to me.

The magic of this definition is when we actually start acknowledging our power and ability to to create, choose, and attract stuff that ends up biting us in the butt later on, until we start owning that, we don't really start learning and growing. We don't really start examining and looking to say, wow, how did I attract this to me? 

Brendan: Is it another way of saying we've got total control over our lives, we've got total control with what we do with our lives, what we achieve with our lives, what we set out to achieve with our lives?

Christopher: You could construe it that way. Yes, but that also sounds a little, at times, Pollyanna-ish. It sounds a little simplistic. For me, this is just paying attention to the way the mind works. For instance, if you use the idea of the law of attraction that whatever we hold in mind tends to manifest, but if we hold in mind a lot of subconscious negativity, anger, and rage, then we tend to manifest more and more of that negativity, anger, and rage.

The simplistic view of the law of attraction is just put a vision board up, put pictures of everything that you want, and it'll happen. I've learned that I actually have to take ownership of my mind, go in, and find all the garbage, limiting beliefs, anger, and other things in there that keep reproducing. And I get to pull those out.

Part of our practice of responsibility is we start by talking about taking charge of my life, but then we learn that the mind is a crazy thing, so we really get to take charge of the mind. That's the beginning of, for me, owning your power and ability to create, choose, and attract.

Brendan: Personal responsibility then is more of a mindset shift, or at least that's a starting point in being aware of how the mind works. Therefore, if you're aware of that, you can start to, I guess, manage your thinking process.

Christopher: Yeah, I would agree with that. Absolutely, Brendan. 

Brendan: Before going into the model, which is behind you there for those viewing the episode is, what does somebody not taking personal responsibility look like?

Christopher: It looks like they're feeling and demonstrating that they're powerless. It looks like them feeling and demonstrating that they're trapped, that they have no choice. It looks like they're holding on to stories and drama about why they're not happy and why they can't have what they want.

To use these words, here, it looks like explaining the reason that I am unhappy or can't have what I want is because somebody else did something, and I can't be happy until they do something different. We call that lay blame. It looks like being a victim of circumstances of saying the reason that I didn't show up to my appointment on time was because of that traffic out there today. We call that justify and excuse. 

We're really good at blaming ourselves, which we call shame, beating ourselves up. The psychology of that is pretty fascinating in terms of how we learn at a very, very early age to be so self-critical and to catch ourselves making an error before a parent, a teacher, or an older sibling can catch us. We learn to say, what's wrong with me? That's another one of those self-reinforcing ideas about the law of attraction.

Until I get rid of that program in my head every time something goes wrong and I quit blaming, I quit justifying, and I then get to what's wrong with me, then I'm on a search for what's wrong with me. I'm not good enough, I'm not tall enough, I'm not tan enough, I don't have enough degrees, or whatever it is.

When we stop laying blame on ourselves, which we call shame, then it looks like, well, I'm stuck. I'm stuck in a marriage, I'm stuck in a mortgage, I'm stuck in a job, I'm stuck in taking care of elderly parents, I'm stuck with my kids. Obligation is the trap or the burden, which so many people equate responsibility with those two words in the green on this chart with shame and obligation.

That's when you ask somebody if they'd like to take responsibility for something and they say, oh, no, thank you, responsibility, I've got enough of that, I don't need it any more, that's where they're defining responsibility as a burden. These are all actually words that can be replaced with the word responsibility in the sentences. It was his responsibility would be lay blame. An obligation, I'm doing what I'm responsible for.

Brendan: Christopher, is there some method to the coloring within the responsibility process?

Christopher: If you're listening, don't have the visual. Just envision a stack of words. It's five words and starting at the bottom. The word lay blame, which we have in red. I should say phrase lay blame. The word justify, the word shame in green. Above that, the word obligation in green, and then a line across above the word obligation and above that, the word responsibility, which I think we have in dark blue.

Brendan, you're asking about the coloring. The coloring is not terribly important, but it's some coloring that I chose. By the way, I'm not the originator of this model. I'm the promoter of it. I'm the innovator around the world with it, but I didn't do the original research, and it is research based. Blame and justify are in red because society also teaches us in line with our research that blame and justify don't really do us any good. You've got the military, no excuses, idea.

Anyway, our research says that in the mental state of blame and the mental state of justify, and that's kind of key, these are just mental states, it's a perspective or a point of view that you're coming from in the mind. It has its own cause-effect logic, and it's very consistent. In blame, the cause effect logic is that I'm at effect. The cause is an entity outside of me, a person, a team, a department, a function, a company. The premise is that I can't be happy or have what I want until they change. It's a mental state.

From justifying the shame, we switch from red to green. The reason there is a thing that some people can remember is that society actually rewards shame and obligation as "being responsible". This is where our research differs from what society teaches.

If you're at a meeting and you're trying to deal with a problem, and somebody raises her hand, gets the floor and says, you know what, I'm the one who made this happen, I broke the build or whatever, I put my foot in it, it's my fault, blame me, I'll take the hit, we reinforce that person. We say, oh, good girl. Thank you. She's taking responsibility.

What we know from the research is that when I'm in the mental state of shame, I'm really focused more on what's wrong with me. I'm focused a little more on self pity and trying to be let off the hook maybe than I am focused on a new solution.

Obligation is very similar. Obligation is the mental state of being trapped or being burdened. I call it have to, don't want to, the mental state of have to, don't want to. I have to go to this stupid meeting. I have to do this dumb paperwork. I have to go to this kid thing after work, instead of getting a frosty beverage with you. I have to go to my in-laws for holiday, have to, have to, have to, have to, have to, have to.

Society teaches us, Brendan, that if we're doing what we're supposed to be doing to be seen as being good, approved citizens, then that's called being responsible. Everything from shame up is being responsible as far as most cultures are concerned, but it's not owning it. When you're in shame, you're not owning it. When you're an obligation, you're not owning it. It's actually a coping mechanism.

Brendan: How I take that then is if these things are so entrenched in society, where the hell do you start to help change people? What are you doing in your work that is changing people to take responsibility with a capital R?

Christopher: Good question. I support people who want to take charge of their lives by understanding and applying what we call responsibility thinking. The number of people who actually want to do that is tiny compared to the number of people that get exposed to the information. The reason is, it's hard work and it's humbling work.

We must be willing to face ourselves, face our crazy minds, and crazy ego in order to do that. From my mentor, his name was Bill McCarley, that I started studying with 30 years ago, and he's the one who did the research, between his work, my work, and the work of others that have gathered around us, we now know so much about how to help someone master responsibility and master their life.

The short story about how you go about it, one part of my mission, I guess, has been to speak and publish far and wide. Try and capture a little bit of share of attention on this. But more recently, my interest has really been how do I help someone start practicing? And how do I make it easier for someone to start practicing? Because we call responsibility a practice rather than a character trait. 

Society teaches responsibility as a character trait or a character flaw, and we teach it as a practice. What that means is that every time something seems not quite right in my world, this pattern called the responsibility process in my mind gets triggered, and my mind goes to lay blame.

I want you to think about this. It's a natural bodily process. If you smell a beautiful, fresh lemon, you start salivating. Every time something's not quite right in your world, every time something goes wrong, this process gets triggered, and your mind goes to lay blame. For me, things in my world go wrong dozens of times a day. Most people I asked, how many things have gone wrong today? And they start smiling. There are too many to count.

Brendan: I’m smiling. 

Christopher: That means this pattern in our minds is very active. It's active all day long. It's not only active for the things happening today, but it's remaining active for the things that have happened in the past that are still not quite right. My relationship with my brother-in-law, what I think about the boss, the fact that I disagree with the action that they took at work, or whatever. Those are the things that felt not quite right then and they haven't been resolved yet.

We can be carrying a lot of these, processing our reality according to the lens of the responsibility process. The news that we always go to blame is interesting news. I no longer think of myself as a generally responsible person, I know that I've checked that box. Society is pretty happy with me, my ability to contribute to society, and be an upstanding character.

I no longer focus on being a responsible person. I focus on demonstrating responsibility in my life every day because that's what leads me to greater freedom, power, and choice, which is what we call the mental state of responsibility. It's the mental state of freedom, power, and choice.

What I've learned to do over three decades of practicing and teaching is I've learned to catch myself with the thought of lay blame. That quickly and let it go. I've learned to catch myself with an excuse, that quickly and let it go. I've learned to catch myself beating myself up, that quickly and let it go. I've learned to catch myself feeling trapped in a promise, that quickly and let it go.

Now, those dozens of times a day, when something goes wrong in my life, I can go from lay blame to responsibility in parts of a second, where other people get stuck. The next story about what do we do about it is we realize that the responsibility process is what it is, and there's nothing I can do about it. I can't delete part of it from the way my mind works.

Now I treat it as a signal device. I just know that in my mind, there's this responsibility process. Every time something goes wrong, my mind gets hijacked, and I get taken to lay blame. I can stay there, or I can refuse to accept the blame point of view and I move up.

What I can do something about is I can develop aspects of my consciousness. Intention, awareness, and confront, are the three keys to responsibility. Intention is that part of us that has free will, that has desire, wants, needs, interests, things we want to do, places we want to go, the human we want to become. There's a tremendous amount of information out there about how intention works in the mind and how we can develop that. We pull on all of that.

Awareness is probably the biggest chunk of consciousness research out there available. What that means to me is that there's always a new truth for me to find and align with. Whenever I'm unhappy, upset, or think that something's wrong, there's always an internal conflict in me, where if I can find that conflict in my mind, I can usually find a lie in that conflict, a limiting belief. When I really addressed that and get rid of it, then I grow in awareness, and I align with higher principles and higher truths.

The whole awareness part here is huge. Confront is a very technical term. It doesn't mean to be aggressive or abusive towards each other. It means for me to be able to confront myself, for me to look in the mirror, and courageously examine my own thoughts, my own mind, my own beliefs, my own assumptions. Most consciousness experts would probably use the word courage instead of confront when they talk about this ability. We say only the brave get to be free.

Brendan: If that's the case, why use the word confront as opposed to courage?

Christopher: We're interested in using the most precise language that we can think of to explain what's going on here. We believe that confront is the more concise language. If you do a little internet research on headlines that use the word confront or face, you can find all kinds of stories written about Microsoft must confront the brutal facts about blah, blah, blah, or somebody must face the music. Face the music is a metaphor for confront.

We use the word confront in our vocabularies, most of us, to talk about beginning to interact with some set of information or some data. Somebody wrote, I think it was Carl Sagan. They wrote, for instance, the Hubble telescope allowed us to confront a part of the galaxy in a way that we've never been able to confront it before.

Rudy Giuliani, before his fall from grace back, when he was the mayor of New York and 9/11 happened, he famously said that when we confront a problem, we begin to solve it. We treat confront as a muscle. We treat each of the three keys, intention, awareness, and confront, each as mental muscles that we can build and develop.

I have students who were very withdrawn, shy, and scared, when they came to us and ask us to help them develop. Those people are so amazingly courageous now in standing in, in situations and being willing to have whatever's happening happen, and with them being able to stay calm, centered, and present in that situation. We talk about confront as a skill.

Brendan: I have to say, from what you've explained, in my mind racing, it does sound a better word. It's almost like you need some courage in order to confront the situations and personal courage, which I think just aligns better. I have a number of questions off the back of what you've just told us, which I'm really keen to unpack. One of the initial things is, are there areas of the responsibility process that more people get stuck at or spend a lot more time at?

Christopher: That's different for each of us. One of the things we have found is that we each tend to be more attracted to or more comfortable getting stuck in one of the coping mechanisms than the others. Each of us tend to have one of the coping mechanisms that we just slide right through and don't get stuck there. It's very interesting how that works.

I'll give you an example. I was working with an editor. I was writing an article and the editor about this, that responsibility and leadership. The editor, who was a woman, queried me in the article. She said, do you go through each level because I seem to go straight to shame?

I queried her back. I said, can you think of a recent time where you went straight to shame, and then can you think about what was on your mind just before you just really started beating yourself up and feeling bad? She wrote back and said, yeah, I was telling myself some stupid story about how this set of circumstances I couldn't do anything about.

She rejected justify. It didn't land on her that she was justifying. Her mind tried to give her a justify and she rejected it. Her mind handed her shame and she accepted it. Our research shows that we're all like that.

One of the things I've learned just from observation over the years is the professional, well-educated, well-paid, high-performing set of people in the world. Once we start studying this, we get pretty good at letting go of blame and justify pretty quickly. Where we get stuck is in shame and obligation.

The reason is we were raised to be really, really good people that made really, really good grades and did what they were supposed to do. Where I spend the most of my time with my students is helping them work through feelings of shame and obligation around the troubles, challenges, obstacles, and failures in their life.

Brendan: When you look at the responsibility process and obligation just sitting below the line before we get to that freedom, power, choice with responsibility, it's almost like obligation is a badge of honor in society. Maybe that's something you want to unpack a little bit. But what is it that takes us over the line moving from obligation, that badge of honor into that freedom, power, choice Responsibility?

Christopher: I can explain it in two ways, and I think they're probably exactly the same thing. One is a clear, powerful intention to be free. The reason my mentor Bill McCarley got so much into the study of responsibility was he really wanted to take charge of his life. He wanted a tool to help him do that. Same with me.

Thirty years ago, when I started, I also was a little confused about whether or not I was a responsible enough person. I both wanted to be good, better, and approved of, but I also wanted to feel a sense of freedom, choice, and power in my life. What we do is we help people clarify their intention around that sense of owning their own life and that feeling of freedom.

A more shortcut way that I teach people for getting out of obligation is to refuse to be trapped, refuse to stay trapped. The way the process works is every time something goes wrong, we go to blame. If I agree with the blame that my mind hands me, then I get stuck there, and I'm powerless and a victim. But if I don't buy the fact that I'm blaming, I graduate to justify, and my mind hands me some other answers as to whether the traffic, you didn't have time, or whatever. If I refuse to buy that, I go to justify or to shame.

The way you graduate from the bottom to the top is simply refuse to cooperate with that last coping mechanism. The fastest way to responsibility is to refuse to feel trapped. I also have another shortcut that I teach, and that is an amazing question. I'd almost call it a secret question, but that's manipulative. It's the most powerful question I've asked, and we live in an era where asking questions and having powerful questions is getting pretty popular.

The question is this. What do I want, or what do we want? To put it in context, it would be, oh, look at this mess, look at this problem. What society has taught us is to ask one of two questions, either ask the question, what's the right answer, what's the best practice in this situation, what do the experts say? The other question is what should I do, or what should we do?

It's, oh, look at this problem, what should we do? What I've learned about that is that these questions of right, wrong and should, shouldn't actually map to shame and obligation. They don't map to responsibility. They map to doing the things that were approved of answers in the past. An obligation, I can stay approved of all day long by others, and yet never feel free myself.

Another fast way to get into the mental state of responsibility is to acknowledge an upset or a problem for yourself or your team, family, and then ask the question, what do we want about this? That gets us into a much more free and intentional place in our mind, where we can start to generate solutions.

Brendan: Christopher, this may seem like a utopia for you. What if we had 100% of leaders in organizations globally that owned Responsibility? What would our workplaces look like compared to today?

Christopher: I think they'd be totally different, totally transformed. I also think the direction of the economy would be different. The types of products and services would be different. The types of organizational forms would be different.

In the mental state of responsibility in dealing with people, you're dealing with tremendous amounts of love, compassion, empathy. If you are in a position of management of an enterprise or ownership of an enterprise, then you're dealing with acknowledging that any problem in that system is my problem. Any problem that system is probably one that I had at some part in creating, choosing, or attracting.

I tend to use the word managers rather than leaders. I think of leadership as something other than title and position. Managers would be more focused on very effective system design that takes into account the human aspect very much. They would be aware of some of the things that we teach that are difficult for newcomers to grasp about this.

One of the things we teach is that everyone is always doing the best they know how in that moment, given their consciousness and the context. If I now know that everyone on my team, my suppliers, and my customers, that they're all doing the best, they know how in that moment, given their consciousness and the context, then it just takes me off the blame much more quickly. I'm totally unlikely to blame, because what else could anybody have done but what they did in that moment?

We tend to think that people are slacking and that they're not doing the best they know how in the moment. That's a big awareness that we teach this different. These managers who would be leading companies from responsibility would also know that there's nothing wrong with them and that there's nothing wrong with anybody else.

Our biggest response to identifying somebody who's in shame is we like to say, what if there's nothing wrong with you? What if the reason you're in shame is because you're operating perfectly according to the responsibility process in your mind? You've refused to blame, you refuse to justify, woohoo, congratulations, you're not willing to externalize. You just got stuck in shame. Therefore, there's nothing wrong with you.

Now we can start to make shame fade away from places I get stuck. I think there's a whole lot that would be different. What do you think?

Brendan: I'm spot on. I think the world would be a totally different place to where we are today. Engagement levels within organizations would be in totally different stratosphere to where we are today. I'm 100% with you, absolutely.

Do you mean, when you talk about one of the three keys to responsibility and that awareness piece, the level of self-awareness, owning the fact that it's not suppressing this process of responsibility, it's acknowledging that these are some steps that we'll go through? Like you said at the top of the show, you've trained yourself, you've learned to be there, move on, be there, move on, be there, move on, go above the line, and move into that responsibility piece.

To me, if that's right, it seems very much like owning our personality types, our communication styles, those sorts of things. It's not that there's no bad in this, it's good. Acknowledging the good, being aware of that, being conscious about it. When we've got consciousness about it, we can set intentions to move through it.

Christopher: Yeah, absolutely. When people start really practicing, learning this, and they learn more about themselves, they give themselves more permission to be who they are, rather than trying to hide or change who they are to please other people.

I remember meeting somebody. I think we were part of a foursome on a golf course. He was an entrepreneur. For some reason, we were talking about trying to get some teams together to do some things. He said, one of the things I've found out in my career is that I don't operate very well in teams, unless I'm the leader. I thought, wow, that's pretty good self-awareness.

He may have some things to learn. There may be some things about that that he's not owning, but he was clear. That's one of the things I listened for. What people have to say is I listened for clarity.

Brendan: Yeah, a very good, strong word

Christopher: Another story in terms of personality, when I learned that I was an introvert who was also a public speaker and a communication professional, I had a lot to sort through there. By the way, most of the world thinks that introvert means socially inept or socially isolated. Introversion, extroversion, in my understanding has to do with how you recharge. Extroverts recharge by going out to the party or the game with their friends, and introverts recharge by going for a solo run, bike ride, or reading a book at home.

My practice field for this was when I would be with clients, do a workshop, and of course I traveled so I'm in a hotel and another city, they would invite me out for drinks or dinner afterwards. I learned to say no. Without being judgmental, critical, or evaluative, I learned to say, oh, thank you very much, I love you to death, I've had enough of you today, and I'm going to go to my room and read, I hope you don't mind. Owning who you are, owning what your personality type is, etcetera.

Brendan: Yes, it's so important. Responsibility and ownership, are they different?

Christopher: We use the word owning it interchangeably with responsibility. By the way, this poster that's behind me, the one that I referred to, can be downloaded from our website at responsibility.com in either 28 or 29 languages now. We're about to post Ukrainian as the 29th language. There's the definition of each of the mental states posted next to it.

I'll remind you, the definition we use for responsibility is owning one's power and ability to create, choose, and attract. Our premise is we're always creating, choosing, and attracting our reality. We're just not always owning that we are.

Brendan: What about responsibility and accountability, two words that get bandied around in the leadership space? Are they different?

Christopher: I devoted a chapter on this in The Responsibility Process book. I think mostly what I have to say about it is we'll have a better conversation about it if we get rid of those two words because you probably have different meanings for those words than I do.

A few interesting things I've learned is, accountability and responsibility are used interchangeably in most cultures. It's almost like if you open a dictionary to the word responsibility, it'll say, see accountability. If you go to accountability, it'll say, see responsibility.

I have a preference. My preference is to use the words according to the origins of the words. The origin of the word accountability is accounting. It actually came from counting the King's money in England. They needed to have a clear accounting of the money and an accounting trail.

I use the word accountability to talk about a performance expectation in a relationship. If you engage me to do something, I fully expect you to hold me to account if I don't do that. To be held to account is a credible threat of some kind of a punishment. I use the word responsibility the way the root of the word is, which is the ability to respond, which really refers to the psychological aspect of our ability as human beings to be resilient, to bounce back, and to get back up and get back up and get back up and get back up, no matter how many times we've been knocked down, so the ability to respond. That's my preference.

I will mold that to whatever language we agree to with whoever I'm working with. A shortcut would be to say, I'm assigned accountability and I take responsibility, or sometimes I'll tell the story that if you're employed and you have a boss, then that boss is probably going to hold you accountable for something. If you don't know what that is, you might want to take responsibility for finding out.

Brendan: I like it. Christopher, just to bring this to full circle, if you are a leader or a manager, if we are leading people in a business, how important is the leader in leading the charge around personal responsibility linked to the performance of the team?

Christopher: The leader is pretty critical. I love a quote by Max De Pree, the author of, was it the Art of Leadership? I think. He said that the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. Think about being in a team setting, a team at any level in an organization, and there's just been some significant crisis in the organization. If I'm the leader of that group, and I have my team gathered around, if I define reality by saying, it's that other department that did that, they're really in big trouble, I'm basically teaching people to use blame to deflect ownership or deflect responsibility.

If I operate from justify to say, this is bound to happen sooner or later given the market conditions, blah, blah, blah, and just give an excuse, then I'm defining reality. All the way up to in responsibility, as a leader, I would hope that I could show up and say, wow, what a mess. I have no idea what we're going to do about it, but I know that I've got a meeting scheduled with my peers to start to examine this. In the meantime, I would ask us all to start thinking about what's our role, not in making this happen, but what's our role in responding to it and in providing a solution? Therefore, what do we want about this that can inspire us and get us moving?

If I may take your question to the next level, I define leadership really as a byproduct of taking ownership. I don't see, are the last 80 years of leadership development, our world has turned leadership into a main effect? It's these attitudes, these skills, these behaviors, these ethics. I see leadership as a natural consequence of somebody stepping up to an opportunity that's bigger than them. It can be stepping up to a problem, it can be stepping up to an assignment, it can be stepping up to whatever.

If it's bigger than them, then they need to attract help in order to get it done. To me, that's what true leadership is. It starts with taking ownership of something bigger than myself.

Brendan: I love that, Christopher. Even as you were just talking through the two examples of moving people into blame and those things, it just gave me a sense of confidence about the leader that they've taken on personal responsibility. I'm not sure what's going to happen here, but we've got to deal with this.

I think I now live a little bit more than average around leadership, hopefully, because that's what my business is surrounded by. But even knowing that, I'm just sitting here thinking, that feels like a more confident leader. I want to work with that person. I want to be led by that person.

Christopher: They're more confident because they're willing to state that they don't know, but they intend to know.

Brendan: A whole different space to play in, isn't it?

Christopher: It is.

Brendan: A good segue into pretty much our final question on the show. Christopher, what has helped you become a more confident leader?

Christopher: It would be in line with what I just used as a definition. What helped me become a more confident leader is to do something that the great genius Buckminster Fuller years ago wrote about. When people asked him, what should I do? He says, look about you and find what needs to be done that only you see needs to be done, and nobody else is doing anything about it, and then go and do that.

The first time I did that, I thought I saw some things around collaboration and teamwork that others weren't seeing, that needed to be explored and taught and documented. I did that. Then the responsibility material became the most important stuff that I knew and had to share. Nobody anywhere in the world was making it as clear and evident as I thought this research was and that I could do.

I assigned myself the task of trying to change a few thousand, hundred thousand, a million people in the world about how they view responsibility. That gave me the confidence to attract people to me, which led me to find where my son needed to be sharpened in terms of my abilities to collaborate, build relationship, communicate, listen, and all of those other things that we talked about as being good leadership skills.

Brendan: Yeah, absolutely. It underpins so much that level of ownership, you're talking about. Christopher, I'm going to generalize here, but you mentioned the word introvert versus extrovert. It is a generalization, but in my experience, introverts are quite deep thinkers, full of gold nuggets and wisdom. I would have to say you haven't disappointed today with that introvert approach, your deep thinking, and thought around this whole process.

Actually, thank you. Again, you're a mentor yourself for taking up the charge about putting this personal responsibility out there in the marketplace over this last 30 years. Hopefully, we can continue to break down some doors through this opportunity on The Culture of Leadership podcast and having you on that we can continue to get the message out.

You've got some fantastic sequences through your email to help people free, I might add, to let people know more about the responsibility process, how they can acknowledge that, and help move through that. You've got various things on your website. We'll link all that stuff in the show notes so people can get access to it.

I just want to thank you very much. Thanks for taking responsibility to come on to our show. It's been great having you as a guest on The Culture of Leadership podcast today.

Christopher: Thank you, Brendan. It's been a lovely conversation. I appreciate your dedication to the work that you're doing in leadership and in your podcast. I also appreciate the preparation that you did and even formulating questions as we went. It was a lovely time. Thank you.

Brendan: It's a pleasure.

Do you always take responsibility? Most don’t. The Responsibility Process can help you and your team move from blank to taking ownership with your actions and outcomes. Be conscious of the five stages: denial, lay blame, justify, shame, and obligation. They’re mental states that you can let go of to take responsibility. Will you shift your mindset to take responsibility? 

These are my three key takeaways from my conversation with Christopher.

My first key takeaway: confident leaders practice responsibility with the capital R. They own their power and ability to create, choose, and attract their reality. They take charge and shift their mindset to [inaudible 00:45:03] influence, in control over the outcome. 

My second key takeaway: confident leaders develop their consciousness. They cultivate intention, awareness, and the ability to confront themselves. They also understand that taking responsibility is hard work and they must be willing to face their mind and ego. 

My third key takeaway: confident leaders take ownership. They understand the difference between responsibility and ownership, and recognize that leadership is a byproduct of taking ownership. They know their role is critical in impacting team performance and achieving high levels of success. 

In summary, my three key takeaways were: confident leaders practice responsibility with the capital R, confident leaders develop their consciousness, and confident leaders take ownership.

What were your key takeaways? Let me know at thecultureofleadership.com, on YouTube, or via our socials.

Thanks for joining me and remember, the best outcome is on the other side of a genuine conversation.

Thanks for listening to The Culture of Leadership, you can access the show notes at thecultureofleadership.com. If you enjoy the show, please follow, write and give a review at your favorite podcast platform.