Self-Awareness Part 2 | Responsibility and Being

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

In Part 1 on Self-Awareness I introduced the idea that leadership and becoming the best version of ourselves requires self-awareness. Self-examination to raise our awareness requires two main qualities, willingness and courage. However, it is responsibility or our ability to respond that is crucial to own and transform the shortcomings we find. Here I delve further into the concept of responsibility as a transformative quality to cause the outcomes in life we want.

Responsibility is a most transformative quality of Being

Reflecting on our life and the results we produce whether it is in our relationships, our family, our career or communities, we will identify no shortage of qualities we can go to work on and develop to increase our effectiveness. Our courage, confidence, communication, self-expression, resourcefulness, ability to forgive and create partnerships are examples of aspects of Being that we can develop to improve our results in life.

However, it is our ability to respond or responsibility that has the greatest impact on the results we produce in life. If all we ever choose to work on is our responsibility and we keep asking ourself “what am I willing to be responsible for here?” this action will keep us growing and developing as human beings more than any other single quality we could develop.

Many assessment tools have been designed over the years to help us become more aware of ourselves and our impact on others. DISC, Myers-Briggs Personality Profile and 360° Reviews are some widely used assessments tools in today’s workplace. While these tools all have their place, our preference is the more recently developed Being Profile.

The results you produce in life depend on who you are Being

The Being Profile is a novel, ontological assessment tool that gets to the source of who we are Being. Our Being is unique to us. Who we are Being determines how we behave in the world and how effective we are in causing the results we want. For example, being truly confident, where our body and mind is aligned and we think and feel confident, supersedes the results we’d produce compared with behaving confidently to the outside world, while inwardly we feel self-doubt and worry.

The Being Profile measures 31 Aspects of Being like courage, confidence and contribution, that are essential for influence and leadership and also necessary to elevate our performance. The profile helps us to rapidly identify our strengths as well as areas for future development. Our promise to you is you will be much more self-aware after completing your own Being Profile.

Be above the line

A really powerful model that is used in leadership development is the Above the Line/Below the Line or OARBED model. OARBED is a simple model for personal responsibility (response), and very powerful when practiced. Whenever we are stuck in denial, blame others or make excuses for something that has happened we are “below the line.” However, it is preferable for us to get “above the line”. We need to be accountable and take responsibility for what happened by accepting ownership.

We can all fall below the line and the access to getting above the line is to first acknowledge we are below the line. The key point here is the faster we can get above the line the more powerful we become.

A simple example we can all relate to is being late for a meeting. When late for a meeting we often make excuses like ‘oh the traffic was terrible’ or ‘I got held up talking to the accountant’ or worse, we deny we are late at all, “what do you mean I’m late, I’m not late, these meetings never start on time.” These reactions typify below the line behaviour. Even if we slip into the meeting without acknowledging we’re late, the impact is that we’re often never fully present for the meeting. Instead, we sit there and inwardly berate ourselves for being late or blame the person or situation that caused us to be late. This is not empowering because we are at the effect of someone or something else. We can’t do anything about anyone else nor can we reduce traffic or make sure trains run on time. When we blame people or things external to us, we are powerless to do anything different to change the situation.

It is much more empowering to act above the line and take responsibility and own that we are late because we didn’t allow enough time to get to the meeting on time and factor in possible breakdowns. Own being late without excuses, “I’m sorry I am late. I know the meeting was set for 9.00 am and I am 5 minutes late. This won’t happen again.” Demonstrate your willingness to be accountable by saying “In future, you can count on me to always on time for these meetings” and here is the kicker. You have to mean it. There is no point saying you will be on time in the future if you don’t actually mean it. There is a lot of power in this. When we own it and take full responsibility, changing the outcome is up to us and in our hands to do something different to avoid being late again. We can leave 10 minutes earlier than usual and give ourselves a buffer to be on time, every time. An added bonus for being on time is we earn the respect and trust of our colleagues.

While there is more to unpack in this ‘simple’ model, it provides a quick access to take personal responsibility and affect the way we respond. Rather than try to change other people, which we can’t, we change the focus to ourself. Instead of making excuses or blame others we ask ourself “what am I willing to be responsible for here?” This simple practice is truly transformational. Try it and see what difference it will make to your life.

Bringing it all together.

To live the life we want, we need to lead ourselves effectively, and this requires self-awareness. We need to first examine where we are and acknowledge what’s not working as well as we would like. We need to be willing to have a look and then have the courage to own what we find and to take action to do something about it. This is where responsibility comes in to the mix because knowledge without action makes no difference. Who we are being matters. Take responsibility for everything that happens in our life is an empowering context to live by. Being responsible and willing to ask “what can I be responsible for here?” will transform you to live the life you want.